Plane Review: An unexpected thrill ride
The trailers for Plane pitched it as a stock-standard Gerard Butler action-thriller with Mike Colter, who many know as Luke Cage, tagging along for the ride. However, it ends up being that and a little bit more.
The film sees Butler play Captain Brodie Torrance, a seasoned commercial pilot who becomes tasked with keeping his crew and passengers safe after he’s forced to crash-land on a remote island. Even worse is that the island is controlled by a dangerous separatist group that eventually takes Brodie’s passengers hostage. Now, with the help of a homicide suspect with combat experience (Colter), Brodie must fight to save his passengers and get them off the island.
Plane differentiates itself from being a generic action-thriller right away with how director Jean-Fracois Richet executes the plane crash sequence. It’s legitimately surprising how Richet fully captures the intensity and fear of the moment. Rather than the plane crash just happen and then the film suddenly cut to everyone being stranded, viewers are taken through every beat of the plane going down. It’s legitimately terrifying to watch and the film does such a great job immersing you into this experience that you feel all the terror of being on that plane. There’s rarely a moment to catch your breath and as the plane prepares for a tense landing, it’s hard not clutch at your seat because of how palpable the intensity is.
The performances deserve some credit as well since they help draw out this real fear that’s felt throughout. There’s a rawness to everyone’s emotions that doesn’t go unnoticed and personally, Butler delivers a great performance as Brodie because of how real he can be. Even when the plane finally crashes down, the intensity doesn’t dissipate in the slightest. Once the local criminal underworld becomes involved, you’re left with a big lump in your throat at every turn. The film isn’t afraid to deliver some gut-wrenching brutality and the action matches the grim stakes. There’s an amazing fight sequence with Butler and an enemy soldier that’s excellently choreographed and directed. Also, there’s some moments, including some powerful sniper shots, in the film’s final blowout action sequence that’ll leave you jaw-dropped because of how epic they are.
Just having Butler and Colter, who is always such a treat to see, there instantly gives Plane a great action feel. They both bring a great domineering screen presence, yet also some charm to their characters that makes them more engaging. Plus, it’s kind of nice how the film subtly showcases the differences between their mentality and types of experiences in combat. Now, none of this isn’t to say that Plane doesn’t have its parts that make it a generic action-thriller.
Its villains are openly bland and have little personality outside of their desires for power and bloody chaos. The cuts back to people in the US trying to figure out what happened to the plane don’t really add much to what’s happening. Frankly, most of the characters outside of Brodie and Colter’s character Louis are just simply bodies in the frame and can act kind of generically dumb at times. Also, while the film does immerse you into its intensity, there’s still not enough suspension of disbelief to make you feel like anyone is going to meet a tragic fate or that things are going to do really wrong.
Yet, Plane still manages to stay engaging in a great way keeping viewers on its hooks to the very end. Viewers will easily feel attached to the characters because of how immersed they feel in the journey and there’s this bond that grows for characters like Brodie and Louis that makes you care.
Plane is an incredibly fun and surprisingly tense thrill ride that elevates itself above its generic qualities through Richet’s immersive direction and the easy charm of its two leads. It’s easily the first great action flick of the year and kind of an unexpected treat that action audiences will undoubtedly love.