Monday, 25 May 2015

Passenger 57

Review of a tolerable action film for Overlooked Films, Audio & Video at Todd Mason’s blog Sweet Freedom.

Passenger 57 (1992) should be the silliest hijack film I have seen till now.

Wesley Snipes plays John Cutter, the mysterious Passenger 57 in this namesake action flick directed by Kevin Hooks (known more for television than films, I think). But he doesn’t stay mysterious for long. His cover as a seasoned airline security expert is blown less than half hour into the movie by Sabrina Ritchie (Elizabeth Hurley), the lone woman hijacker disguised as a stewardess.

Half-crazed international terrorist Charles Rane (Bruce Payne) is on the same passenger jet, handcuffed and seated between two FBI agents who are taking him to LA. As soon as the plane takes off, Sabrina makes her move and shoots the Feds. Rane and Sabrina and two other accomplices then take over the jet.

Conveniently, John Cutter is in the loo when Rane shoots a few people including the pilot. The anti-terrorist specialist manages to discharge fuel with the help of Marti Slayton (Alex Datcher), a genuine stewardess and Cutter’s love interest, forcing Rane to land the plane in a small town. However, it’s not long before his cover is blown again and Cutter finds himself licking the runway, and Rane escapes, as was his intention.

From here on much of the action takes place on land, in a crowded amusement park where Cutter and Rane play hide and seek and shoot, first on a rollercoaster and then on a merry-go-round. Unusual for such hijack capers, Cutter manages to nab Rane and hand him over to the FBI.

This is where it gets silly. Rane blackmails Cutter and the FBI into letting him back on board the plane where his accomplices are holding the remaining passengers hostage. Whatever happened to commandos and midair boarding? And it gets sillier when Cutter follows Rane into the airborne jet for a final showdown, in a stunt reversal of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s leap off a midair plane in Commando (1985).

Passenger 57 is passable. Wesley Snipes doesn’t say much, but he kicks butt every now and then. Tom Sizemore, a fine actor, is wasted as airline representative Sly Delvecchio. He and Hurley look like extras. Bruce Payne, who I don’t recall seeing anywhere, appears stiff and stone faced rather than deranged as he is meant to be. I have seen better hijack films, notably Airport ’77 (1977), The Delta Force (1986), Executive Decision, (1996), Air Force One (1997), and Con Air (1997). I watched Passenger 57 on a lazy Saturday afternoon. You can, too, if there’s nothing else on.

12 comments:

  1. I don't think I have ever seen this, I don't seem to have missed too much though!

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  2. I saw this quite a few years ago but barely remember anything about it. I do generally like Snipes though.

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    1. Charles, I have seen Snipes in a few other films and remember him most for the BLADE series.

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  3. I remember enjoying thsi atr the time (ALWAYS BET ON BLACK!) though I do also remember one of the reviews that mocked its adherence to the DIE HARD formula and just said, "Die already!"

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    1. Sergio, I seem to have missed Wesley Snipes' line "Always bet on black!" Guess I wasn't really into the film.

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  4. You doing OK there, with the heat wave?

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    1. Richard, it's 33 degree C (91 F) in Mumbai on most days, which means it's terribly hot and humid. But it's worse in other parts of the country where temperatures are upwards of 45 C (113 F). So far more than 1,100 people have died due to the heat wave. Now imagine power outage in this scenario.

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  5. Prashant,
    I really like your summing-up of the kind of film this is. I'll confess this isn't my type of film. Still, there are some action/adventure films that really are excellent watching. Others...are not. As you say, though, they can make for a lazy afternoon's watching.

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    1. Hello Ms. Kinberg. Thank you for the praise. I often watch such films on weekends partly because I feel too lazy to do anything else. I like action and adventure films, particularly war, espionage, and disaster movies. I find them entertaining.

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  6. I enjoyed the review, possibly more than I would the film! AS you say, it might be the right thing for a quiet afternoon. Wesley Snipes is very charismatic.

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    1. Moira, that's kind of you. I caught the film while channel surfing which is usually the way I end up watching movies on cable. I have seen a few other Wesley Snipe films including one set in the White House, I think.

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