Directed by Jean-François Richet from a screenplay by Charles Cumming and J. P. Davis, Plane is a satisfying shoot-’em up anchored by the charisma of Gerard Butler and Mike Colter who play their characters as the type of heroes you’d want on your side.
On New Year’s Eve, Trailblazer Airlines pilot Brodie Torrance (Butler) is scheduled to fly from Singapore to Honolulu. One of the 14 passengers is fugitive Louis Gaspare (Colter), who fled from a homicide charge. He is handcuffed and accompanied by an officer on his extradition. Although there’s a storm in their path, a Trailblazer manager suggests they fly above it rather than around it, a business decision to save the company money on fuel.
After the plane is struck by lightning, it loses power. Brodie is forced to land on an island in the South China Sea. Unfortunately, the transponder is damaged so the plane can no longer be tracked. Even worse, the island is run by Datu Junmar (Evan Dane Taylor), leader of a Philippines separatist group that has been able to stave off the country’s military.
In New York, Trailblazer Airlines executives are working on how to respond to the missing flight. They call in crisis manager Scarsdale (Tony Goldwyn). Aware of how dire the situation is among the islands where the plane could have landed, he sends in mercenaries knowing the Philippine government will be slow to act.
Discovering Louis’s military background, Brodie takes a chance and releases him. Together, they head into the jungle in search of help or a way to communicate their whereabouts. While away, Datu Junmar and his men take the crew and passengers hostage, intending to ransom them to their governments and likely murdering them as well. Although outmanned and outgunned, Brodie goes to rescue the people in his charge. Louis begrudgingly accompanies him.
While there’s not much depth to the story, Plane delivers action and thrills thanks to the work of Richet and his crew. The sequences of the plane crashing and attempting to take off will put the viewer on the edge of their seat. There are also a lot of good gunplay scenes, which grow more enjoyable as the movie progresses and the caliber of the weapons increases, working through guns and ammo that can shoot through vehicles up to rocket launchers. While the characters are also a bit shallow, the choices they make and motivations they have are believable and Butler and Gerard infuse them with enough heroism and likeability one can’t help rooting for them.
If action films are your thing, it is worth your time booking this Plane.