Friday, June 7, 2013

REVIEW: Airborne (2012)

So I just got done with a long series of plane rides while moving to a new place to start a new job…and because my life has involved so many airplanes lately, I figured why not review something airplane themed? A movie that focuses on a plane as its setting and contains some truly out-there and strange ideas as to what exactly happens on a plane. Could I review Snakes on a Plane? Maybe Red Eye with Cillian Murphy? Or perhaps I could tackle the greatest airplane movie ever, Airplane! The possibilities are ripe and rich.

…nah, I’ll just do Airborne.

Director: Dominic Burns
Starring: Mark Hamill, Craig Conway

For those of you who have never heard of this movie, there are reasons why. Very distinct reasons why. It’s a half-baked airplane thriller with a plot that just seems like they made it up on the go. Are you ready to board this flight to the void of inane plot devices and ludicrous twists? I sure am.

We start off with some monologue by a guy who I can only describe as ‘not Sam Elliot,’ because yeah…this movie really hurts itself by having an opening that reminds me more of a guy talking to a bunch of mentally handicapped kids than an actual stirring introduction to a film. Who does this guy think he is?

I have no idea who Julian Glover is though. AND BECAUSE OF THAT THIS MOVIE SUCKS! 0/10!

Wait, what? Mark Hamill is in this? And he’s giving a speech about how sometimes bad things happen to good people? If it was better done…maybe, but either way the narration is dull and tired. This is really the same guy who gave us that chilling Joker voice? I also find it hilarious how he’s giving this whole speech about “bad things happening to good people” while the movie is showing us scenes of people being rude at the airport because of changes on their flight. Gee, movie. Why don’t you show us scenes of rich white girls not getting two iPADs instead of just one for Christmas next?

There are a bunch of different characters introduced, among them this dude, who starts off his flirtations with a pretty girl by talking about how his daughter died. Way to be totally depressing and morose, guy!

Oh I guess he makes more sense later when we find out his daughter died in the Middle East. But still, the character is so underdeveloped that it hardly matters!

There’s also some mob boss thug guy who basically just throws a fit over the fact that he can’t fly first class because of some nonsensical reason. I’m about as intimidated as I was when I saw Macaulay Culkin in the remake of The Godfather.

Oh okay...there's a chance I just made this picture myself. I know, it looks so real.

On the plane, we get introduced to Italian Meat Loaf, who talks about all kinds of banal crap you wouldn’t want to hear from a guy next to you on a plane. I will give the movie credit for realistically simulating an annoying in-flight experience, as it really does capture the essence of that level of irritation.

Italian Meat Loaf action figure now comes with extra mullet power AND extra annoyance!

What I will NOT give the movie credit for is half-assed sex scene attempting to turn the movie into a porno for a minute or two:

I shouldn't be so mean. The director was probably conceived in an airplane bathroom, so maybe this is more true-life than I give it credit. Maybe it isn't all THAT far fetched...

Seriously, guys, are you even trying? This is about as erotic as watching a bunch of hairy old men playing crochet. Maybe if this was a better movie, and focused on these two characters more, it MIGHT work, but when it’s just a cheap excuse to show T&A? It just feels weak as hell. And, what, it’s followed up with more airplane bickering? Yeah, movie…real sexy there. I don’t even think people who watch these movies for the porn would find this very enjoyable. Even the lowest common denominator of T&A-loving cretins would think this is weak.

Then everybody notices that Mr. Turner, that Meat Loaf guy, went missing somehow on the plane. We get some semi-suspenseful moments as the passengers all look around the plane and the flight crew, especially this one lady and this Middle Eastern looking guy, act kind of shady. These are probably the best moments in the film, and for a while I thought this thing wasn’t gonna be too bad after all. Unfortunately the rest of the movie is here to prove THAT hypothesis wrong…

I'm just so full of suspense about whether or not we'll make it to 2013.

We switch to retarded Mulder and Scully here talking about how the world is going to end in 2012. Oh no, is the world going to end in 2012? AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHhhhhhhhhhhh….

Oh, wait, no.

So yeah, these two geniuses put a strange illegal cargo box on the plane our main characters are on. Why? Well, if you want the answer to that, just give up on that hope and dream right now. Because you’re not gonna get an answer. At all.

On the plane, this one guy goes crazy because of Mr. Turner’s absence. It’s confusing because that character really only had the one scene – hell, I had trouble remembering who he was. He was on screen for like two minutes at best; maybe not even that. I give the movie credit for making it pretty seamless when a character disappears, but at the same time, so few of these characters really have much of an impact to begin with. Who really gives a crap if the couple having sex in the airplane bathroom disappears? They’re next, by the way.

