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STEPHEN'S MOVIE GUIDE

Airborne  

Review: written 2nd December 2012

Limp thriller which doesn't take off

It's a stormy night, and one last plane gets away from a London airport, to head out across the Atlantic with only a few passengers on board. However, it proves to be an unfortunate mix when things start to go wrong, people start to go missing and blood starts to flow... could the mysterious Chinese vase in the hold be anything to do with it? Ok, so there are two main problems here. Credibility, and budget. When we see the air traffic control centre in the airport, we know there's a problem, with its tiny room and sets all but looking like they will wobble if you lean on them. When a busy London airport is closing down and there aren't hundreds of passengers trying to find somewhere to sleep until their flight can leave, or lining up at airline customer support desks, but only the few people getting on this plane and no-one else, we know there is a problem. Indeed, the look of the film does suffer somewhat by looking 'made for TV'-ish. Even the stars of the movie are actors who are not exactly at their peak - Mark Hamill has a terrific reputation as voice over artist, but when was the last starring role you saw him in that wasn't Star Wars..? And it's a shock to see Julian Glover delivering hammy exposition.. "well, I always thought it was a legend, but the story goes that.." etc. And the effects - there's not many, but when they do appear they're pretty underwhelming. Slightly glowing eyes is not enough to spark terror somehow.

It's a relatively novel idea and I wanted to like it, a good claustrophobic thriller with supernatural element. I relished the build up, and overlooked the absurdity of it and the budget feel, feeling sure the story would suck me in - there are, after all, some decent actors here and it's only on screen for 78 minutes so theoretically should hardly outstay its welcome. Alas, with no support from the scriptwriters or effect artists the actors just don't have enough to chew on. There are some minor surprises along the way, but nothing so notable as to keep your attention from drifting. There is certainly blood, and plenty of it, and you can feel the director trying his hardest to wring some tension out of some scenes to build up to a decent jump... but he doesn't quite pull it off.

It's not exactly that it's an embarrassing effort for anyone involved, but as a thriller or as a supernatural movie, sorry, it just won't fly.





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