Bullet Points: Crash Landing
Fasten your seat belts as Bulletproof Action once again takes to the skies with our review of the 2005 movie Crash Landing starring Antonio Sabato Jr. and Michael Pare.
I am always a fan when a movie gives us multiple action stars for the price of one. And while their interaction in Crash Landing is extremely limited, it was still good to see Antonio Sabato Jr. (The Base 2: Guilty as Charged) and Michael Pare (Maximum Conviction) co-headline this direct to video actioner.
- Attention Deficit Disorder: With a name like Crash Landing, one would assume that the movie’s big finale involves a crash landing. Well if you assumed that like I did, you are an ass, because Crash Landing gets the crash landing in before the opening credits. Our movie opens up with pilot Major John Masters (Antonio Sabato Jr.) flying through a terrible storm. His visibility is next to nothing, a lightning strike takes out his instruments and he is forced to make a crash landing (DING!) on a two lane road, taking out power lines along the way and nearly crashing into a disabled tanker truck. After the opening credits roll, we are then introduced to some annoying characters. You know how in horror movies you are introduced to annoying characters and you have to wait for them to be killed off one by one? Well, Crash Landing once again takes the waiting out and these characters are killed pretty much instantaneously. Two young ladies drive off the road and crash into a ravine after the brakes on their car fail. One dude in his drawers gets blown up when he starts his coffee maker in the morning. Another woman dies after a curling iron with the world’s longest power cord is thrown into the bathtub with her. We later learn that all four of these victims were members of a flight crew that was scheduled to fly to Australia later that day.
- Billionaire Princess: Major John Masters’ crash landing is still under investigation by the military brass, so Masters finds himself grounded in more ways than one. That is until his commanding officer General McClaren offers him an interesting assignment, chaperoning a billionaire’s daughter and her friends on a flight to Australia. To say Masters isn’t thrilled about the assignment would be a major understatement, but it beats hanging around the base all day. Another person who is not thrilled by Masters’ assignment, is the billionaire princess herself, Rochelle Davis (Brianne Davis). The strong, independent 22 year old is sick of her daddy’s overprotective ways (but obviously not his money). As I mentioned earlier, all the members of the flight crew that were scheduled to be on this flight were killed, taking their place a group of terrorists looking to hold Rochelle ransom until her airline owning daddy with strong ties to the United States Armed Forces, pays up.
- Air Force 2: Once the plane is in the air and most of the passengers have passed out from their partying, the bad guys reveal themselves and their diabolical scheme. Of course the one wrinkle in this evil plan is the bad guys weren’t expecting Masters to be on board, so things quickly move into an Air Force One like scenario, which means we once again get Die Hard on a plane. Once all the cards are on the table, guns start going off and if you are assuming like I did that this is probably going to lead to trouble, you would be exactly right. While Masters is fighting off one of the bad guys in the cargo area of the plane, a gun shot penetrates the plane’s fuel line and the plane starts hemorrhaging fuel. Now there is no way the plane is going to make it to its final destination.
- Trouble in Paradise: You know who else isn’t going to make it to their destination? The bad guys! That’s right Masters manages to take them all out but now there’s the bigger problem… the pilot of the plane (Patrick St. Espirit) was shot by one of the terrorists earlier and he is now at the point where he’s in no condition to fly and the plane is rapidly running out of fuel and the plane is in the midst of a tropical storm. Masters finds himself back behind the controls, still haunted by the memories of his last flight and landing. The only hope for survival is if Masters can land the plane on a small Hawaiian Island where the military has a tracking station… unfortunately the tracking station does not have a completed runway. That is where Captain Willaims (Michael Pare) and his men have to work expeditiously in the inclement weather to complete the runway. Pare is great here as the loyal soldier. Williams has his orders and he’s going to make sure one way or the other, no matter the conditions, he and his men complete those orders to the letter.
Crash Landing fulfilled Antonio Sabato Jr’s obligation as an action star to appear in a Die Hard inspired movie. The movie did benefit from Michael Pare’s presence as a supporting player. And given the movie’s scenario with a bunch of spoiled rich kids on a plane, this one could have quickly flown over “What Not To Watch” airspace, but fortunately the passenger involvement was kept to a minimum and the movie plays out the way you’d expect it to.
Before you unfasten your seat belt and leave the plane, please observe these Bonus Bullet Points…
- Familiar Faces: Action fans may recognize Billy “Sly” Williams, who played Mac the radio man under Captain Williams’ command, from the amazing Jeff Wincott movie, Mission of Justice… One of the terrorists on the plane was played by Paul Logan. Logan was also in the Steven Seagal film, Sniper: Special Ops… Last but not least, John Beck plays General McClaren in Crash Landing, he may be best known as Moonpie from the original Rollerball.
- Masters of Flight: Nothing against Antonio Sabato Jr. or his character Major John Masters, but if I’m going to be up in a plane with a pilot with the last name of Masters, rest assured it is either going to be Doug Masters or Col. Ted Masters from the movie Iron Eagle.
- Leave it at the alter: I’m not sure why but a poster for Tony ‘n’ Tina’s Wedding made two appearances in the film. First on the wall in one of the flight attendant’s homes. Then again at the airport.
- If You Ever: …wanted to hear a coroner crack a skidmarks joke, then this is the movie for you.