A pilot finds himself caught in a war zone after he’s forced to land his commercial aircraft during a terrible storm.

Plane’, the literally titled latest film starring Gerard Butler, is an entertaining thriller that makes the most of Butler’s action star credentials in a movie that is better than I had perhaps (unfairly) expected. The movie centres on Brodie Torrance (Butler), a gruff Scottish pilot who is forced to make an emergency landing on a hostile island in the Philippines after flying through a storm, stranding the passengers and crew in a place that may just be more dangerous than the perilous flight they’ve just survived. As the airline owners frantically scramble to try to locate the plane and rescue the passengers, Torrance and co find themselves in a race against survival to stay alive long enough for help to arrive. To make matters worse, the plane has been carrying a convicted murderer (Mike Colter), and his handler doesn’t survive the crash landing.

I must confess my expectations weren’t the highest given the high volume of rubbish Butler has been in over the years, but he makes for a compelling lead when the material is right, and in ‘Plane’, the material is more right than not. Throughout its 1h45m runtime it has elements of disaster movies, survival thrillers and good old fashioned action movies and I enjoyed the way the writers kept the audience on their toes as the movie progresses. As Brodie tries to keep the passengers and crew alive, he moves through various clashes with the local militias, in much the same way as a video game narrative would play out – in fact I couldn’t escape thinking that this setup would be a really good premise for a video game, but in this case that is a compliment.

Plane’ isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel and if you were being critical you would perhaps point to the stock characterisations and some less than stellar acting, but as a whole it comes together very nicely indeed, with plenty of developments and good old fashioned action to hold my attention throughout.

Rating: 3/5

Directed By: Jean-François Richet

Starring: Gerard Butler, Mike Colter, Yoson An, Tony Goldwyn, Danielle Pineda, Kelly Gale, Remi Adeleke, Haleigh Hekking, Lilly Krug, Joey Slotnick, Evan Dane Taylor and Paul Ben-Victor

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