Air Panic (2002)

Get Ready For a Ride That You’ll Most Likely Forget.

I took today as another opportunity to rid myself of another movie in my Netflix instant queue of questionable origin.  The only thing I could guess caused me to put this movie in my queue was Kristanna Loken being in it, but it’s not like her involvement hasn’t come back to bite me before.  As best I could tell by looking at it, it is just a dumb action/thriller that no one knows and no one cares about, but I’m going to review it anyway.  This movie is either called Air Panic or Panic depending on where you look, written by Jace Anderson, directed by Bob Misiorowski, and starring Rodney Rowland, Kristanna Loken, Alexander Enberg, Ted Shackelford, Barbara Carrera, Scott Michael Campbell, Tucker Smallwood, Billy Sly Williams, and David Bowe.

Commercial airlines have been falling out of the air for no known reason.  FAA system analyzer Neil McCabe (Rodney Rowland) believes he’s figured out that the problem is a computer hacker that reprogrammed the autopilot chips to allow him access, and he’s using that access to ventilate some buildings with the airliners.  But his bosses at the FAA have decided it’s a terrorist organization called Red Dawn … or the pilot flew the plane into a building because he was watching Red Dawn … I don’t really remember.  Either way, Neil figures out that a plane that’s about to leave will probably have this problem and is headed to Washington D.C.  He manages to get the plane stopped temporarily, but it starts to go on its own anyway.  He gets onto the plane with the help of the flight attendant Josie (Kristanna Loken) and succeeds in getting himself trapped on the plane with the rest of the people, and in the hands of the maniacal Cain (Alexander Enberg).

Am I the only person that has a Netflix instant queue full of movies I have no reason to watch?  This is not a good movie (as I’m sure we all expected) and a lot of things in the movie are to blame.  I feel compelled, though, to point out that this wasn’t a painfully bad movie, and I think movies like Thankskilling and Monsturd have ruined my ability to call laughably stupid movies bad.  This movie is earnest in its attempt, but it fails all over.  Let’s start with the poorly conceived story.  The story of this movie was so full of plot holes that I was actually having trouble taking notes because I couldn’t type fast enough to finish one thought before another would come up.  The first thing that occurred to me was when a character called the three planes that went down around the country “the worst disaster in aviation history” even though I had seen that this movie either came out in 2001 or 2002.  I have a vague recollection of a bigger one around that time.  I suppose it’s understandable that this movie got made anyway because it was probably already filmed by the time 9/11 happened and they’d have to put it out eventually to try to make any amount of money from the picture.  When the people are loading onto the plane, they do their best to try to shove backstory and emotional attachment down our throats as quickly as possible, showing the girl drop her pictures because she’s flying to go see her sick father, showing the Indian family with the father that’s a doctor that has a hard time spending time with his wife and son.  This is even supposed to be Josie’s last flight before retirement.  Movies like this are probably the reason I’m so afraid to quit a job.  Something horrible will happen every time.  Speaking of horrible, how bad was Neil’s idea to get onto the plane that he knew was going to crash?  I’m all for trying to save lives and everything, but I’ll do what I can from the ground.  It’ll hurt less if I fail that way.  I’ll be bummed out, but somewhat happy that I’m still able to be bummed out.  Early on in the movie, I got annoyed with how everyone on the plane needed the situation explained to them 3 or 4 times individually before they got their brains around what was going on.  I assume it was to fill some time or something.  One of the early ones was when the copilot was belittling Neil, saying that no one could possibly take control of the airplane with computers, even though the plane had just taken off on its own while the pilot and copilot tried to stop it.  Just after that, when the passengers started panicking, they would not stop asking what was going on over and over, even though it had been explained.

