Ever heard of the Streisand Effect? It’s a phenomenon when someone tries to cover something up, it unintentionally attracts more attention to the thing they’re trying to keep hidden. Basically, the harder someone tries to hide something, more and more people will want to see what all the hubbub is about. The Streisand Effect kind of applies to the recent action movie Plane when it comes to its showing in the Philippines, the country where I live. That’s because Plane received a “soft ban” in the Philippines when several senators denounced the film for showing the country in the bad light.
Well, with a ringing endorsement like that, how could I not track down a copy of Plane and see what’s all the fuzz is about? See, Streisand Effect!
By the way, even though Plane has been out for a while, there are bound to be some people, especially those who are living in the Philippines as they’re not showing it in theaters for now, who haven’t seen it. So I will still be making this a SPOILER FREE review… even though there’s technically nothing really to spoil.
Anyway, Plane stars Gerald Butler as Brodie Torrance, a commercial pilot assigned to flying a, you guessed it, plane. One of his passengers is Mike Colter’s character, Louis Gaspare, a fugitive being extradited to Canada to face homicide charges. Because of cost cutting measures, Brodie is ordered to fly straight through a storm to save on fuel costs. The storm does cause problems for the plane and it’s forced to crash land on an island that just so happens to be the home of the local Philippine insurgents. It’s now up to Brodie Torrance and Louis Gaspare to keep the passengers safe while the militia is trying to hunt them down.
There’s a little more to that in the grand scheme of things as there’s also the side story of the airline company trying to locate the crashed plane while also trying to spin the bad press as well as Brodie Torrance’s daughter just being plain fearful for her father. I had to mention these B-plots as they kind of break up the flow of the main story at awkward times. The weird thing is it would also be awkward to cut them out of the finished film because, while removing them would speed things along and keep the pace moving briskly, they are important to assisting Gerald Butler and Mike Colter’s characters as they try to find a way to get rescued.
Still, Plane is basically Gerald Butler’s movie as they’re the ones who do most work throughout the film. Mike Colter does start to figure in during the middle of the film but it’s still mostly Gerald Butler doing most of the action. I will say the action in Plane is pretty well done. Weirdly enough, the tensest scene in Plane comes at the start when they have to set the plane down with no power in complete darkness. That’s not to say the other action scenes aren’t good.
As I said, this is basically Gerald Butler and Mike Colter’s movie and it really shows when it comes to the development of the rest of Plane’s cast of characters. I guess the flight crew got enough screentime but they hardly did anything at all. Come to think of it, the airline company board room seemed to do more than the crew, which is weird since, you know, I’m supposed to worried about the people who are stranded on the island. Speaking of which, I couldn’t care less for the passengers in Plane. They tried to give a couple of them some personality traits, like be ultra demanding or something like that. Yet none of them really do anything to make me care if they get rescued or not. They’re just there to be rescued and nothing more.
I do have to talk about the villains of Plane as they’re the reason why the local government decided not to show it in the Philippines in the first place. They’re essentially based on a real group of insurgents based on the actual island the film is set in. They’ve been known in the past to have pretty much done the same things as shown in Plane, which is kidnap foreigners and hold them for ransom under the threat of death. So I actually had no problem with the depiction because, well, I hate to say it, it’s generally true.
There’s also the allegation of how poorly the Philippine Army is portrayed as it’s mentioned they’re afraid to even try landing on the island because of how scary the rebels are. Now, I cannot attest to how realistic this is but, honestly, it’s a movie! Not only that, it’s a dumb action movie you’re not really supposed to take seriously! Sure, there’s some nugget of truth there with how the insurgents are but I don’t think it would be a fun escapist film if the Philippine Army swooped in, wiped out the bad guys and rescued the hostages lickedy-split! What would Gerald Butler and Mike Colter do then? If you can’t tell, I think the government is overreacting to this.
So, how that part of the Philippines is portrayed in Plane isn’t the biggest problem I have with the movie. My actual biggest problem with the film is how it ends. At a very speedy 107-minute runtime, including credits, Plane ends very abruptly. We do get a general resolution but we don’t get to see the little details regarding what happens to, well, pretty much all of the characters afterwards. As this is a SPOILER FREE review, I can’t dive into what I mean by that. But let’s just say they really needed to just spend a couple of minutes showing what happened to Mike Colter’s character.
I only knew about Plane thanks to the controversy of the Philippine government banning its showing here. I only watched it because of the Streisand Effect compelling me to go see it, by hook or by crook. So, in an offhand way, I have to thank the Philippine government for recommending the film to me. Plane is a fun but dumb action movie. It’s the kind of movie you just have to turn off your brain or else you’ll be bothered by the lack of personality from the supporting cast. It’s nothing special but it is enjoyable while you’re watching it.
Have you seen Plane? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below!