Gerard Butler movies are always a crapshoot. Some of them are just horrendously stupid such as Geostorm, Gods of Egypt and Playing for Keeps and some are pretty good like Greenland, Copshop, and Olympus Has Fallen. Most of them are basically the same story. Where would his new film, Plane, fall in the Gerard Butler spectrum? Despite the fairly lame title, Plane did not crash. It was a smooth flight.

Gerard Butler was Captain Brodie Torrance, a pilot who had to fly a plane from Singapore to Japan, before he headed off to see his daughter (Haleigh Hekking). Unfortunately, an accused murderer, Louis Gaspare (Mike Colter), was being transported on his flight after recently being captured.

Torrance saw that their flight path was through a bad storm and requested a new path, but the suits in charge told him to stay on the path and fly over it. This was never going to work and, when he tried to follow those instructions, his plane was struck by lightning, knocking out the electrical items on the plane.

With his piloting skills, Torrance was able to navigate the plane in an emergency landing on a nearby island, but, sticking with his luck, the island was a dangerous location, run by a local army and warlord Junmar (Evan Dane Taylor). Torrance needed to search for help and he recruited Gaspare to go with him, and they found nothing but trouble.

This is absolutely a film that is much like many of Gerard Butler’s previous films, but there was some cool things about this. I enjoyed Mike Colter (Netflix’s Luke Cage) and his chemistry with Butler. They did not go too deep into his backstory or why he had been on the run for so many years. They touched on it at a surface level, but I still liked him very much.

Then there was the co-pilot Dele (Yoson An) who was undeniably relatable and played off Butler beautifully. We also go Tony Goldwyn as Scarsdale, one of the head honchos with the airline who was taking no crap from any of the pencil pushers involved. It was great to see a character come in and not question every choice Butler made, which felt different than most films. It was also nice to see Goldwyn, who was the President of the United States in TV’s Scandal for several years.

The absolute best part of the film was the scenes of the plane crash and any time that Captain Torrance was trying to fly the plane. The crash sequence was literally one of the most tense and white knuckle rides I have seen in the movie theater in a long time. The way director Jean-François Richet shot these scenes was fabulous and put me right there in the cockpit with the pilots. It was a thrilling sequence and worked amazingly well.

The film moved rapidly through the scenes, nicely paced. There were some time to feel the tension in each scene, but it never had moments that did not feel as if they belonged. This was a nice, tight hour and forty + minute movie and it moved along wonderfully.

Admittedly, there were plenty of scenes that require you to suspend disbelief because it just would not work any other way. Some of the scenes were the typical action movie fare, but they fit these in with some solid work. The passenger characters were all basic and stereotypical for this type of a film, and they responded in the way that you would expect them to respond. None of the passengers stood out much at all and could have been played by anyone.

I had a lot of fun with Plane. The title was not very good, but it makes sense considering how important of a role the plane played in the story. The story was predictable but exciting. The action was great and those piloting sequences were exceptional. January, which is typically the dumpster for bad films, has been pretty decent so far. Fingers crossed.

4 stars

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