Plane is a movie from director Jean-François Richet and stars action man Gerard Butler and Mike Colter. When I saw the trailer I was delighted. I thought, brilliant! Another London Has Fallen type film! Loads of action, kick arse action beats and some one-liners that will make me roll my eyes, but also love. Instead, what we get is a movie that takes itself very seriously.
What’s it about?
The story of Plane is quite simple. Gerard butler plays pilot Brodie. We hear he used to fly for the RAF, so he has some military experience. We also see, through a flashback (yuk) that he once restrained a drunk passenger by using a ear-neck chokehold. This got him in trouble and now he flies crappy routes.
He’s joined by wet-behind-the-ears Samuel, his co-pilot (Yoson An). They both manage to land their lightening-struck plane on Jojo, an island in the Philippines. Sadly, this island isn’t all Piña colada and sun cream. It’s rife with anti-government militias and warlords. Just as well also flying with them is prisoner Louis (Mike Colter). An ex-foreign legion soldier. What luck!
After landing on this hell hole, the militia capture the passengers with the aim of ransoming them off. Of course, that isn’t going to work for Gerard and Mike. No no, they’re going to have to hammer people in the head, shoot a lot and sweat even more. Seriously, every shot they are soaked in sweat, which is the most realistic thing in slightly higher than B-grade Sunday evening film!
Here’s the trailer
Why so serious?
I was keen to watch this movie, as I said, because the trailer looked like some stupid, fun action beat. I wanted to see bad militia killed. Which, granted, we do get to see. But there was also an effort to make this far deeper than it needed to be.
For example. After murdering two passengers in a brutal fashion, one of the militia is captured by our heroes. The beat the crap out of him to get intel, which I am fine with. But we are then given a few lines by said militia dude that suddenly humanises him. He says he’s only doing bad things because of threats to his family. Suddenly we’re not sure as an audience whether we’re supposed to feel sorry for these people. Which is fine, if that is carried through the movie. But it isn’t. And it happens a few times in the movie.
With Colter’s Louise we have a similar thing. His character is very one dimensional, with a history that is as basic as ‘I killed someone, and had to run… No one asked why I did’. Well… Tell us then! The character basically serves as the muscle and brawn in the film. He’s the main action man. Butler’s Brodie is a pilot who just happens to also kill a few baddies. In fact I got irritated with how ‘good’ Brodie is. He’s damn near a saint who does everything perfectly.
The action in Plane is all over the place. Most of it is shooting in every direction, and kindda reminded me of the A-Team in how it’s shot. But, and there is a but, there is one superb scene that reminded me of The Raid. Gerard gets to show off in an action scene that is very physical. Like MMA physical. He fights a baddie hand to hand, and man, it looked awesome. His face is pressed against walls, floors, tables, while he grapples with an enemy. It’s surprisingly realistic, given the the rest of the movie. And it’s brutal. There are a few other excellent stunts in the film too. Man, why is it so inconsistent!?
I will say one thing about Brodie though. He’s almost an everyman… Almost… He is still a pilot remember. But they do spend a lot more time making him ‘softer’. One shot even shows him crying about what he’s been through, which I thought was a nice touch. Trying to add depth and not fall into that ‘macho man’ hole. But it stood out from this movie’s overall drive. And it ends up looking a bit cheap.
A massive cringe moment is when Brodie’s daughter leaves a message to her father, saying home much she loves him. This, while the camera pans over passengers being rescued by him. I let out an audible groan when I saw this. It was completely unnecessary. Quite frankly I thought it showed how out of touch with the movie the director was. It was like sticking one puzzle piece with ’emotion’ next to another that has ‘action’ on and thinking, cool. It ticks all the boxes.
I am glad that I pay a monthly price to see as many tickets as I want, thanks Cineworld (no plug, they don’t pay me, sadly). Because I’d be very disappointed if I had paid to see Plane. Gerard Butler is criminally underused in this half-baked action movie. Colter’s character is a kick ass dude, but absolutely lacking in any depth. If the movie chose to stick to being an air disaster, or an action beat on an isolated island, it might have worked better. But having more than half the movie as an air disaster movie, and less as an action really skews the opportunities it had.
I think Gerard and Colter make this movie, thank goodness for them!
I give Plane…