Phil's Review of Passenger 57
The film that turned Snipes from a drama/comedy actor into a fully fledged action hero, at the same time securing his place alongside other action icons in the action man hall of fame.
Man this is so damn cheesy you'd think it was an old early 90's...oh. This is what you might call a thoroughly standard yet thoroughly enjoyably predictable action romp. Its not suppose to be anything overly realistic or overly serious, its pure and utter popcorn trash that spewed out over and over during the 80's and early 90's. A good comparison today would be the new films 'White House Down' and 'Olympus Has Fallen'.
The plot is very bog standard, text book action formula. Master terrorist Charles Rane (Bruce Payne...hey that rhymes!) is being transported in an airliner to LA to stand trial. Along the way his evil henchmen and woman (Elizabeth Hurley folks! yep I forgot about that too) seize control of the plane, free Rane and begin their plan to...actually I'm not sure, escape somewhere I presume. Its now up to Snipes to kickbox his way through all the bad guys and save the day.
Is it REALLY a spoiler if I tell you he manages this? didn't think so. Yep from here on the film takes all the usual routes you would expect, admittedly there is a small surprise when the plane lands and the action spills out into a fairground but that kinda dampens the thrills for me.
In all honestly 'Executive Decision' did this much much better years later in 1996, but that film didn't have the growling face of thunder that is Bruce Payne. This guy steals the show every time, even in B-movie trash he can make turds shine. Not only is his hair a fantastic mullet of epic 80's proportions but he just has that face, that evil devilish smirk and those sly eyes, plus he kinda looks like Matthew McConaughey. Snipes is also solid but doesn't really add much to his character that we haven't see over and over ever since. But he's buff, likeable and for the time a breath of fresh air, plus he could do martial arts which was different to the regular action heroes.
Just from looking at the films poster you know what to expect here straight away. Its classic 'Die Hard' type fluff which is great fun if totally lacking in any real substance. Payne saves the film from drudgery and his character dies in the most predictable and obvious way...you know how, they're all in a plane for gods sake.