When a new year begins, cinema goers are either slammed by catching up with what is deemed as Oscar homework, or they’re treated to what can sometimes by the crème of the crop of what is usually dubbed Dumpuary. While 2023 has certainly had a bang with a horror entry in this rather plagued month, we have now been gifted an action movie which will leave audiences hungry for more of the third act than the rest of the film, but will satisfy someone looking for a sheer popcorn evening of madness and ridiculousness. Jean-Francois Richet directs the ‘Liam Neeson said no, lets call Gerard Butler instead’ Plane. While Plane never reaches the altitude the audience wants, it only suffers from some minor turbulence and delivers a safe landing.
The movie focuses on pilot Brodie Torrance (Gerard Butler) whose trying to make it home for New Years with his daughter in LA while being on the other side of the globe. She makes a quip about how it is New Years and if there’s any delays he certainly won’t make it home in time and he assures her he is never delayed. Shortly thereafter he is told by an officer that on his barely filled flight, he will be transporting Louis Gaspare (Mike Colter) to Toronto, Canada whose a convicted murderer. Why this dangerous prisoner is being transported on a flight with other passengers, boggles the mind, or why this international flight with about a dozen people didn’t get cancelled for being oversold also boggles the mind but alas. Everything is going more or less normal on the flight, outside of some weather that Brodie wants to avoid but is told to fly through because they don’t have enough fuel to deter by an hour. As they’re flying through the storm the plane gets hit by lightning (its 2023, planes get hit by lightning all the time presumably) there ends up being a navigation failure amongst other various crucial operations. They have to make an emergency landing, but as the only thing around them is literally oceans, they find a cluster of islands and think they’re in the clear.
Unfortunately, the island is essentially an abandoned island that is filled with the world’s nastiest criminals that have overtaken the island. Upon arriving on the island, with no way to relay their crash and from when their systems crashed search and rescue is almost impossible, so Brodie takes Louis with him to find a way to contact his boss, Hampton (Paul Ben-Victor) about their location. The island militia of madness saw the plane crash, and now Brodie, Louis, and the surviving passengers are in a fight for their lives to try and make it back to familiar soil and live another day.
Plane is one of the most absurd and ridiculous movies that makes audiences suspend their belief more than a later entry into the fast and the furious franchise. I could arguably have an easier time believing that someone strapped a rocket engine to an impala, and it somehow did not implode and kill everyone than I can believe that a plane in this modern age can’t take a hit of lightening. However, with all that being said and the script from Charles Cumming and J.P. Davis needing some fine tuning, it is the performances from both Gerard Butler and Mike Colter that lets Plane soar. While neither of them are bringing anything other than unadulterated badassery to the screen, they also don’t need to do anything more than that. It is a silly, unbelievable action movie that audiences are going to see to see them wreck some people and do what they do best. This could arguably serve as Butler’s prequel to his Fallen franchise as he plays the same character, it is the silly popcorn movie that January needs to break up the (mostly) seriousness of the rest of the offerings at the cinemas.