Since 2017’s bomb “Geostorm,” Gerard Butler has rebounded with solid action pictures such as “Angel Has Fallen” in 2019 and “Greenland” in 2020. He’s added another enjoyable one to the list with “Plane.”
Butler plays Brodie Torrance, the pilot of the titular plane, who’s tasked with flying over the Pacific Ocean on New Year’s Eve. Two factors make it more than just a routine flight, though. One is some nasty weather and the other is a convicted criminal (Mike Colter) who’s on board to be extradited.
As the plane goes through bad weather, a lightning bolt hits the aircraft, knocking out its electronics and forcing Brodie to make a rough landing on a remote island. It turns out the island is controlled by a militant group and they take many people from the plane hostage. The only two left to rescue them are Brodie and the criminal, Louis, both of whom have military training.
This movie has a simple title and a simple premise, too. It’s a typical situation where outnumbered good guys have to take down a big, heavily armed group of ruthless bad guys. While it takes a very standard route, though, the film has enough bells and whistles to make the ride fun from start to finish.
The movie features a plethora of thrilling and entertaining moments where likable characters are in danger. Even before the action starts on the ground, the film puts a viewer into suspense with a daring landing sequence. It’s an intense set piece that hooks an audience in for the action that’s coming.
Once on the ground, the film becomes a rather gritty journey for survival. Unlike other action films, including those that Butler has starred in, the main character isn’t spouting one-liners or .
The film also doesn’t have Brodie and Louis form a duo you’d see in a buddy flick. It’s just the two men forced into a bad, bloody situation trying to get out in one piece.
It’s hard to call this the most realistic movie out there, some of the things that happen do certainly feel farfetched. However, the movie doesn’t ask you to suspend your disbelief too much as it’s still seems like a grounded picture.
The island the characters are on is humid and uncomfortable, while the combat is brutal, and it all gives the movie a rugged authenticity that pulls a viewer into the situation.
The character Brodie makes for a good protagonist, too. He’s a talented pilot and has a military background, but he’s not a super action hero. He struggles in fights, is exhausted from the experience and is helpless in some situations.
At the same time, he is fiercely devoted to protecting his passengers and is crafty enough to overcome obstacles, making him a spot on type of character for this type of movie.
Butler has played these types of characters well before, such as his role in “Greenland,” and he does solid work again here. As does Colter, who’s good as the reserved outlaw that has a troubled past but is clearly on the side of the good guys in the end.
There’s also a good deal of exciting action to enjoy in “Plane.” A hand-to-hand fight in an abandoned radio room is a highlight, as is the final battle around the titular plane. The climactic scene is a race against the clock surrounded by bullets and it puts a person on the edge of their seat all the way to the credits.
There are a few especially good moments where one of the characters is using a sniper rifle in the battle. The individual holding the rifle is one of a few mercenaries sent in to help the good guys. They and most of the passengers aren’t the most memorable side characters.
However Yoson An and Daniella Pineda do well in playing the co-pilot and lead flight attendant who are also committed to getting the passengers to safety. Tony Goldwyn is also a good addition as a special consultant at the airline’s headquarters who’s monitoring the situation and advocates for Brodie’s heroics.
Grab the popcorn, “Plane” is a really enjoyable, mid-budget action thriller. Sure, the story is rather light, as are many of the characters, but for what the movie is trying to do, it all works in service to providing an audience with an entertaining experience. 3.8 out of 5.