14 June 2024

PLANE AND THE TOP FIVE ACTION MOVIES SET… ON A PLANE!

Throughout cinema history, planes have frequently played a prominent role as the backdrop for action-packed movies, adeptly capturing feelings of tension, danger, and claustrophobia that arise when characters are confined to a limited space and face a variety of threats. The setting of an aeroplane frequently highlights the action through claustrophobic stories of survival, heroism, and resilience in the face of extreme adversity, offering audiences an exciting and thrilling cinematic experience.

The action-packed Plane features pilot Brodie Torrance (Gerard Butler) who expertly lands his aircraft on a war-torn island to save his passengers from a lightning strike. However, their troubles are far from over when the passengers are taken captive by dangerous rebels. With limited options, Torrance must rely on Louis Gaspare (Mike Colter), a convicted murderer being transported by the FBI, to aid in the rescue mission. As they work together, they uncover unexpected truths about Gaspare, and ultimately it is up to both men to save the lives of everyone on board. With Gerard Butler at his hard-hitting everyman best, and Mike Colter bringing the muscle as his bruising back-up, Plane is one flight not to be missed!

To mark the release of Plane on UK digital platforms now, we present a list of five adrenaline-fuelled action movies that take to the skies.

TOP GUN (1986)

Now regarded as a pop culture phenomenon and one of the most successful and beloved films of the 1980s, Tony Scott’s Top Gun is a high-octane thrill ride that depicts the might of the US military complex against an unspecified enemy, embodying the heady excesses of the era. The film catapulted Tom Cruise to international stardom as daredevil US Navy pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, who undergoes an intensive training course under the watchful eye of flight instructor Charlotte Blackwood (Kelly McGillis) alongside a cohort of memorable peers to take to the skies and defeat a common enemy all the while navigating themes of love, friendship, and coming-of-age in the face of adversity. The legendary soundtrack, featuring hits like Kenny Loggins’ Danger Zone and Berlin’s Take My Breath Away, adds to the film’s enduring legacy, as do the awe-inspiring aerial displays that continue to captivate audiences to this day. Top Gun was a juggernaut at the US box office and its significance reverberated through the cultural landscape; as director Tony Scott noted, ‘its influence can be seen in everything from fashion to music to politics”. The movie even had a profound impact on a new generation of navy pilots, who were encouraged to follow in the footsteps of Maverick and pursue their dreams of flying!

DIE HARD 2 (1990)

Taking place on Christmas Eve precisely two years after the thrilling events of Die Hard, Renny Harlin’s 1990 sequel sees Bruce Willis reprise his iconic role as L.A.P.D police officer (now lieutenant) John McClane who once again finds himself inadvertently embroiled in a gripping high stakes siege. Harlin’s film replicates the singular location of its predecessor, transplanting the action from a towering skyscraper to Washington Dulles Airport where McClane races against time to stop a group of merciless terrorists hell-bent on freeing General Ramon Esperanza (Franco Nero), a despotic drug lord in the process of being extradited to the United States. Fighting against ruthless foes and distrusting airport police and military personnel, McClane uses his signature ingenuity and quick wit to prevent imminent catastrophe as the fate of thousands of aeroplane passengers, including his wife, hangs in the balance. While much of Die Hard 2’s action occurs within Washington Dulles Airport, as the film reaches its electrifying crescendo, McClane emerges onto a snowy runway, battling Colonel Stuart (William Sadler) in a gratifyingly memorable fight sequence on the wings of Esperanza’s escaping plane. Surpassing the monumental success of Die Hard was no mean feat but Harlin’s sequel achieved just that, proving even more popular with cinema-goers, amassing double the earnings of its predecessor and ranking as the 7th highest-grossing picture of 1990. Yippee Fly-yay!

EXECUTIVE DECISION (1996)

The hijacking of a passenger airliner by a group of terrorists with a vendetta against the United States forms the basis for Stuart Baird’s 1996 aviation thriller, Executive Decision. The film concerns expert intelligence consultant Dr. David Grant (Kurt Russell) and his team of specialists faced with the daunting task of infiltrating a hijacked plane and halting a terrorist plot to unleash a deadly nerve gas over Washington D.C. In classic action movie fashion, matters are complicated further when they discover a bomb aboard, heightening the severity of the threat as Russell and his cohorts race against time to defuse the bomb and save the day. Boasting a star-studded cast including Steven Seagal, John Leguizamo, and Halle Berry, Executive Decision touches on concepts of bravery, selflessness, and the fight against terrorism while adding innovative ideas to the well-traversed hijacked aircraft scenario via the team’s daring infiltration of a passenger plane. Russell’s reluctant hero is easy for audiences to root for and the surprising and untimely death of Seagal’s Lieutenant Colonel Austin Travis brings gravitas to proceedings, considerably raising the film’s already high stakes.

AIR FORCE ONE (1997)

When it comes to on-screen depictions of fictional US presidents, Harrison Ford’s President James Marshall ranks as one of the decided greats; a charismatic born leader and former Vietnam veteran who isn’t afraid to take decisive action when he discovers his flight aboard Air Force One has been hijacked by terrorists on a return trip home from Russia. Orchestrating a fake mid-air escape, Marshall must band together with his loyal crew to quash the terrorist threat while proving his political steel as a strong and capable leader deserving of the presidential office. Featuring an impressive cast that includes Glenn Close, William H. Macy and Gary Oldman as Ford’s adversary, Ivan Korshunov, Air Force One showcases the outstanding skill of Wolfgang Petersen at the peak of his directorial powers who deftly ratchets up the film’s nail-biting tension towards its thrilling climax. The film would prove to be one of the most successful action movies of the 1990s, grossing over 300 million dollars at the US box office, more than tripling its production costs. Ford’s memorably heroic performance — who else could deliver the now legendary “Get off my plane!” line with such earnest conviction — and Petersen’s masterful direction solidifies Air Force One’s status as one of the great action-thrillers of the 1990s.

SNAKES ON A PLANE (2006)

Born from a modest screenplay by university administrator, David Dalessandro, Snakes on a Plane went through several rewrites, revisions, and rejections over the course of a decade before news of its attention-grabbing title attracted interest from an ardent group of eager fans, snowballing into a full-blown internet phenomenon. Starring the inimitable Samuel L. Jackson as FBI agent Neville Flynn, Snakes on a Plane follows Flynn, an agent tasked with escorting and protecting a high-profile witness who must fly from Hawaii to Los Angeles to testify against ruthless mob boss, Eddie Kim (Byron Lawson). As the film’s title more than alludes to, all hell breaks loose when one of Kim’s goons releases a crate of venomous snakes on the outbound flight, wreaking havoc on a multitude of colourful and unsuspecting passengers and crew. As the snakes infiltrate every nook and cranny of the cabin, dispatching its occupants in various gruesome ways, Samuel L. Jackson’s Flynn utters the now infamous line which has gleefully come to define David R. Ellis’ film. A film without pretension, Snakes on a Plane leans into its B-Movie trappings proudly, effortlessly establishing its rightful place in the pantheon of cult cinema while simultaneously kickstarting the craze for a plethora of tongue-in-cheek creature features in the latter half of the 2000s and beyond.


Lionsgate UK presents Plane on premium digital now | our review


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