Friday, December 19, 2008


Holiday Movie Category: Snowflakes on a Plane*


Mary Christmas, Chucky’s Mom, Agent Johnson (no, the other one), migraine-inducing film scoring, Monk’s new shrink, awkward pre-911 references, Ham-Eyed Moody, the wackiest flight since Soul Plane, Sarek Mark II, and one very Bad Fella.

More details here.


Ryan Weaver, aka The Lonely Hearts Strangler, (Ray Liotta) is a serial killer brought down by a team led by his Captain Ahab, aka Lt. Aldo Hines (Hector Elizondo). The agency extradites Weaver and puts him on an east coast to L.A. flight on X-mas Eve. On board the plane is recently jilted airline attendant Teri Halloran (Lauren Holly) who gets the creeps when she meets the seemingly harmless and charming Weaver. His co-jailbird is bank robber Stubbs (Brian Gleeson) and when he’s able to break free from his escort mid-flight, Weaver takes the opportunity to wipe out half the passengers and all the guards and pilots. He also snuffs out Stubbs and chokes the crap out of Teri’s supervisor Maggie (Catherine Hicks) for good measure. Teri locks herself in the cockpit and tries to fly the plane with the help of air traffic controller Rachel Taper (Rachel Ticotin) and pilot Sam Bowen (Ben Cross). Meanwhile, Weaver gets Hines on the phone and we discover that Hines may or may not have planted evidence on him. Weaver accepts the fact that the plane will crash and informs Hines and ground control that he will crash the plane into a populated area. But he’s still got one more woman to terrorize. When Teri can’t figure out how to land the plane even with all the help, she leaves the cockpit and engages in a tense game of cat-and-mouse-on-plane during a TURBULENT storm for majority of the third act. Fortunately, Teri’s top comes off mid-ordeal which kept my interest until crazy assed Weaver and his eeeeeevil bellowing guided us gently on the tarmac and free to roam around the nuthouse.


Ray Liotta hasn’t come down his sweaty fake coke high since Goodfellas. Maybe Marty switched the baking soda with the real stuff? Regardless, the guy is freakin’ intense. He can’t even tone it down in benign crap like Corrina, Corrina or Operation Dumbo Drop, much less in this overblown, overacted, over-the-top thriller. If you’re a fan of Liotta’s hyperbolic shtick (and I am), you’ll enjoy the fact that his demented juiced-up greatness commands this flick. Although not really a X-mas movie, I wanted to include Turbulence because it’s one of very few X-mas action movies I haven’t seen. Others include Lethal Weapon, Reindeer Games, and recently reviewed Breakaway. So what the hell, huh?

We’ll be right back.

Mid-Finisher Trivia Break:
  • Grand L. Bush (Marshal Arquette) was born on X-mas Eve, 1955.
  • Rachel Ticotin (Rachel Taper) also appeared in the other airplane action movie of 1997, Con Air.
  • Hector Elizondo is Puerto Rican, and as such is not allowed to eat oranges.
What the hell happened to Lauren Holly? Not the greatest actress, but certainly a looker. She’s fair to pretty bad in this movie, and even her glib one-liners seem wasted. Despite a pretty stellar cast of solid character actors, nothing, save for Liotta, is worth remembering. The movie feels like a TNT original movie, not quite a TV movie, not quite a feature film. But it does develop a wacky sense of humor towards the end with ridiculous plot twists. Despite the late sense of self-awareness, the movie does suffer from a ponderous score that made me dizzy. Though it’s nowhere near the level of action goodness of first-rate X-mas action movies such as Die Hard or Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Turbulence makes for a fun X-mas night of chuckling, mocking, and loving that nutball Ray Liotta.

*(I got nothin’).

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