Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Old-School Forgotten Sequels: The Concorde- Airport '79

How can you tell when a series has been whored out?  A good way is to see that the only connections are a shared setting and one star.  Mind you, that star is not playing the same role in every film- he's just in them.  A second is when you begin to pile on the ridiculous moments.  At the point when the Disaster Film was beginning to die, this film came out and helped put a pile of dirt on the coffin.  Yes, for the purposes of the analogy, I bury people alive.  Plus, I do it in real life.  This film, like Beyond the Poseidon Adventure, was the mecca of stars in random, tiny roles.  Unfortunately, as the FOURTH Airport film, the pickings were a little slim.  This meant that they couldn't get Slim Pickens- zing!  The movie stars Alain Delon (a famous French actor), George Kennedy, Robert Wagner, David Warner, Eddie Albert and Charo.  Wow, they were desperate!  The movie involves, well, a Concorde jet and chaos that would ensue.  That's simple enough, I guess.  Get out your tiny bomb for my review of...
The film begins with preparation for a Concorde jet to take of.  Wow, you don't waste any time, huh?  We don't get much time to meet our cast either.  The Captain is Kennedy, his co-pilot is Delon and the Engineer is Warner.  I hope that there are no sliding panes of glass on board, David!  The flight goes well for a bit until they hit some bad air and are forced to land suddenly.  This segues into a news story featuring a reporter who looks like she would go on to turn into a werewolf on live television.  For some unknown reason, they cut to a story about a company who has made a remote control missile.  Is this the least subtle Chekov's Gun ever?  By the way, voice cameo by Spinal Tap and Simpson's star Harry Shearer as an unseen reporter telling the story.  Since we skipped it before, the film felt the need to introduce all of the characters and back-story now.  Kennedy is a widowed, hard-worker, while Delon is a smooth pimp (more on that later).  In addition, the lady reporter is having an affair with a man (Wagner), who apparently has some nefarious schemes in mind.  A man shows up at her door, only to be shot by another man moments later.  The guy is a terrible shot, so she manages to escape and board the plane.  Oh good, now you're just endangering all of the other passengers with you?  At least there aren't a bunch of Russian athletes on board whose death would set off a nuclear war.  There are?  Oh shit...
If you wanted to see goofy, you came to the right place.  Amongst the passengers are an old singer, J.J. Walker (aka the 'Dy-no-mite' guy) and a Russian athlete bringing his deaf daughter on board.  Tell me there's not a patient waiting for an organ transplant and said organ is on board, at least.  I've got to stop doing that to myself!  To silence the woman with evidence against him, Wagner and his group of evil people fire their missile at the plane in an attempt to take it down.  This leads to an aerial chase and dodge sequence that is alright, but nothing special.  The digital effects are alright, but the objects always look pasted onto the aerial shots, as opposed to actually moving.  This chase is ridiculous too, as they do all they can to avoid the heat seeking missile.  They even come up with the ridiculous plan of flying upside down and having Delon fire a flare out the open window!  I can't express in words how bizarre and illogical that is!  It doesn't work, either, as they manage to fire the flare inside of the ship inside!  They eventually do the 'cut off the engine' trick to dodge the missile and fly into Paris.  After this, the crew and passengers get off for their stop.  Yes, that's what would happen after an event like that!  Kennedy and Delon unwind with a double date, which ends well for Kennedy.  Unfortunately, he learns that his date was a prostitute...which he has no problem with.  Oh yeah, someone puts a bomb on the plane too.
The final part of the trip goes off without a hitch.  The trip is smooth, the air is clean and the banter is strong.  Well, except for the part where the bomb goes off and opens up the lower part of the hull.  I probably should mention that part, huh?  The usual chaos ensues- panic, yelling and shaking of the set.  It wouldn't be a disaster film without the set shaking, would it?  This is a very tense and dramatic finale, except that you've seen it three other times.  Plus, you know that the people won't die.  The plane crashes into the mountain and the rescuers come.  As the people exit the plane, the movie abruptly ends.  Who wanted sub-plots to be resolved?  The End.
This movie...is also not good.  The plot is pretty generic, which is what happens when you come upon your fourth 'airplane disaster' film within about five years.  I get that these movies did well, but there should be a limit on these things!  Hell, just throw in Godzilla or something.  Throw me a damn bone!  Most of the characters exist merely to pull at your heart strings and pad out the run-time.  Does J.J. Walker really add anything to the story?  No.  Good try though, movie.  The special effects are alright, but nothing special.  Like I said, they feel really cheap sometimes.  Nothing is all that funny though, so it's not really a film you'd watch for that.  That said, if you've seen Airplane and/or Airplane II, you'll find some laughs at the movie's pile of cliches.  If you want to see the source of the more direct cliches though, watch Airport '75 or Airport '77.  The whole 'bomber' plot from Airplane II: The Sequel comes right from one of those films.  I will say this: if you ever wanted to see a film starring a famous, French actor and the partner from Naked Gun films, this is probably the only one.
Next up, what happens when you make a sequel to Cold War comedy that nobody remembers?  You get a film that's even more obscure and esoteric, of course!  Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. Ha ha ha I loved your review!!!
    Great trash movie - i really love trashy disaster movies from the 70's and 80's. They should make AIRPORT 2010 or AIRPORT 5 - would be awesome!