Gerard Butler seems to be contented doing all these B-grade action thrillers which are churned out every year. While I usually avoid his new films because they are usually bad, I decided to give Plane a shot. First, it was the year’s first major new release, so it was a good way to start the year, and second, it has an impressive Rotten Tomatoes critics rating of 77% and an even more impressive audience rating of 94%!! To be honest, I’m not sure why the reviews were so positive. It appears that they were watching a different movie than I was.
The film’s plot is straightforward. Gerard’s commercial plane crashes on a remote Philippine island. The majority of the passengers survived the crash landing unharmed. They soon discover, however, that they have even more dangerous problems to deal with in the form of a local terrorist gang hiding in the jungle. With a more imaginative touch, the entire film could have easily been the enjoyable thriller that it was intended to be. Plane, on the other hand, is too “paint by numbers” for me. It frequently feels as if we’ve all been there before. So, we have a bunch of people who have very little personalities and just end up like wallpaper. At least the main co-star, Mike Cotler, who plays a prisoner on the plane, has a bit more backstory to share. Mike appears to be larger, more fit, and younger than Gerard, who is easily overshadowed by his towering co-star.
Overall there is very little redeeming value to make me recommend this movie to anyone. The whole plot is simple but it has many logical gaps. The supporting cast have little to do except look scared. The location shots looked unconvincing and unauthentic. For example, when we first see Gerard, he is in the Singapore airport, but it looks nothing like Singapore. Then there was the island where they landed, which did not appear to be in the Philippines. The island scenes were apparently shot in Puerto Rico, while the Singapore airport was shot in the United States! Finally, the action sequences were unimaginatively choreographed and shot.
A wittier script and more chemistry between its two main characters, Gerard and Mike, could have made the whole thing more enjoyable. Gerard Butler’s earlier work appeals to me. My favorite of his films was The Phantom of the Opera, in which he played the Phantom himself! And who can forget him as the King of the Spartas in 300? Gerard Butler nowadays appears to settle for any old script and undemanding roles. Call me a sap, but I’m still hoping to see Gerard Butler in a film where he can shine once more. For now, Plane is not it.