Saturday, November 20, 2010

Turbulence 2: Fear of Flying (1999)

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Tagline:

They took the wrong flight to cure their fear.

Back of DVD:

After an otherwise routine take-off, a violent episode of turbulence rips through the massive plane leaving passengers and crew disabled and a sadistic terrorist (Jeffrey Nordling) in control of the plane. As the terrifying flight unfolds, a nerdy aircraft engineer (Craig Sheffer) and the group's aspiring flight attendant (Jennifer Beals) make contact with an air traffic controller (Tom Berenger) in a desperate attempt to regain control of the plane.

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Movie Review:

I'll say off the cuff that I've not seen Turbulence. It stars Ray Liotta and received Razzie nominations for "Worst Actress" and "Worst Reckless Disregard for Human Life and Public Property". So with that ringing endorsement, I present to you the sequel Turbulence 2: Fear of Flying.

After a false start - a scared guy on a plane opens the hatch only to reveal to the audience that it's just a demonstration plane on the ground - we finally get on with the real flight proper, which happens to be filled with people who have a fear of flying. We see footage of some guys hands assembling what must be a bomb; the evil music playing in the background tells us this. We get a quick introduction to the passengers as they chat to each other before take-off and we are meant to believe that the sketchy-looking foreigners that get on the plane last are the obvious terrorist plot device for the movie.

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One by one, starting with the co-pilot, passengers start falling unconscious. Blame is quickly pointed at the sketchy foreigners, and like something out of Murder on the Orient Express a corpse is uncovered in the cupboard. Plenty of "What the hell is going on here?", "There are innocent people on this plane!" and "God help us." type lines abound. We're in by the books, made-for-TV land here folks.

Seen Passenger 57? Seen Executive Decision, or even the Michael Dudikoff rip-off, Executive Command? Then you've seen this. Turbulence 2 is pretty stock standard stuff. A mixed bag of flyers - cocky guys, annoying teens, old bats with heart problems - trying to not get killed by the crazy terrorists, occasionally trying to overthrow them with help from the cabin crew, and the smart guy who knows planes but has never flown one (Craig Sheffer), easily hacking into the communication system to talk with ground control who just happens to be Tom Berenger who has to help him land the plane. Oh and the terrorist has enough biological weapons stored in the cargo hold on the plane to take out a city block. Turbulence 2 was so tedious I've been putting off actually writing the review. This should have been review number 43 or something but here we are at 49, the sun is shining outside and I'm finally typing this up.

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That last line sounded pretty damning. Look, it's all right I suppose and if it was on TV again I would sit through it. But Christ is this an average movie. Nothing exciting really happens. The plot twist in the middle is obvious from the beginning. All the actors (a bunch of "that guy from the other thing" actors) do an acceptable, though completely uninspiring job. And poor Tom Berenger. He is SO BORED in this and it's a relief at the end of the movie when he finally leaves the tower and walks onto the tarmac. I could almost see the cue cards he was reading from, because he surely didn't try to memorise these lines, especially the endless technical jargon. Just another paycheck eh Tom. I guess Jeffrey Nordling isn't bad as a terrorist but he isn't manic enough. These movies only work when you get someone like John Malkovich playing the bad guy in a completely over-the-top fashion.

Theres about half a dozen false scares by using the old turbulence in bad weather plot device, if that wasn't obvious enough from the movie's name, that provide a few attempts for passengers to overpower the terrorists. That's about the limit of the action unfortunately, combined with a couple of gunshots and the death of one guy by Nordling who has knives literally up his sleeve. The Navy get involved somehow and are given orders to shoot the plane down with unconvincing CG missiles shot from a stock footage navy vessel. With the use of only two interior locations, and simulating turbulence by shaking the camera and filming people stumbling around the plane ala Star Trek, I estimate this movie's budget at a quarter of a million dollars - most of which went to the "star" Tom Berenger's fee and paying for the stock footage.

You've seen this. Maybe not with the title Turbulence 2: Fear of Flying, but you have and you know it, and you've seen it done far better. Nothing to see here, move along.

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The Video:

Reviewed the deleted R4 disc that has a bit soft but generally pleasing 16:9 picture and adequate sound. Runtime 97 minutes.

Sourced From:

Another $2 bargain from a closing video shop.

Trailer:

More Screens:

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6 comments:

  1. I thought this one was pretty decent, heck I actually liked it better then Executive Decision which IMO was about 30 minutes too long for it's own good. The first Turbulence wasn't that bad though, I always thought the razzies were a crock of shit as I usually enjoy the films that get nominated for them more then the films that get nominated for Oscars, Anyways I think Turbulence 3 will be more your thing, as it's alot more over-the-top then this film, some other terror-on-a-plane films you should check out are Sonic Impact, Air Rage, Air Marshall, Crash Landing, and Tail Sting.

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  2. I have Turbulence 3 on the rack, it was the first one I picked up out of the two. Honestly I thought this could have used 15 minutes shaved from it. You are right about the Razzies vs. Oscars - poor Uwe Boll got trashed by them but I enjoy his brand of schlock, especially the first Bloodrayne. Now THAT is a good modern "bad movie".

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  3. Agree with you about Uwe Boll. He makes fun, if silly movies. Only seen the first Turbulence though.

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  4. Plane movies seldom work, unless it's something amazing like Airplane. This sounds like a painfest, and one of those, "better you than me" jobbies, so I'm glad in this circumstance it was better you than me!

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  5. Eh, I honestly didn't care for Airplane that much.

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