Original title:Plane
Director:Jean-Fran├žois Richet
Running time:107 minutes
Release date:13 january 2023
A commercial pilot, Brodie Torrance, has managed to land his storm-damaged plane on solid ground. He discovers that he has landed in a war zone. He and the passengers find themselves taken hostage...

Mulder's Review

Jean François Richet is certainly a director who is passionate about cinema and who manages to surprise us with his willingness to tackle both effective action films in the vein of those of the 90s (Assault on Precinct 13 (2005), Blod father (2015)) as well as offering French films that have nothing to envy to current American productions (diptych devoted to Jacques Mesrine L'instinct de mort (2008) and L'ennemi public n°1 (2008), L'empereur de Paris (2018), three films with his favorite actor Vincent Cassel) but also more intimist films such as De l'amour (2001), Un moment d'égarement (2015). This gifted director who grew up in the city of Meaux (which occupies an important place in my heart) emerged with two first hard-hitting films Etat des lieux (1995) and Ma 6-T va crack-er (1997) and has kept in mind the desire to offer effective films whatever the available budget and especially keep intact his vision as a director and his desire to propose stories that make sense to him by always relying on experienced actors and equally invested as him to give life to successful and original films. 

For his third film in the United States and after having directed Ethan Hawke, Laurence Fishburne, Mel Gibson, Diego Luna, he also directs for the first time Gerard Butler and Mike Colter (Luke Cage, The Defenders, Evil series) and offers us once again a thriller of a redoubled efficiency that does not leave the audience any moment of rest. Far from these recent mechanical action movies and relying more on spectacular scenes and impressive castings, Plane prefers to play the card of realism and to create a real disturbing atmosphere plunging a captain, his second in command and their crew in full danger. Whether it's a spectacular and impressive airplane crash, a hostage situation on an island held by armed forces free to act as they please, Plane is certainly an intense cinematic experience. Far from being a simple B-movie, director Jean-François Richet delivers here simply the best action movie of this beginning of the year 2023 and shows once again that he is totally at ease in the field of fast and intense action movies. It would be interesting to raise here the many similarities between this film and (Assault on Precinct 13 (2005) by its subject and the link that unites the two main characters Brodie Torrance (Gerard Butler) a captain putting the safety of his crew and Louis Gaspare (Mike Colter) with a troubled past and suspected of murder.

Writer and screenwriter Charles Cumming, assisted here by screenwriter J. P. Davis, delivers a story rich in various twists and turns and characterized by three distinct parts: the plane crash, the hostage-taking on the island of Jolo, in the Philippines, controlled by rebels, and the last part involving a violent confrontation between the rebels and Brodie Torrance, Louis Gaspare, the passengers and crew of the plane, and the mercenaries who have come as reinforcements. Director Jean-François Richet makes the most of this story and knows how to create real moments of intense tension/ The crash scene is breathtakingly effective and alone deserves to be seen on the big screen. Even if the action of MAYDAY (Plane), as its original title might suggest, does not take place in the middle of a flight, the plane occupies the central place of the film and shows the importance of this means of transport often associated with long journeys and unforgettable landscapes. The director delivers here a buddy movie paying homage to the films associated with this genre very frequent in the 90s and especially shows a real osmosis and complementarity of the two main actors who take a real pleasure to day together palpable on the screen.

The actor Gerard Butler used to very successful action films as the film saga related to the character of Mike Banning (Olympus Has Fallen (2013), London Has Fallen (2016), Angel Has Fallen (2019) but also the memorable 300 (2007), Law Abiding Citizen (2009) gives his character a real psychological thickness to this former RAF pilot who became captain of a small company Trailblazer Airlines. His action scenes are very effective and will remind some of films like Die Hard, Under Siege or Taken. Not only is this actor, unlike many others, as comfortable in these scenes as in more dramatic moments. He makes his character a modern hero ready to give his life to save the passengers he has to protect. Certainly MAYDAY (Plane) is a very successful film that leaves the framework of the ordinary action film to be perfectly calibrated and fascinating entertainment to be discovered on the big screen. We can only advise you to go and discover it in a big theater and congratulate its director Jean-François Richet for having made his film a success in the United States and showing that French directors are capable of exporting their know-how in bigger films without losing control of it. We are looking forward to his next film and hope for a new action movie or a thriller as masterful as this one.

Directed by Jean-François Richet
Screenplay by Charles Cumming, J. P. Davis
Story by Charles Cumming
Produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Mark Vahradian, Marc Butan, Gerard Butler, Alan Siegel
Starring Gerard Butler, Mike Colter, Yoson An, Tony Goldwyn
Cinematography : Brendan Galvin
Edited by David Rosenbloom
Music by Marco Beltrami, Marcus Trumpp
Production companies: MadRiver Pictures, Olive Hill Media, Di Bonaventura Pictures, G-BASE Film Productions
Distributed by Lionsgate (United States), Metropolitan FilmExport (France)
Release date : January 13, 2023 (United States), January 25, 2023 (France)
Running time : 107 minutes

Seen on January 25, 2023 at Gaumont Disney Village, Room 9 seat A19

Mulder's Mark: