January has always been a grim month with Christmas over, bills landing and seemingly no end in sight for the cold dark winter so a bit of escapism is always needed and a holiday is ideal. Unfortunately we booked with a company called Con-tours, we should have known better and it’s likely that the passengers in Gerard Butlers new actioner Plane didn’t realize either. Butler is an improbably named pilot Brodie Torrance tasked with taking a plane with only 14 passengers and a last minute prisoner Louis Gaspare (Mike Colter) from Singapore to Tokyo. So the cast are all lined up for the audience as a kind of ‘who’s the most disposable?’ and to that end we have the thoroughly unpleasant business man, the gap year travelling students, the cockney geezer (played by English actor Oliver Trevena yet still soundly like a Dick van Dyke’s long lost brother) as well as a few female flight attendant s plus the prisoners escorts. So when the plane is hit by an electrical storm it has to emergency land on a remote island populate by violent sociopaths – it’s not Canvey Island but somewhere in the Philipines where a group of murderous rebels led by the flamboyantly coiffured Junmar (Evan Dane Taylor) terrorist and seemingly part time shampoo advert model who rule the roost taking hostages for ransom.
With the passengers hostage its Captain Gerard Butler and Louis who find themselves in a position to try and rescue them whilst they wait a for a small band of mercenaries to locate the island and aid their rescue. All of this is overseen back at the airline’s HQ who bring in crisis management expert Scarsdale (Tony Goldwyn) and gives a glimpse into the world of PR management of this type of incident.
Plane is firmly B-movie territory and it’s a genre that Butler has made his own with several of these types of films far better than might be expected (Olympus has Fallen , Hunter Killer, Cop Shop etc). As a title Plane is a bit of a misnomer as most of this is on an island and as an actioner there could be more set pieces than there are here but as a mid winter Saturday night bit of fun you could do far worse and frankly despite the on screen carnage it’s still a flight we’d still prefer over any with Ryanair…..at least the flight drinks were complimentary