Image Entertainment // 2012 // 78 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Jason Panella // October 19th, 2012
Come Die With Me.
Airborne could have been a great little flick. It's not.
On his last day before retirement, air traffic controller Malcolm (Mark Hamill, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope) sends one final plane into the air before a big storm hits. Shortly thereafter he loses contact with the plane, as the ragtag group of passengers start dying one by one. They'll quickly learn that bad things sometimes happen to good people.
What do you get when you take the tone of a classic The Twilight Zone episode, mix in elements of supernatural horror, and ensconce it in the framework of a locked-room mystery? You might get a great movie...or you might get something like British horror flick Airborne, which is at very least mercifully short.
Airborne starts with some tried and true genre conventions, introducing an eclectic and potentially interesting group of passengers, including: the old guy (Julian Glover, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade), the scowling badass (Craig Conway, Doomsday), the self-deprecating everyman (Simon Phillips), the secretive stewardess (Gemma Atkinson, Hollyoaks), and Alan Ford who is essentially recycling his role from Snatch. No doubt, there are some talented folks on the payroll all doing what they can with Paul Chronnell's script. The movie even takes steps towards making these characters more than potential murder victims, with some early dialogue that shows natural spunk.
There's even some hint of mystery when the plane gets off of the ground, but once the body count starts to rise Airborne jettisons any of the goodwill it built and spirals to a messy cliched finish. This makes the earlier attempts at character development feel like a ruse, or a way to kill time before the bloodletting. And it's not even good mayhem! Director Dominic Burns somehow manages to make the more violent second half of the film dull, compared to all of the talking that preceded it. Maybe this is intentional. A few pieces written about the movie seem to indicate that Airborne is meant to be taken with tongue firmly planted in cheek. Nice try, people! Even taking this at less than face value, the movie is still flavorless and just a huge drag.
What about Mark Hamill, you might ask? Mr. Hamill hasn't been in too many live-action films over the past few decades, instead focusing on an impressive number of voice-acting gigs in animated features. Sadly, his role here is little more than a glorified cameo. What's worse is that he seems to have an English accent switch that he turns on and off throughout the movie. If you're checking Airborne out solely to see Luke Skywalker on screen again, I suggest just waiting until Hamill gets a more substantial role.
Presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, with a Dolby 5.1 Surround mix The video and audio on this release are about as average as you can get, with no major flaws nor commendable points. There are no extras. Oh well.
Despite a promising take-off, Airborne glides to mediocrity.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Image Entertainment
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 78 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Not Rated