Ever since Lock, Stock came cockneying onto the silver screen back in ’98, Britain has spent ages chugging out shoddy gangster tat before the fascination with West End wise guys dwindled. As the subsequent years saw the odd horror here, a mildly amusing comedy there, Britain’s filmmakers seem to have struggled to find a genre to latch onto and milk for all it’s worth.
Just as it seemed our nation’s film industry was a captainless, directionless ship, along comes Dominic Burns to take the wheel. Saving us all from the monotony of having to endure the same type of film again and again, Burn’s throws caution to the wind, chucks every genre into a blender and hits ‘frappe’ before pouring out the blood-red result Airborne. Unfortunately, rather than being the symphony of flavours that Burns intended, it just tastes like a big shit smoothie.
Mixed metaphors aside, Airborne really is an absolute dog of a film. The action starts off in East Midlands Airport (as most good films do) where severe weather has grounded all flights. For some unknown reason though, a flight bound for New York has been allowed to take off even though it’s only got seven or so passengers, the cabin crew (including a phoney steward that’s just waltzed onto the flight) and some mysterious cargo on board. Once up in the air, things take a nasty turn when one passenger vanishes and the entire cabin crew fails to give a toss.
Things go from bad to worse as one passenger notices that the plane has turned off course (as he can tell when a plane rotates just a few degrees) and before you know it, everyone is trying to murder each other in an effort to get their hands on a mysterious vase that’s…wait for it…harbouring the malevolent spirit of an evil Chinese god. All the while, air traffic control are trying to decide whether or not to blow the plane to kingdom come. A documentary it is not.
Airborne’s problem isn’t really its lack of believability, it’s just that while Burns is clearly aware of how daft the premise is, the cast aren’t. Gemma Atkinson, hot as she me be, proves that her acting chops haven’t developed a bit since her Hollyoaks days, while the rest of the players ladle on the melodrama nice and thick treating their role like it’ll be their big break. As a result, the film suffers badly from not seeming to have its tongue wedged in its cheek, as it unyieldingly serves up nugget after nugget of crap. Compounding the issue, there are about 45 twists per minute, shonky CG effects and a heap of clichés getting checked off. It leaves Airborne as an incoherent mess that tries to be part Hitchcock, part Snakes on a Plane and ends up being no good.
Extras-wise, all you get is a truly awful trailer that implies that the film is going to focus on Air Traffic Control deciding whether or not to bring the plane down yet still manages to spoil most of the movie’s twists.
Overall verdict: A supernatural, horrific, gory, gangster thriller that tries to cover all bases and comes up short – leaving Airborne as an ironic title as you’ll want to throw the disc as far away as possible.
Reviewer: Jordan Brown