When they got tired of showing they were stupid by needing the situation explained to them over and over, they found other ways to prove their stupidity.  The pilots seemed completely useless in the movie.  They had apparently no ability to fly a plane without the autopilot, so they couldn’t live without the computer that was being controlled by a madman.  If pilots are actually that useless, why are they even there?  At one point, the bad guy says that this flight will be one they’ll never forget.  I beg to differ.  If it goes the way you plan, then they’ll be dead.  I’d argue that they don’t remember things so well when they’re dead.  When Neil was working on taking control of the autopilot, he took out his computer and used his cell phone to communicate with his buddies at the FAA.  The stupid thing about that is that one of the flight attendants told him he couldn’t use his cell phone, obviously just being used to telling people they can’t use electronics on the flight, but why don’t you shut your mouth?  I think the guy knows what he’s doing.  When he actually got in contact with his boss, Keller, the guy has the nerve to say, “I’m glad you’re up there.”  Fuck you, man!  I understand that you mean there’s a chance I’ll be able to save the day, but you just said you were glad that I could potentially die in the near future.  I’m glad you have cancer, asshole!  A lot of the graphics involved with the movie were expectedly poor.  It looked like they took most of the visuals out of Microsoft Flight Simulator.

The performances often brought their own stupidity to the movie.  Rodney Rowland and Kristanna Loken didn’t really do anything that bothered me, so I’ll let them off the hook.  Ted Shackelford as Captain O’Kelly did something nice and stupid when he was talking about the job Josie was supposed to be heading to after her last day.  To prove himself an old white guy, out of touch with the day’s youth, he said that she was off to sell “hippity hoppity” clothes that kids are wearing.  I don’t think anyone, no matter how out of touch, has ever said that accidentally.  If John Bishop was the guy with the fear of flying (I couldn’t figure out for sure) then he got on my nerves through the whole movie.  He was WAY overdoing it.  I’m sure there are lots of people that are afraid of flying, but I’ve never seen anyone freak out that much on a plane.  He freaks out so much that he makes a rush for the door to try to get off the plane when they’re still at cruising altitude.  Later, he succeeds.  Good work, buddy.  The only people that died on that flight were because of you.  Gulshan Grover did a fine enough job as the doctor, but it was a little convenient that there was a doctor on board in the first place.  It was like in Airplane!, but I would also recommend you not call him whatever the Indian version of Shirley is.  His kid was often irritating to me though.  He acted like he was autistic or something, but they never said he was supposed to be.  Billy Sly Williams got on my nerves often as Ray because he was just being an over the top douche for no reason through the entire movie.  It seemed like he was trying to start a riot on board or something by walking out of first class and saying everyone was gonna die, and then he spent the rest of the flight complaining that he paid for a first class ticket and shouldn’t have to sit in coach just because the injured pilot was being cared for in the first class area.  I’m sure, if you survive this flight, they’ll give everyone their money back, so why don’t you shut up before I tape you to the guy that’s so afraid of flying that he’ll inevitably jump out at 30,000 feet.  Alexander Enberg never really worked as far as I was concerned, which was unfortunate because he was the main antagonist of the movie.  His portrayal of Cain looked like Balki from Perfect Strangers if he was playing Two-Face from the Dark Knight.  He never managed to pull off intimidating in the movie, and sometimes just mustered goofiness.  I also thought his little chair was goofy because the one joystick on it was able to control the airplane, set off explosives, and even make Julienne fries.  On a side note, does anyone know what the hell Julienne fries are?  Anyway, I thought it was funny that Cain couldn’t leave well enough alone as most villains can’t.  After Neil safely landed the plane and got the slightly injured Josie in an Ambulance, he was in the driver’s seat (with his trusty joystick, I might add).  Then that shit turned into a temporary Road Panic!  And then he died and the movie was over.

There’s really no reason to watch Air Panic.  I didn’t even have a reason to watch it, but I did and now you don’t have to.  The story is full of plot holes and annoyances, the look leaves something to be desired, and the greater majority of the performances were lackluster.  I don’t know why I watched it, and I don’t know why you would watch it.  So don’t bother.  Air Panic gets “The second worst disaster in aviation history” out of “With Bronson Pinchot as Two-Face.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook and Twitter.  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

BloodRayne (2006)

Would You Stop Throwing Things at me?

On a day when most people are going out to see the Avengers, I chose to watch three movies spawned by Uwe Boll, a man whose top rated movie on Rotten Tomatoes pulls down a whopping 11%.  I say this only as proof that I make poor decisions.  In actual fact, I was simply unable to go and see Avengers on the opening day and will be putting it off until next week.  My anger over this leads me to want to take it out on some movies I know to be super shitty.  No better place to look than an Uwe Boll movie for super shittiness.  The man who is potentially the worst director of our time and the Ed Wood of our decade has hurt me more than many others by not only making shitty movies, but making them out of properties I was fond of from the video game world.  Today’s movie is one of these movies.  This movie is BloodRayne, written by Guinevere Turner, directed by Uwe Boll, and starring Kristanna Loken, Ben Kingsley, Michael Madsen, Matthew Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Billy Zane, Will Sanderson, Meat Loaf, and Geraldine Chaplin.

