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‘…Plane is a straight-up, no-nonsense, gritty action flick that delivers plentiful thrills and spills…’

It’s a tough life for an action hero; Gerry Butler has stayed the course better than most, with his G-Base production company working hard to make sure that he’s always more than just muscle for hire. Instead, he’s had a run of successful movies that even the pandemic couldn’t throw a spoke into; Greenland and Copshop were two of his best since Den of Thieves. Keeping that quality control working for Butler is clearly important, and Plane has already doubled its budget at the box office, with some way to go; it’s still playing in several of his local Scottish picture-houses in the same week it arrives in our homes on premium digital.

I’d somehow missed Butler’s Plane on the big screen, but watching it on blu-ray gave me a chance to absorb what all the social media fuss was about; Plane is a straight-up, no-nonsense, gritty action flick that delivers plentiful thrills and spills. Glasgow legend Butler brings all his blue-collar vulnerability to the role of pilot Brodie Torrance, a Scottish RAF pilot who is tasked with getting a commercial airliner from Singapore to Honolulu via Tokyo. Hit by a bolt of lightning, Torrance manages to successfully crash land a plane full of panicking passengers on a remote island in the Philippines, but the authorities are slow to respond to the crisis. That comms lag proves important, because fugitive homicide suspect Louis Gaspare (Mike Colter) is also on the plane, and various forces are converging on the wreckage of the airliner to see what if anything is left of their prey…

Plane plays engagingly with whether Gaspare might be a baddie or not, but it hardly matters when Butler makes such a great old-school, deep blue hero; not only can he fly the titular plane like, erm, Denzel Washington in Flight, but he’s able to fight (and kill) the mercenaries who seek to take his passengers hostage as if he’s been training for this specific event since the 2014 Commonwealth Games ended. Director Jean-François Richet did a pro job on the Mesrine films, and proves equally adept with a slow burning, tense first hour, but also breaks out the guns and ammo to good effect for the climax.

To give it the compliment it deserves, Plane harks back to one of the very best action movies; Die Hard, in that the main character is a put upon, ordinary everyman who just happens to be good with machines and guns, and who has to fight his way out of an impossible situation to save the innocent if somewhat snivelling people he’s responsible for. That formula might sound easy to achieve, but many have tried and failed; a sequel featuring Colter’s character and entitled Boat has been mooted since Plane made land financially. And while there have been complaints that Plane has a negative portrayal of the Philippines, it would probably be more accurate to say that it offers a very positive view of Scotsmen; wily and resourceful, they take responsibility, are cool in a crisis, and don’t take any smash from nobody. So next time you fly, make sure you’ve got a Scot piloting your plane, because when it comes to sticking a tricky landing, gallus Gerry Butler is yer man.

Lionsgate UK presents Plane on premium digital 13 March 2023. Thanks for access.


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    • I’m not mad about that title either too vanilla for me. But this is very old school action, and its nice to see how well audiences reacted to this; I’m hearing reports about audience applause, which I always dig in the cinema!

    • It’s a big pair of shoes to fill, but it’s rare to have an everyman, ordinary Joe, blue collar hero fighting the fight because he’s boxed in and it’s the right thing to do. Audiences love this, but it’s rarely done well, and Plane deserves a watch because it evokes classic old school heroism. Give it a go!

          • But I’m lazy. Here me out.
            First, I have to download either from my private tracker site and wreck my upload/download ration (I use it for books mainly), OR I go to dodgy places and get slapped by my isp.
            Second, it’s downloaded. Now I have to transfer it to a thumb drive, put that in my bluray player and HOPE that there’s no cinavia on the file I downloaded (cinavia is an audio drm that cuts out audio if you aren’t authorized”) and then I have to hope that the encoding isn’t too new for my player.
            Oh, did I mention I have to walk all the way across the living room (all 6 steps) to plug the thumb drive in?

            It’s an exhausting process 😉 and most times I’d just rather go without…

            • There is no cure for laziness…probably better if they just stopped making films entirely so you don’t have to waste time thinking about them.

              • Yeah, I don’t do streaming on my laptop. I only watch movies on my tv and that’s only connected through my bluray player to the internet.

                It’s not so much a matter of liking, I just don’t care enough (or watch enough) to bother setting up a vpn.

    • Obviously it’s not that, but it is very good. Maybe you’ll see it on your 100th birthday…

  1. Definitely catch it on DVD, though I’m less impressed with Butler’s output thus far. Not sure he’s a good advertisement for Scottish ingenuity though seeing as he seems to always be involved in some kind of cock-up. Better not to get into such jams in the first place . . .

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