American Heroes: Air Marshal Release Date: August 26, 2003 Genre: Action|Adventure Director: Alan Jakubowicz (Nature Unleashed: Tornado) Writer: James Becket (Plato’s Run) & Aaron Pope (Speck) Starring: Dean Cochran EXPLOITATION ALERT! Within a few months of the disastrous events of September 11th, 2001, those sensitive and caring folks at the Nu Image production company decided […]

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American Heroes: Air Marshal
Release Date: August 26, 2003
Genre: Action|Adventure
Director: Alan Jakubowicz (Nature Unleashed: Tornado)
Writer: James Becket (Plato’s Run) & Aaron Pope (Speck)
Starring: Dean Cochran

EXPLOITATION ALERT!

Within a few months of the disastrous events of September 11th, 2001, those sensitive and caring folks at the Nu Image production company decided to create their American Heroes series to capitalize on the wave of patriotism that was sweeping the nation. While that doesn’t sound too terrible at first glance, keep in mind that Air Marshal is about a group of Middle Eastern terrorists hijacking an airplane with the intention of crashing it in the name of Allah. Now you likely see why I’m a tad bit ticked off at the whole thing happening in the first place.

I’ve always loved DTV, Airplane inspired, hijacking flicks (Sonic Impact, Air Rage, the Turbulence sequels). As a result, I couldn’t resist buying a one-way ticket to exploitationville by popping in Air Marshal moments after it arrived. Starring Dean Cochran (the “Dean Cain is busy” of Nu Image, who was the lead in Shark Zone) as, you guessed it, an air marshal who just happens to be on the hijacked airplane, it’s up to him to fight against the terrorists in this simplistic mess of a film that actually winds up being fun as hell if you numb your mind to the ineptitude of it all.

What makes Air Marshal more interesting than its companion pieces at times are the actions of the terrorists. While most of them are there to crash the plane and earn themselves eighty-five virgins, the leader reveals his true colors by trying to demand the typical obscene amount of money from the American government. This would, of course, “fund more missions,” while at the same time keeping his ass alive and rich. While here only as a contrived plot device, it was actually a nice play on the idea. The 9/11 influences shine through with a big neon sign when a senator on the plane leads a group of disgruntled passengers to try and take back the plane by uttering, “Let’s roll.” When the senator was simply shot point blank in the leg for his troubles seconds after, I couldn’t stop laughing for roughly six minutes.

The worst part of the movie is the absolutely terrible CGI on display. Instead of just purchasing stock footage like all the previous DTV films have done, Air Marshal uses computer graphics straight out of a 1994 simulation project. Maybe we’ll look back on this years from now like we do with other, earlier CGI efforts and realize how it lead the way for the graphics to improve immensely, but right now, they’re ludicrously bad.

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American Heroes: Air Marshal, 5.7 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

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