Rayne (Kristanna Loken) is a half human, half vampire, all carnival attraction known as a Dhampir.  She is the spawn that resulted from the Vampire King Kagan (Ben Kingsley) raping her mother, and then later killing her.  She escapes from the carnival when one of the workers tries to rape her and takes it upon herself to kill a lot of the people on the way out.  But at least she gets a sweet pair of swords out of it.  This gains the attention of three members of the vampire hunting group called the Brimstone Society and Sebastian (Matthew Davis), Vladimir (Michael Madsen), and Katarin (Michelle Rodriguez) set out to find her.  With some advice from a fortune teller, Rayne sets off to find an eye, a rib, and a heart that belonged to a powerful vampire named Belial so that she can face and defeat Kagan.

Fuck you, movie.  And fuck you, Uwe Boll!  It’s no surprise to anyone that’s seen some of his movies that Uwe Boll is a terrible filmmaker.  What can surprise is how much his terribleness can seep into everything around him, making ideas that were good into shit and making actors that were great forget how to act completely.  There is scarcely anything within this movie that could stand as a reason for anyone to watch it ever.  The story of the movie is dumb and disjointed.  It’s been quite some time since I last played a BloodRayne game, but as far as I can remember, this movie has nothing to do with those games.  The only thing in common is that it stars an attractive lady vampire named Rayne.  Then it’s a bit of origin story which turns into a training thing with some junk about finding body parts of an old dead vampire.  You won’t be interested in any of it.  A lot of what Uwe tends to do is realize after the fact that either the scene does not really explain what was going on or the people that would be willingly watching this movie are stupid so he adds in some ADR dialogue over the scene to try to explain it, whether the person’s mouth is moving or not.  He does this early on when people are riding their horses through a scene and some really bad ADR is talking over the scene and even worse later when a guy is examining someone and says, “He’s dead,” even though his lips aren’t moving.  The dialogue is just as bad as the rest of the story.  There’s one part where someone is telling Rayne that, “Dhampirs are rarely the happy product of a vampire and a human,” and Rayne yells, “You lie!” at her.  So, wait…  Are you trying to make the argument that they ARE mostly from happy relationships, or did you just think this was the best time to get indignant even though you weren’t listening to me?  They also get phrases wrong, like when Katarin says something is a “bitter threat”.  The threat isn’t bitter, lady.  The threat doesn’t have emotions.  You may have a bitter ENEMY, or even just a terrible threat, but … oh what’s the point.  You’re dumb.  There’s also a lot of stupid going on in the movie, like when we cut from one scene to a random bit of Kagan biting a random young girl, then just moving on.  This girl never comes back into the story and the scene served no purpose.  It was almost like they didn’t believe that we believed them when they said that Kagan was a vampire so they had to prove it.  And how is it that, in bad movies, guards will kill anybody unless it serves the story for the people to get captured?  Sebastian and Vladimir had gone into a pile of enemies with their swords drawn and started killing them, but then let themselves get overtaken and they were captured, even though Kagan had given no orders to take them prisoner.  But don’t worry: this is an action movie!  Oh wait … the action is crap too.  There was no evidence that anyone tried to choreograph these fights at all.  They just gave the actors some fake swords and told them to get in there and swing them.  But all of the actors swung the swords as if they were really worried about hitting someone with the fake swords.  I understand that, but you’re in a movie.  You at least have to make it LOOK like you want to kill your opponent.  The sex scene is the only reason I can think of to legitimately watch this movie, but only because Kristanna Loken is hot and she has nice boobs.  The sex and the romance come completely out of left field.  I guess they could’ve fallen in love because they’d both lost their parents, but I think that would’ve just made me mad if I was Rayne.  She says that her mom was killed by Kagan and Sebastian comes back with BOTH of his parents were killed.  Alright, I guess you win the sob story game, you son of a (dead) bitch.  The ending also pisses me off, but I’m not going to waste my time putting up spoiler alerts.  I don’t want you to watch this movie.  The ending was vaguely reminiscent of the first Conan movie because Rayne is the only person still alive at the end, so she sits down on Kagan’s throne as the camera zooms slowly into her face.  Then we start cutting to various random scenes that were particularly violent from the rest of the movie, as if the movie was going to start over, but in slow motion and even more annoying.  I was about to open up my wrists until I realized that it wasn’t starting over.  But, as I think about it, maybe the ending fits the movie.  Nothing suits a terrible movie better than a terrible ending.

