A pilot finds himself caught in a war zone after he’s forced to land his commercial aircraft during a terrible storm.
THE GOOD STUFF
BUTLER- To me, it’s a bit strange to think about that time in the late 2000s when Gerard Butler was primed to be a bonafide A-list bankable movie star. Fast forward 15 years or so, and he, along with Jason Statham, are the go-to guys for quality B-level action films. Yes, it is technically a downgrade for Butler’s career…but when you really think about it, there is probably a safer sense of longevity for one’s career to keep coming back to this genre in the way that he does.
When his action movies are good, he tends to not play a Superman-type of killing machine and more of a regular guy. That is certainly the case here. Because he’s playing a regular guy under an intense situation and not a cocky, 1980s type of action movie caricature per se (which he occasionally does), we do get these little scenes of him being able to show that he actually has the chops to bring something a little deeper.
Paul Ben-Victor and Tony Goldwyn– If you’re familiar with the kind of beats that B-LEVEL action movies normally take, then you understand that there’s often a side story taking place between authoritarian figures to either antagonize a hero because of governmental procedure, personal beef, etc., etc. or friendly authoritarian figure trying to figure out how he can help.
In this film, Ben-Victor and Goldwyn play the latter. They play two characters who, in and of themselves, have obstacles to deal with when it comes to helping the protagonists survive. This often involves combative back-and-forth dialogue between either them, to each other, or characters that are way less important than they are. And to a guy like me who appreciates character actors such as these, it was good to see them being as good as they have always been. They do make the most out of dry material.
THE BAD STUFF
MOST OF THE ACTION- For a movie to be so unapologetically rated R, it sure is lacking in the action department. This is more of a thriller than it is an action movie, but I don’t feel as if it has been sold to be that way. I understand how low budgets can hinder things like action sequences, and it makes B-LEVEL action movies endearing when they’re pulled off well because of this. However, aside from one shootout sequence, sadly, the action is more implied than shown.
MIKE COLTER- The problem really isn’t with Colter himself or his performance. What he does here is very understated and badass. The problem is he’s not really a character. One thing these B-level action movies can do very well is introduce you to colorful characters, whether they be comedic or stoic. Colter’s character is more in the moment doing badass things, but he doesn’t have a backstory outside of a couple of lines of dialogue, and in the final set piece, he is really underused. It really is a shame. Coulter’s been really good for a very long time, and even though there’s a lot for him to do physically, there isn’t much for him to do otherwise.
THE UGLY STUFF
I guess there’s plenty of ugly stuff to talk about if you’re so used to your action movies with large budgets and oodles of CGI that you can’t tell the difference between a B-level action movie and a summer tent pole. Objectively, this must be graded on a different curve.
In fact, we are in that period of the calendar year where we’re going to get a lot of silly horror and B-level action films. As audiences, we must give credit where credit is due. Though these films seem really inferior to the big-budget counterparts that will come later in the year, lower-budget films are not easy to do, especially when you’re trying to appeal to a mass audience with a major release. It’s important to know that when you watch films like this, and worth emphasizing.
Will this film be a big giant financial hit? Probably not, honestly. But does the film hit the mark in nearly every way that films like this are supposed to? It absolutely does.
PLANE is in theaters now