Airborne Movie Review

Written by Joel Harley

DVD released by Chelsea Films


Directed by Dominic Burns
Written by Paul Chronnell
2012, 90 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 30th July 2012

Mark Hamill as Malcolm
Craig Conway as Luke
Billy Murray as Cutter
Sebastian Street as Agent Moss
Simon Phillips as Alan
Julian Glover as George






Flying is always a stressful experience, but never more so than in Airborne, in which bickering passengers find themselves attacked by every manner of threat possible – from armed hijackers to evil spirits, all the way through to a typically angry Billy Murray.



As a snowstorm churns in the skies above, a solitary passenger jet takes off. Its cargo: a number of foulmouthed, annoying individuals and one possibly cursed ancient artefact. As their flight reaches the point of no return, the passengers are beset by a series of grievous and unfortunate events. Several members of the group disappear without a trace while others are poisoned, bludgeoned and possessed to death, one after the other. On the ground, air traffic control attempts to make sense of what is happening and guide the plane back to safety. If anyone can do it, it's boss Malcolm – played by none other than Wing Commander himself, Mark Hamill.



Mark Hamill is the draw in a mostly British cast that includes Billy Murray (who these days seems to be in every single British horror movie out there), Craig Conway, Alan Ford and a number of other vaguely recognisable British TV figures. In what amounts to a 90 minute shouting competition, Ford (Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels) emerges the loudest. Andrew Shim is disappointingly awful as soldier Sam, his naturalistic style of acting not gelling at all with Airborne's unsubtle hybrid of comedy and horror. It's a shame, as Shim is a likeable personality in Shane Meadows' This Is England, but seems woefully out of his comfort zone here. Simon Phillips' Alan is the closest the film has to a lead, although he's by far the most irritating character in it. All in all, it's a collection of the people you'd least want to be trapped on a plane with.



Of course, the rest of the cast are chaff compared to its big name star, the great Luke Skywalker. Airborne is Mark Hamill's most recent work outside of playing the Joker in the Arkham Asylum games and Batman cartoons. His screen presence has been sorely missed, although Airborne may not have been the best outlet for his considerable talents. He's required to do little here than sit at a desk looking stern, stressed and, sadly, quite chubby. In the ultimate indignity for the man who fought Darth Vader and won, he loses a shouting match to Billy Murray. The force is not strong with this one.    

Much of the problem is due to a lack of any distinct threat. As the likes of Red Eye and Twilight Zone have proven, there's much fun to be had with midair horror. But Airborne tries to pack in too much at once – cockney gangsters, supernatural curses and hijackings (related, in part, to the cockney gangsters); all Airborne is missing is a Gremlin and President Harrison Ford. Furthermore, the tone veers uncomfortably between gangster, comedy and horror movie. The lack of focus leaves its relatively large cast all pulling in different directions. By the time Billy Murray storms into the room (did somebody call InjuryLawyers4U?) it's become impossible to care about the passengers' plight.

Annoying, dull and tonally all over the place, Airborne is a thriller that never manages to get off the ground.


Video, Audio and Special Features:


Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.




Video: n/a
Audio: n/a
Features: n/a


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Joel Harley
Staff Reviewer
Haribo fiend, Nicolas Cage scholar and frequently functioning alcoholic. These are just some of the words which can be used to describe Joel Harley. The rest, he uses to write film criticism for Horror DNA and a variety of websites and magazines. Sometimes he manages to do so without swearing.
Other articles by this writer



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