Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Two co-stars from the quintessential 80s sitcom, FAMILY TIES, are reunited in the latest exploitation epic from The Asylum, AIRLINE DISASTER (2010), and despite the implications of the unimaginative title, it's actually a fairly fun ride.

Homegrown terrorists in the form of neo-Nazis seize control of the prototype passenger jet Starquest, which happens to be piloted by the brother (Scott Valentine, MY DEMON LOVER, CARNOSAUR 3) of America's first female President, Harriet Franklin (Meridith Baxter). Their accomplices on the ground also kidnap the pilot's family and hold them as leverage. The lead hijacker (Geoff Meed, 6 GUNS, BUFFY) demands that the government release several of his neo-Nazi buddies from Federal prison or he'll crash the giant plane into a city. He doesn't know that there's a pretty Secret Service agent (Lindsey McKeon) hiding in the cargo hold waiting for her moment to act...

Surprisingly, AIRLINE DISASTER is a taut, reasonably fast-paced thriller that makes up for any lapses in plausibility with solid, B-movie performances, some sufficiently-interesting characters, decent plotting and better-than-average CGI effects. It kept reminding me - in a good way - of a 70s TV-movie knock-off of the AIRPORT films; all it would need is Lee Majors as the pilot, Henry Silva as the hijacker and Ernest Borgnine as the president, and it'd be perfect!

Still, Valentine, Baxter and Meed suffice, and McKeon is really quite good (her fight moves are very convincing). As noted above, the CGI effects are notably better than in most Asylum disaster flicks (I rather liked the retro-futuristic design of the Starquest jetliner), and Chris Ridenhour delivers another fine musical score. The Asylum should definitely keep director John Willis III around for a while: AIRLINE DISASTER is pretty goofy stuff, but it's never boring.

The Asylum's DVD is their traditional package, with a perfect 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer and Dolby 5.1 and 2.0 audio options. There's the usual "Making Of" featurette, a blooper reel, and a half-dozen trailers for current Asylum releases.

AIRLINE DISASTER is a decent little B-movie that delivers 90 minutes of non-taxing entertainment. It's not cinematic art, but it delivers what it promises. Worth a rental.

BUY: Airline Disaster (Ws Ac3 Dol)