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Jean-François returns to blockbuster Cinema with Gerard Butler and Mike Colter taking the stage. Jean-François Richet is best known for his work in France, notably the ‘Mesrine,’ a two-part crime epic. Now he’s taking on ‘Plane,’ a high-energy film with plenty of “hurrah” moments built in for the audience. You may question if you want to get on airplanes again but it may restore some faith in the people flying them.
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Captain Brodie Torrance is a single father dealing with the distance away from his teenage daughter played by Haleigh Hekking. His scheduled flight from Singapore to Tokyo should just be another routine flight, but one thing after another keeps portending a bad time. The arrival of a criminal is added to the flight for transport as well as a storm surging towards them, but the airline Trailblazer demands they go out.
Once the plane is in the air it becomes apparent that they are going to have to make a crash landing. As the crew finds themselves on a separatist island in the Philippines, it leaves them fending for survival. Between the crew and the Trailblazer Headquarters, the movie moves fast as it makes sure to trim any ounce of fat. Before we know it we are up in the air again!
Gerard Butler Puts in a Star Performance
As a star, you have to have key elements down. Can you ride a horse, drive an automated car, and shoot a gun? Crying on cue is a must as well. Mere prerequisites that Gerard Butler has passed over his filmography. He is known for similar roles like ‘300’ and ‘Olympus Has Fallen,’ which all required training and attention to the visceral side of the script.
In ‘Plane,’ he is not unfamiliar with heroes we have seen before, but the performance put in by Butler convinces you of the efforts people can go to. Butler has shown the limits of the human body before being able to roll with the punches. The apparent age discrepancy is the comedic relief that gives the audience a breather, meaning we are really only getting a rest from the action when Capt. Torrance is taking his own breath. His character is witty enough to be meta at times.
It was refreshing to see an acknowledgment of the physical impact the hero is taking. Often it can seem fake as the hero takes one improbable hit after another. After one hand-to-hand combat fights, the hero is completely spent. His injuries are a reality as he gets put through the wringer while helping his passengers.
Torrance has one mission as a captain and that is to make sure the safety of the passengers is secured. He takes his chances with calm and calculated risks which make for anxiety-provoking action scenes. Torrance is forced to trust the convict, Louis Gaspare, after realizing he might be his only chance at survival.
Mike Colter’s Chance at Redemption
Known for his role as Luke Cage on the self-titled show on Netflix, Mike Colter is finally given a chance to show what he is capable of. A labeled character that is only getting judged by the cover on display. Colter’s character hates having his photo and video taken as he does not want to be objectified in that way.
He is on his way to prison for a murder that never gets talked about too much other than what we hear from Louis. He only will talk once his handcuffs are off. Once he is trusted by the captain, his rally to rectify his past begins. Colter’s performance is reflective of ‘Luke Cage’ as he wields a machine gun for most of the movie. He persists as the main force against the separatist militia that inhabits the island.
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He takes on the cold mist familiar to a character like John Rambo as he helps Gerard Butler to get in contact with the airline facility in the United States and guard the rest of the passengers. Colter keeps a soft tone in a massive body, meant to feel like a juxtaposition. We can see that he is a man who cares. Someone that is looking for a way to redeem his past.
Plane and Simple Sequences
Turbulence on an airplane can feel like a scary roller coaster, at least that’s how it is when you are up against a burgeoning storm. A plane crash has been done many times before from ‘Sully’ to ‘Flight.’ In any good action film, the sequence has to be good to stand out. A correct balance of staging, editing, and camera movements help accentuate the compositions at hand.
In ‘Plane,’ Richet stays close to Butler as he and his co-pilot, played by Yoson An, land the plane together. We are up close with the two captains as they attempt to make their descent. Richet shows how quickly you get to know someone’s life story before everything and anything can go wrong.
The fighting sequences on land are brief but choreographed well, meant to thrill the audience. Richet’s floating camera movements puts us through a perspective of our own, peeking into the action sequences. In all, creating a great sense of stakes and uneasiness of hoping to see the protagonist succeed. The action never stops, as even in gun-fighting scenes the use of sound design is used to help tense the situations up.
A Film That Hits Its Plot Points
The film is right to the point and wastes no time stretching anything out. At an hour and forty-seven minutes, it goes by relatively quickly, hitting the plot points along the way. ‘Plane’ is a great example of an action film that goes through the seven plot points of writing from the normal world to the new normal. Formulaic isn’t bad as long as it is captivating and exciting.
The film is able to bring plot points back in order to continue the story. In that way, it is sufficient in how it handles all the parts. From the plane to the Headquarters, and the reinforcements that show up, it is all for the purpose to get a mission complete. Like a chapter in a video game, it takes us to the extent that someone can go to make a difference.
‘Plane’ has great pacing that doesn’t keep an audience longer than it needs to. Each character has a purpose and function, quite similar to how a team has to work, and it ultimately is what is able to help save them. This is the perfect movie for some popcorn and high-velocity entertainment.
Jean-François Richet’s next film, ‘Twice,’ is currently in development. Gerard Butler will next appear in ‘Naya Legend of the Golden Dolphin,’ directed by Jonathon Kay and starring Kate Winslet and Elliot Page. Mike Colter is in production of ‘Murder City’ with Antonio Fargas and Stephanie Sigman, directed by Michael D. Olmos.
Writers: Charles Cummings and J.P. Davis
Director – Jean-François Richet
Mentioned Cast: Gerard Butler, Mike Colter, Daniella Pineda,Yoson An, Tony Goldwyn,
Cinematography: Brendan Galvin
Editor: David Rosenbloom
By Devon James
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Devon James is a screen and media writer determined to provide readers with engaging and informative content. His film industry background gives him an adept knowledge in the entertainment industry. This complies with The Hollywood Insider’s mission to educate readers. Devon likes seeing hidden voices in film that provide new cultural perspectives. He enjoys the conversations cinema creates; hoping through his writing to open up topics for discussion.