Air Rage Release Date: 2001 Genre: Action | Adventure Director(s): Ed Raymond (aka Fred Olen Ray) Writer(s): Sean O’Bannon (Final Examination, Rapid Assault) Starring: Ice-T, Cyril O’Reilly I really shouldn’t love Air Rage as much as I do. It is quite possibly the least accurate of any terror on a plane movie. The mistakes are […]

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Air Rage
Release Date: 2001
Genre: Action | Adventure
Director(s): Ed Raymond (aka Fred Olen Ray)
Writer(s): Sean O’Bannon (Final Examination, Rapid Assault)
Starring: Ice-T, Cyril O’Reilly

I really shouldn’t love Air Rage as much as I do. It is quite possibly the least accurate of any terror on a plane movie. The mistakes are glaring, and so incredibly stupid that it’s unbelievable such a script got produced without any touch-ups in pre-production. This is coming from someone with absolutely no knowledge of planes outside of a few trips to Europe too, so you know the errors are huge.

Just like Strategic Command, Air Rage takes its main plotpoint from Executive Decision. Colonel John Sykes (O’Reilly) has been arrested and detained by the U.S. government for war crimes that he believes he didn’t commit. And after a nice lifting of footage from Storm Catcher (done so well I had no idea it wasn’t original until I saw Storm Catcher), Sykes is a free man, thanks in full to the help of a few of his other military buddies who have been deserted by their government. Boarding a 747 with the General who put him away on board, who is ironically enough on his way to a terrorist summit, Sykes and his men take over the plane with the intention of grabbing one of those ridiculous sums of money as a ransom.

Enter the old stalwarts of the genre, the air traffic controller and the angry government man who is prepared to shoot down the plane. Turns out that the General is carrying a disc that contains the details on every single operative who is working undercover for the C.I.A. It’s imperative that information remains classified no matter what the collateral damage. The military decides to go for a last ditch effort. Enter the Executive Decision connection. A rogue military force, led by Captain Matthew Marshall (Ice-T), boards the plane mid-flight in attempt to take the terrorists out. After the absolute worst display of skills ever shown in the history of cinema, every member of the team is dead, aside from Marshall. He’s in an underground compartment with a bad bullet wound, and from there, he coaches a middle-aged flight attendant on what to do in order to take control of the plane.

Riddled with the most blatant errors I’ve seen in a film of this kind, the fact that I enjoy Air Rage boils down to two of my biggest loves; terror on a plane films and ridiculously bad b-movies. Air Rage has both those qualities. It’s simply fun to watch it all unfold, with Ice-T channeling the energy of a pregnant woman to feign pain, and the terrorists placing the passengers into an “aft luggage department” that does not actually exist in real life.

Like many of Fred Olen Ray and Jim Wynorski’s flicks that came out of the Royal Oaks / Phoenician era, it’s hard for me to actually criticize the final product. After having such a great time watching the movie, who the hell am I to say it’s not any good?

DVD: The only extra, like most of these movies, is a great commentary track with Cyril O’Reilly and Fred Olen Ray. Unlike Michael Harris on Sonic Impact’s track, O’Reilly is in on the shabbiness of the product. Like Harris, he’s actually quite good in the movie, and even better on the commentary.

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