Five movies that really took off
Flight trauma makes for gripping plot lines in well-known films
Non-Stop has lots in common with other airplane action movies. There’s ticking clock suspense and lots of action; and the film is guaranteed to be missing from inflight viewing menus after its theatrical run.
Whether or not the thriller starring Liam Neeson as an air marshal caught in the middle of an extortion attempt soars to the top of the box office charts this weekend remains to be seen. So here are five high-flying sure-bets:
United 93 (2006)
Paul Greengrass produced, directed and wrote this rousing tribute to the passengers and crew aboard the United Airlines commercial aircraft that was hijacked during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The gripping story unfolds in distressing real time from the doomed flight’s take off. Greengrass engineers the docudrama dynamic so well that it makes the events almost unbearable to view.
Fear of flying folks might want to pass on the unnerving opening of this story of a commercial pilot (Oscar-nominated Denzel Washington) out of control. But be warned; the Robert Zemeckis film profile of a damaged drunk never lets up afterward. The compelling story of dysfunction as a scary fable comes with the impressive supporting cast of John Goodman, Don Cheadle and Melissa Leo.
Very loosely based on The Lady Vanishes, the intriguing thriller features a solid Jodie Foster who plays a grieving aircraft engineer returning to New York from Berlin with her daughter after her husband falls to his death from their apartment building roof. When the woman awakes from her sleep during the flight, she discovers her daughter is missing and things are not what they should be on board the aircraft.
Air Force One (1997)
This entertaining diversion was made for those who enjoy a little cheese on their popcorn movie. Hijackers seize the aircraft carrying U.S. President James Marshall (Harrison Ford) but he refuses to fasten his seatbelt. In fact, the president confronts the villains while his White House staff wonder if redecorating is in their future. Besides a solid Ford, there is Gary Oldman as the bad guy Ivan Korshunov and Glenn Close playing the very concerned Vice President Kathryn Bennett.
Passenger 57 (1992)
OK, so it’s a little bit far-fetched but back when Wesley Snipes was running and jumping with authority, this surprise hit ruled. Snipes plays a former cop-turned-airline security expert. He finds himself on a flight that thugs commandeer to free their crime boss transported by the FBI. Of course, the FBI dudes are taken out, so let the combat confrontations ensue.