Anyway, I digress; that one guy goes crazy and so they punch his lights out and tie him to a seat. For some reason he isn’t that concerned about it. I could make a bondage joke here, but that would be tasteless. After that, we get that guy’s life story as he tells the nicest stewardess in the universe how his fiancée left him and now he’s just going to go drink for a while. Can you believe he actually says the line “I have a new lover. His name is Jack Daniels”? Isn’t that just the most asinine and clichéd line ever uttered in a movie, anywhere, this side of Batman and Robin? Yes, yes it is. Moving on.

"I have now become a walking cliche."

On the ground, we see that no time has been wasted with rational thought and tough planning. Instead they’re just gonna bomb the plane right out of the sky. That’s right: the only two options they have are:

1) Let the plane continue on, with possible terrorists on it,
2) Bomb it out of the sky no matter where it is.

I never knew the British military was so gung-ho! There has to be a Doctor Who episode to explain this phenomenon!

On the plane we see the passengers recite all the usual garbage we get in these movies, which boils down to this:

“You can’t trust him!”

“No, you can’t trust him!

Yawn. Can we move on to a haphazardly explained, poorly thought out and illogical reason for the people to have disappeared?

That’s right, apparently the military guy goes down to the bottom of the plane and finds a bunch of dead bodies stored in the cargo hold or something. Then we get some stupid flashbacks with the killers – the white airplane stewardess lady and one of the rich guy’s thugs – violently murdering everyone who even turned a corner and saw them talking in private! Oh no! They…have stuff they don’t want other people to hear? I don’t quite get it, movie. Killing them all IS kind of an extreme conclusion to reach…

Haha, what the hell is this? Friday the 13th or some shit? I get that she's a thief, but does that automatically make her a psycho murderer too? Why are these kills so bloody and gory? By all reason they should be sloppy and wracked with guilt.

Oh, and for some reason, they’re in love now. Yeah. Because that adds SO MUCH to the story, right?

I really think they just had a bunch of ideas for short films and just mashed them all up together in this one - I mean c'mon, the airplane heist, the savage slasher kills, the supernatural crap that's about to happen, AND this hackneyed romance?

The whole reason they’re doing this is because they wanted to steal that vase in the cargo hold, which some old guy on the plane knows all about. Doesn’t this seem like kind of an elaborate scheme for a robbery? Why not just wait till the plane was on the ground, and nab it then? Or hire somebody to impersonate a worker and grab it before the plane leaves? How did they know it would specifically be on THAT plane, and not on one with people more capable of handling a situation like this, or who are just plain smarter? I guess the proper answer to all of these questions is that the writer was probably smoking too much weed while writing the script. Probably right out of that vase they seem to like so much.

We never see the vase, but I bet this is what it looks like.

I love how they just kidnap everyone else on the plane in the end and tie them all up. Why bother? You killed half the rest of the people on the goddamn plane. Was it really worth it to kill all of those people to keep your secrets when, apparently, the plan was to kidnap them anyway and tie them up? What other conclusion did you see happening, you numbskulls? That they would joyfully go along with being hijacked and help out for free?

Can't they just snap those thin ropes anyway? How tight can they be?

So that’s enough stupid for one movie, right? Nope! After that we see that the vase is actually magical this whole time, and starts making everyone all zombie-like until they kill themselves or someone else. Apparently the pilots have been dead this whole time, too, and the plane was just on “autopilot”…sure. The next fifteen minutes isn’t horrible I guess, unless you actually think about it. Then it just seems hilariously inept that it was shoved into the last quarter of the movie without any real build up.

After one guy heroically dive-bombs the plane into the water, “killing” the evil possessing vase thing, the big bad secret government group arrests everyone in the control room because of what they saw. And then we get another monologue about how bad things happen to good people. And then Mark Hamill shows his true nature…

"I'll get you next time, Batman!"

Aghhhhh! He’s become the Joker again! Run for your lives!

Eh, this movie was just ridiculous, really. The plot was about as coherent as the drunken memories of your first college party, the characters were mostly bland and the whole thing had a giant helping of stupid layered over top. And, you know? I really don’t think it’s all bad. Yeah, it’s got its problems. I can’t deny that a lot of it is very poorly done. But the thing with these kinds of low budget movies is that they probably didn’t have the greatest resources at their disposal when it came to writing and what not. But they tried anyway. They had ideas and they tried their damndest to make this an effective thriller. And that is worth more than a thousand Evil Dead remakes or new Star Trek films to me. It’s the beauty of filmmaking and hard work and passion. I had fun making fun of this, yeah, but it’s the kind of DIY, low budget stuff I watched in my teen years, and a lot of these movies probably had people working really hard on them. So for that I can’t fault Airborne, and it probably balances out the crap the movie has in it too.

But the real lesson we learned from this movie is, don’t go on airplanes. You might get kidnapped and then have an ancient mystical god make you kill yourself. Some people don’t get any luck.

Images copyright of evil supernatural airplane vases.