Passenger 57 1992 movie

Passenger 57 – That simple fun from the 90s we miss so much

As I often like to do, we go back to the old 90s (precisely 1992) when action movies maybe did not have the sparkling special effects of today, but Passenger 57 had at least the merit of never being too serious and letting the viewer enjoy without too many philosophical paranoia.

Obviously, it all starts with the arrest of a sadistic and dangerous terrorist, Charles Rane, caught while he was looking for a surgeon to have a new face and sent like a package by air to Los Angeles.

Unfortunately, the FBI has underestimated this maniac and his accomplices, who are willing to do anything to free him and, pretending to be passengers and flight personnel, manage to kill the eyes and take over the plane.

Their plan is simple: to hijack the flight to a foreign country without extradition, then leave behind the hostages’ corpses as a message to the authorities not to attempt to challenge them anymore.

But the ruthless handful of terrorists didn’t count the presence of a former federal agent, John Cutter, who now works as an air safety consultant.

With luck and skill, the man manages to react and then forces the plane to land, warning the authorities of the ongoing crime.

But the psychopath Rane obviously has no intention of ending in jail again, so he convinces the police that Cutter is a terrorist, slowing their intervention while refueling to take off again.

Taking time as negotiations open to free the hostages, Cutter must also act secretly against the will of his superiors to prevent a massacre.

Few words, many deeds

As a premise from the beginning, Passenger 57 is a classic movie with the signature of 1992.

It is full of adrenaline, fights, chases, and over-the-top dialogue for characters that are definitely stereotypical but in a fun and consistent way with this continuous and spectacular action.

The duel varies between the face-to-face (and hand-to-hand) between good and evil and the long-distance deceptions and manipulations, in which we certainly must not look for the psychological depth of the duets between Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling in Silence of the Lambs.

Yet in its essential simplicity, the predictable plot of adventure and heroism impregnates the spoon in a soup with ingredients that constantly satisfy the audience’s relish without boring and keeping high tension until the last minute.

This is a good result for director Kevin Hooks, who mainly has television training yet is handling the building of some exciting sequences for the cinema’s big screen.

The movie’s greatest strength lies in the dynamic performance of Wesley Snipes, who was at the peak of his fame then. His physical flexibility and charisma shine through in action movies and more challenging roles like Jungle Fever by Spike Lee or the dramatic epic gangster King of New York by Abel Ferrara.

As I always say, for every hero, it takes a villain up to the task, and the Englishman Bruce Payne is perfectly up to the task. He has a cool look and manages to be cruel in a fun way.

Even physically, the actor gets on with dignity against the martial arts expert Snipes, rolling spectacularly between kicks and fists flying among the plane passengers.

The violence is never exaggerated, so even the most delicate among you will enjoy the show without worrying about excessive blood that could annoy you.

The simple fun of action flicks

Besides the struggle between these two characters, the supporting cast also deserves attention for the presence of some actors, such as young Tom Sizemore, who is still in the early stages of his career.

Of course, the spotlight is mainly on Wesley Snipes, but in the small space he is given, the good Tom proves that he can also be a funny buddy movie comic sidekick.

Even less space is given to young Elizabeth Hurley, initially appearing to be just a beautiful stewardess but who we later discover is an accomplice (perhaps lover? not very clear) of the madman Rane, equally cruel toward the hostage passengers.

Equally entertaining is Ernie Lively as the obtuse sheriff who, for much of the time, does nothing but obstruct Snipes, except redeemed in a mad (and improbable) car chase of the plane to the grand finale.

Of course, these roles don’t offer great acting opportunities, and so I wouldn’t be too harsh, demanding Oscar-winning performances. But I wanted to give credit because even in these kinds of movies, there’s a need for these secondary characters, which are important in keeping the overall atmosphere of adventure from falling apart and keeping up the cheerful lightness that envelops the story.

The pace is very high without wasting time in unnecessary scenes, and the style of being a “Die Hard in an airplane” manages to thrill to the end. It also gives a hero like Snipes to the black community that will fly high from here on, reaching exaggerated blockbusters like Demolition Man or the vampire slayer Blade saga.

I almost wish that movies like “Passenger 57” from distant 1992, while not being who knows how extraordinary or memorable, were a little reminder to all producers: it’s often not essential to have a $100 million budget that you could break down into 10 movies like this one, making a lot more people happy and also giving little-known actors and directors a chance to emerge.

A classic 90's action packed with fighting, chases, and over the top dialogue for characters who are stereotyped in a fun way. #MOVIES
Amazon Prime Video
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