The ambience of the movie was also mostly crap.  The settings and the costumes were the only things that I wouldn’t judge too harshly … for the most part.  Rayne’s outfit pissed me off though.  Not at first, though.  I liked her original outfit.  It looked like it did in the game.  It was skintight and sexy.  Near the end of the movie, they present her with a new, and vastly inferior, outfit.  It looked to be leather, but looked pre-worn and really dirty, even fresh out of the wrappings it came in.  And the pants seemed to have been sized for an aging soccer mom as they did not fit snugly to Kristanna’s beautiful ass.  The weapons all looked really awful too.  Most of them were really fakey swords, a couple didn’t even look like any decent sword design, and they never captured Rayne’s signature swords.  They were close in the beginning, but then she breaks them and they’re replaced with ones that are just pieces of metal that were clearly rounded on the tips, so as to be not much more effective than fighting with butter knives.  Boll also doesn’t have a terribly good grasp on how to make sound work for a movie.  Screams sounded goofy when they should’ve been emotional, impactful musical stings were noticeably absent on scenes where they would have helped sell the emotion of a scene, and none of it sounded good.  It’s the kind of thing you don’t really pay attention to until you see it done really poorly, so you definitely notice it here.

I think you’ve all gotten the general idea of this review already, so it comes as no surprise to you that the performances were crap as well.  And that is even more tragic because they had some great actors in this movie that gave the worst performance of their lives.  I’m not talking about Kristanna Loken, of course.  She’s not known for her acting.  She’s known for the sexy.  She brings that much to some parts of the movie, especially her uncomfortable tits-out sex scene.  Her best performance to date was definitely Terminator 3 because she didn’t have to speak.  She delivers lines poorly and never really brings emotion, like when she says, “I WILL stand a chance against Kagan.”  It’s hard to explain it here, but the emphasis was on “will” so it seemed like it should have preceded a statement of more confidence like, “I WILL kill the living bejesus out of Kagan.”  It doesn’t really sound right when it’s more akin to, “I WILL give it a shot, but probably die.  Please don’t make me do this!”  Ben Kingsley is exactly the kind of person who shocks me with his performance in this.  This guy won an Academy Award!  He was in Schindler’s List!  …AND BloodRayne!  Why?!  He gives a thoroughly unimpressive performance to this movie as well.  It made me wonder if they just said, “Why bother?  Uwe wouldn’t know a good performance if I hit him over the head with the Academy Award I won for doing it.”  I would say Michael Madsen would fit into that category as well.  I’ve seen him be amazing in movies before.  I’ve also seen him not impress before.  He went with that one for this movie.  I laughed really hard at one point where he was running up the stairs with Matthew Davis in tow and an enemy jumped out of the door, basically onto Madsen.  Madsen just kept going as if it hadn’t happened, because Davis was the one that was supposed to kill this guy that clearly just popped through the door a couple of seconds too early.

BloodRayne is an awful movie.  Uwe Boll did the majority of the terribleness in this thing, offering up a horrible and disjointed story that has little to do with the source material while simultaneously displaying his ineptitude behind the camera by allowing lame fights, awful acting, and terrible everything get captured onto film.  The only thing in this movie worth seeing is Kristanna Loken’s boobs, but you can live without them.  They’re not that nice.  Plus, you can just Google that.  You could stream this movie on Netflix but … wait … No you can’t!  You are not allowed to stream this movie!  I forbid it!  If you want to make fun of a movie, any Uwe Boll movie sets you up for plenty of that.  And, if you want to get into making movies, you will realize that you can do it so much better than someone that actually makes money doing it right now.  BloodRayne gets “I would sooner rot in your dungeon than sit at your table” out of “Your form is weak, lacking passion.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook (Robert T. Bicket) and Twitter (iSizzle).  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.