CORPORATE LINE: Originally a 1965 Jimmy Stewart vehicle, this FLIGHT gets a rough and ready updating for the new century, with the stalwart Dennis Quaid now inhabiting the title role. He’s a pilot on a routine trip out to investigate some remote oil rigs in the Gobi Desert, but things go wrong and he makes a crash landing in the middle of nowhere. For him, and the men along for the ride, a slow, tortured, thirsty death seems certain, unless the plucky mechanic in the crew (Giovanni Ribisi) can design a whole new plane from the wreckage. As with the original, this is a manly adventure of rugged survival and mechanical ingenuity, only this time there’s a woman on board, Kelly (Miranda Otto) who generates some romantic sparks. Some of the other survivors are played by: Tyrese Gibson, Sticky Fingaz, Bob Brown and Kirk Jones. The men and one woman have to tangle with murderous desert raiders and numerous sandstorms in addition to the frequent squabbling amongst themselves. Director John Moore gets a lot of mileage out of the desert backdrop and Ribisi is solid as the mechanic with a troubled past. It was produced by William Aldrich, whose dad Robert directed the Stewart original. Edward Burns (THE BROTHERS McMULLEN) co-wrote the new screenplay.
THE FILM: It would take a lot to usurp the original Jimmy Stewart film however with the advances in technology you’d think now would be the time to make a great blockbuster remake. It isn’t so. This remake makes many remarkable blunders with the terrible script and bad directing.
Everything about Flight of the Phoenix is Hollywood clichés—apparently written by a screenwriter who has lived life watching movies and not outside of his house. Not one character is out of the stereotypical mold and live up to that the entire ride. Color us surprised.
DVD FEATURES: “Phoenix Diaries” is a sort of behind-the-scenes featurette mixed up with other stuff. It’s not entirely cohesive. Director John Moore spends a lot of time swearing at the crew—it isn’t surprising that he turns out to be a bad director.
The director commentary runs the length of the film and is maybe more interesting than the dialogue of the movie. It was however hard to watch this movie twice.
FRANKLY: Save your money.
+ Charlie Craine