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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Feb 15, 2023



AFTER SEAN CONNERY who gained fame as James Bond, Gerard Butler is the next Scottish actor to hit it big in Hollywood.  

First with “300” as leader of the hunky Spartans, then as Secret Service agent Mike Banning in the “Has Fallen” series: “Olympus”, “London”, “Angel” and soon, “Night Has Fallen”.  

In between, he does other lesser action potboilers like “Copshop”, “The Vanishing” and “Geostorm”. 

He now comes up with “Plane” and, as the title suggests, the movie is about a plane. 

It leaves Singapore and is forced to make an emergency landing in Jolo, Sulu after they were hit by lightning during a nasty storm right on New Year’s Eve.  

It so happened that the place where they landed is infested by dangerous local rebels who are used to hostaging foreigners for ransom. 

Gerard plays Brodie Torrance, the commercial airline pilot in charge of the beleaguered plane who miraculously lands it safely in the middle of a jungle road in Southern Philippines. 

The plane has 14 passengers and Torrance feels it’s his responsibility to protect them in hostile terriroty. 

The only one who can help him is an accused murderer, Louis Gaspare (Mike Colter, “Luke Cage”), who has been arrested in Singapore after hiding as a fugitive from the law for so many years. 

He’s now being extradited by the FBI and it turns out that he used to be a member of the French Foreign Legion, so he is an expert in combat.

As usual, Butler is the kind of go-for-broke hero that action fans root for. 

After saving the lives of his passengers from the storm and the ailing plane, he must then try to save them again from the Pinoy bandits who meant to take them all hostages for ransom and profit. 

And amazingly, he is not only great in gunfights but also a good telecommunication engineer who succeeds in making their plane work again. 

To make him more human, he is also a single dad who still mourns the death of his wife.  

“Plane” is pure popcorn action entertainment and we never doubt that Butler will succeed in his mission to rescue his passengers from Tagalog-speaking villains. 

We are told, in a short flashback scene, that he was relegated to playing nocturnal red eye routes from Asia after he once choked and subdued a drunk passenger who’s sowing mayhem inside his plane. 

The first part of the film is kinda slow as the plane is shown taking off and encountering problems with the uncooperative weather.    

But it picks up when the Pinoy bad guys appear and throttles away with a crazed energy until its thrilling conclusion.  

It has enough suspense-filled sequences and slambang shootouts to satisfy the fans of this kind of action genre.  

Butler is very committed to the role and partnered with Coulter as his serendipitous ally, they make a winning combination as unexpected buddies facing a life or death situation. 

Director Jean Francois Richet (French director best known for “Assault of Precinct 13” remake) knows how to keep the action moving and make it a great star vehicle for Butler in an old-school action flick mayhem that fits his no nonsense screen persona.

The high octane action sequences are fast paced and quite well choreographed, including the climactic sequence where a bad guy is deservedly hit and run over by a plane that is taking off the runway. 

"Plane" is the second Hollywood movie that used the Philippines as their setting, but both of them were actually filmed somewhere else. 

"Shotgun Wedding" was shot in the Dominican Republic while "Plane" was shot in Puerto Rico using some Pinoy actors speaking in Tagalog when the dialect they actually speak in Jolo is Tausug.