Crash Landing Release Date: 2005 Genre: Action | Crime | Thriller Director(s): Jay Andrews (aka Jim Wynorski) Writer(s): William Langlois (Subzero) & Jay Andrews Starring: Antonio Sabato Jr., Michael Pare, Glori-Anne Gilbert After 9/11 my favorite genre in the whole wide world went down the tubes; terror on a plane movies. Luckily for those in […]

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Crash Landing
Release Date: 2005
Genre: Action | Crime | Thriller
Director(s): Jay Andrews (aka Jim Wynorski)
Writer(s): William Langlois (Subzero) & Jay Andrews
Starring: Antonio Sabato Jr., Michael Pare, Glori-Anne Gilbert

After 9/11 my favorite genre in the whole wide world went down the tubes; terror on a plane movies. Luckily for those in the industry, there was only one terror on a plane flick in post-production when the attacks stuck a fork in the market. Nu Image had produced a film just before 9/11 by the name of Air Panic. In what I believe is the only instance of this actually happening in a direct-to-video terror on a plane film, the opening scene saw a plane full of passengers fly into a skyscraper and explode. To no one’s surprise, it took nearly two years before Velocity Home Entertainment put it onto the market with a big warning about how some viewers may find the footage disturbing.

Thankfully the dramatization of that day’s events in United 93 and Flight 93 seemed to indicate that the general public could once again have their hearts warmed to the genre. Seeing an opportunity, Jim Wynorski and Cinetel Films teamed up for the ninth or tenth time for Crash Landing. Sadly, this didn’t translate to Craig Sheffer saving the day for the fifth time. Instead it’s Antonio Sabato Jr., who fights terrorists while wearing a pair of pants so tight that I’m astonished he could walk, let alone kick ass.

Billionaire princess Rochelle Davis is celebrating her birthday in a spectacular fashion. Her rich father has chartered a private jet so her and her friends can party to their heart’s content before arriving to the true party on land. He’s well aware that his daughter is an easy target for baddies so, much to her discontent, he hires Major John Masters (Sabato Jr.) to accompany her on the flight. Once we get in the air the motive behind the murders that open the movie are revealed. All those corpses were the flight attendants scheduled to be on the flight. And who else has taken their place but a bunch of gun-wielding criminals intent on making off like bandits by holding Rochelle hostage. Since Masters’ pants will constrict his circulation if he sits for more than ten minutes at a time, he has no other choice but to keep Rochelle out of their hands.

Michael Pare’s in this movie too. Like Tom Berenger in Turbulence 2 and Craig Sheffer in Turbulence 3, Pare’s Captain Williams provides the voice that the substitute pilot (since pilot’s never make it through these films intact) speaks to when they are in desperate need of a landing strip. Pare and his boys are caught in the middle of a storm, and during this storm they must clear several hundred feet of land so that the plane can come in safely.

Filled with the sort of clichés that make me smile but others grimace, Crash Landing is no Turbulence 2: Fear of Flying. But then again, few are. Keep in mind that when Andrew Stevens was producing terror on a plane movies, Fred Olen Ray directed three of them for him. Jim didn’t make a single one, and it’s pretty apparent from how this one is executed. Even Joe Bob Briggs would find that while Crash Landing can be enjoyed as b-movie schlock, that there are times when the script and acting are so flimsy that it becomes a lot less fun.

Antonio Sabato Jr. does just fine, but where the hell did they find the antagonist? Aside from the time where he promises a “potty break” (imagine my dismay when I realized he didn’t say “pie break” as I originally thought) to the passengers if they piped down, he is so ineffective I felt embarrassed for him. In a flick like this the villain is unquestionably more important than the hero, and as such, past films have had great actors at the lead (Cyril O’Reilly in Air Rage, Michael Harris in Sonic Impact). His accomplices aren’t that much better. One is an old man who looks like Henry Winkler. Another is a brunette Glori-Anne Gilbert. The one who actually has the talent to pull something off, Paul Logan, is barely used at all.

In the end, though, this is still a terror on a plane movie. And a terror on a plane b-movie at that, which means that Crash Landing was enjoyable thanks in part to its gigantic logic gaps. Those who don’t love the genre, or are in need of a Jim Wynorski fix, can skip this though without ever worrying that they’ve missed something worthwhile.

And for Christ’s sakes, how can you eat steak when the pilot is PARALYZED????
DVD: Barebones.

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