Saturday, January 8, 2005


  • Action, adventure

    Dennis Quaid: Capt. Frank Towns, pilot of a twin boom C-119 cargo plane
    Tyrese Gibson: his co-pilot A.J.
    Miranda Otto: Kelly Johnson, project leader of a team of international wildcatters
    Hugh Laurie: Ian, an executive of the oil company
    Giovanni Ribisi: Elliott, a traveller who just happened to wander in one day
    Jacob Vargas: the Mexican cook Sammi
    Kevork Malikyan: Rady, a non-denominational Middle Eastern employee

    I always figured there are two types of adventure movies:
  • one, like Raiders of the Lost Ark, that have back-to-back events with no time in between to catch your breath
  • and the other has interludes between the action bits.
    Now I’ve found out there’s a third type: one that has interludes and then predictable moments of adventure. That makes for dull viewing. Especially when the movie title gives it all away. There is no suspense left to maintain your interest when you know how the misadventure turns out.

    for some language, action and violence.

    Co-pilot AJ is going through the checkoff list before taking off. One of the questions is something to the effect “All windows and hatches closed and locked?”. Captain Towns looks around the cockpit and then answers, “All secure”. The camera angle changes to an exterior shot and we clearly see that the co-pilot’s window is fully open.

    One night following a confrontation with some smugglers, one of the men gets shot. The others proceed to pick him up and lug him back to their base camp which is not that far away. After a closeup of the injured man, the wide angle shot shows them arriving at the camp and it’s broad daylight.

    The principals of flight are well-known: as an aircraft’s wing moves through the air, the cross-sectional shape of the wing causes the air moving over it to travel faster than the air moving under it. The slower airflow beneath the wing generates more pressure, while the faster airflow above generates less. This difference in pressure results in lift.
    The nitpick here is that with seven people laying prone on top of the wing behind plastic windshields there would be such turbulence that no lift would result. Consequently, the aircraft would never make it off the ground much less transport the survivors to safety.

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