Airline Disaster (2010)

REVIEW BY: Jeffrey Long

COMPANY: The Asylum

RUNTIME: 100 mins


PLOT: Terrorists hijack a new state-of-the-art passenger airliner and hold the pilot's family hostage in order to make him cooperate and go along with their plans, while the U.S. Government works on bringing the terrorists to justice.

Despite owning Airline Disaster for about a year now, it's taken me forever to get around to watching it because, quite frankly, I just prefer my B-Movies to come in either the Monster/Creature or the Global Disaster variety and just regular action or suspense ones don't normally capture my interest as much. However, once the credits for this surprisingly fun little flick started rolling, I began giving serious thought to changing my tune.

This is one of Asylum's longer movies (1 hour and 40 minutes), but despite that it never feels long. Right from the opening minutes straight to the end, there's quite a lot that's going on as it's primarily made up of two separate, but related, main plots that themselves are split up into several smaller sub-plots, which means no time at all to waste on slow or boring stretches. The first of the two main plots reminded me quite a lot of the first season of Fox's hit TV series 24, in that it dealt with a mother and her daughter (and in the case of this movie, also her son) being kidnapped in order to make the husband/father of their family cooperate with the terrorists. They even get held at this house out in the middle of nowhere to be used as hostages and bargaining chips, with their kidnappers driving a white van. Their half of the story involves them trying to escape several times but always getting caught, and the mother trying to come up with ways to convince their captors not to kill them and to leave her kids alone. There were even a couple scenes in this part of the story that felt to me almost directly lifted from 24 (which for the record I'm perfectly fine with, since that's what this company is known for). One of the subplots for this part of the story even involves a government agent that's working on trying to rescue them, which involves some twists of it's own but still results in him leading an assault on the house to rescue the family, followed by a car chase with the white van (which if I remember correctly, is how the similar plot in Season 1 of 24 ended as well).

The other main story that shares the screen time is the part of the story that the title of the movie references. Just like how the previous plot reminded me of 24, this one reminded me just as much about Con Air. The husband/father of the kidnapped family (played by Scott Valentine who has taken on quite a few more pounds since his days filming Carnosaur 3) is the pilot of this new state-of-the-art passenger airline that gets hijacked by a group of people that are in charge of the temperamental hillbillies that kidnapped the family (who by the way are a gang of modern-day Nazis – cause, you know, everything that they're doing isn't bad enough as it is, so let's also make them Nazis for the hell of it since everyone hates Nazis). It's pretty clear that these people are the more calm, collective, thinkers of this gang of Nazis and the kidnappers are kind of the lower-class members. This part of the plot had many scenes that seemed lifted right out of Con Air other then just having the plane hijacked by hardened criminals – there was a scene where fighter jets were sent to shoot the plane down but our hero (in this case, the pilot) has to pull some daring tricks to get them to back off in order save the hostages on-board, but thus also the villains. There were even a couple of scenes that involved the plane crash landing into the middle of a city (or coming really close to it in one instance) but they go even a step further in this then Con Air did, and in true B-Movie fashion they added in the thrill of having parts of the plane breaking off as it plummeted through the sky, raining destructive debris down upon the city below and the people in the streets.

Con Air wasn't the only movie that led to inspiration for this part of the movie though. Fans of Die Hard will find a few little nuggets borrowed from their movie as well. There's also an off-duty Secret Service agent on the plane (Played by the very beautiful Asylum-regular Lindsey McKeon who should also be known to fans of Supernatural as Tessa the Reaper) and she plays a very Die Hard-esque role of sneaking around the tight spaces of the giant, multi-floored plane in the hopes of screwing up the terrorists' plan in any way she can while relaying information back to the authorities on the ground whenever she finds something out. She even has the whole “Right person in the wrong place at the wrong time” attitude about her. The only thing missing that was stopping her from being a true John McClane protégée was that she never got into the habit of mumbling to herself under her breath or of mocking the terrorists. And speaking of those terrorists, they also seemed to take a page out of Die Hard in that their demands that they gave to the authorities (and also to the viewers) turned out to just be a distraction from their real plan, which of course involved money. Lots of money.

There is a third, albeit very minor, plot that kind of bridges the two main plots (you know, apart from the fact that the family kidnapped is that of the plane's pilot), and that is the White House part of the story. The female President is played by Family Ties star Meredith Baxter as she spends the entire movie in her War Room with her military advisers. Their job in the movie is to dabble in all the various plots and sub-plots. They communicate with the terrorists in control of the plane while also secretly trying to figure out a way to put a stop to their plans, they're the ones that the Secret Service Agent hiding on board the plane relays information to, and their also the ones that the Government Agent communicates with as he tries to track down and rescue the kidnapped family. Oh, and in an extremely pointless and has-nothing-to-do-with-anything sub-plot of this part of the story, it's revealed that this President is also the sister of the pilot and thus the aunt of the kidnapped kids (cause you know, she really needed yet another completely random connection to everything going on in the movie). I don't really understand why they felt the need to make her related to the other main characters since it was quite out of the blue and random and they really did nothing at all with it in the movie anyway, but oh well. Despite this minor connecting plot and the fact that other then adding more screen time the whole President part of the story could have easily been removed, I found in a movie of pretty decent actors that Meredith Baxter completely stole the show. May have been a useless part of the movie, but she was always entertaining to watch – especially when her character was frantic and shouting at everyone.

Alongside the better-then-average acting for this sort of flick, are the better-then-average special effects as well. Granted, there wasn't much in the ways of special effects needed for this one, other then a plane flying in the air, but the shots of it almost crashing (and then later actually crashing) were pretty good. And you wouldn't think a plane flying over a city could be so deadly, but they found some pretty inventive ways to have the plane reign destruction down upon the cities it passes over, giving the plane almost a life of it's own and pretty much making it just as much an actual character in the movie as any of the humans.

In the end this one pretty much had it all. A really good story with mostly-all-good interconnecting plots filled with non-stop action, which came to life thanks to some great acting and decent special effects. As far as entertainment value goes, this is pretty close to as good as they can get in the B-Movie realm, without including a monster or creature in there.

9/10 rooms in the Psych Ward


  1. This movie is horrible. The actors are crap and the pilots acting was not even close to real airline pilots. What a waste of money this was. The story line was pretty descent but the whole movie was just not life like enough at all.

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