Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Movie Review: Airborne (2012)

A recent impending snowy night was the perfect recipe for a movie night, and though I did not watch what I had initially intended too, the two films I chose turned out to be very nice surprises. First up was Airborne, a 2012 British film that is more of a thriller-mystery than horror with a bit of a strange twist that will probably piss off most people. Sometimes I guess I'm just too easy to please.

During a terrible storm, the last plane of the night takes off from Britain heading toward JFK in New York City. And what should be an easy flight with very few passengers slowly becomes anything but when passengers start to go missing and the plane starts to deviate from its intended destination. On the ground, an air traffic controller working his last night before retirement tries to help the people in the air when they are unable to contact the pilots and the plane disappears off the radar.

This movie caught my eye because the basic plot is one that I absolutely love and can't seem to get enough of - a small cast in one location for the majority of the movie. Each of the characters gets their own chance to stand out here but plot is what drives Airborne. And while the movie takes its sweet ass time working through some of the tropes of similar flicks, I couldn't help but completely enjoy the plot as it was being unfolded, despite the fact that they kept me in the dark about just what the hell was going on for most of the flick. I sort of like a movie to frustrate me to a point because, hey, at least it's keeping me interested.

Airborne is another one of those movies that's not fantastic but it's not horrible either. There's enough skill, talent, and seriousness here to warrant Airborne at least one watch to see if you like what it has to offer. If anything, you'll probably enjoy seeing none other than Mark Hamill in the role of the retiring air traffic controller Malcolm in a rare movie appearance. All of the cast are really on their game for this movie and it's part of what helps make it such an enjoyable ride.

The only thing about the characters that really made me scoff was the seemingly requisite horny young couple who mentions the Mile High Club roughly two minutes into the flight. Not only is that an instant spoiler that these two people will most definitely die, it is so freaking overused in any kind of movie that involves a plane. Come up with something new, seriously. My favorite character was the secretive, older businessman who travels with two bodyguards and says "fuck" every other word. Perhaps that should be annoying, but the guy had me in stitches with every line. Loved him. The director Dominic Burns also makes an appearance as the talkative passenger Bob, and Simon Phillips is perhaps the most likable character as Alan Fletcher. Each actor plays well to the whodunnit angle of the story, as they all at one point seem like they could be killer.

I have to talk about the twist now, so if you get all pissy about spoilers, this is your chance to run. The whole thing going on here is that the SIS (Secret Intelligence Service - the British CIA, I guess) is using the plane to transport an ancient Chinese vase to be sold overseas, and one of the stewardesses and her partner have plotted to detour the plane to South America where they will sell the vase to some drug lords and leave the rest of the passengers to be killed by them, as well. WHEW. Well actually, that's not it. The vase in question also happens to hold the soul of an ancient god that possesses people and makes them either kill themselves or other people. The strangest part about all this, though, is that when it all comes out, it's not as stupid as it should be. It's all handled in a strangely classy enough way so it wasn't even a problem at all.

Airborne turned out to be just my kind of movie. It's a good mystery with a more than competent cast to keep the plot thick and interesting right up until the somewhat ballsy conclusion.

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