Directed by: Julian Grant
Starring: Steve Guttenberg, Kim Coates, Colm Feore, Torri Higginson, Philip Akin, and Sean Bean
"Pray It Doesn't Land..."
Bill McNeil (Guttenberg) is the head of a Special Ops team known as “Mach 1”. His compatriots are Sara Gemmel (Higginson) and Romeo Cortez (Akin). There’s an evil canister with an evil virus that a lot of evil people want to do evil things with. Head of said evildoers is the ominously-named Dave Toombs (Bean). When certain people end up dead, McNeil thinks it may be an inside job. So he goes on the run with Gemmel to get to the truth. Also Colm Feore and Kim Coates are on board.
Airborne is an unintentional (?) laugh riot. One of the main things that makes it funny is not just the presence of Steve Guttenberg, but his gruff, overly-serious performance. Obviously trying to shed his Police Academy “Mahoney” image, The Gute opts for an unshaven, laconic, cliche-action-hero style. Just check out the way he does a simple task like answer the phone. The phone rings. There is a pregnant pause as Gute takes the phone off the receiver. There is another pregnant pause before he speaks. Then, in a low, portentous, drawn-out tone, and speaking as if his throat is filled with gravel, he simply says, “Yeah”. While it may seem like nothing, this scene brought the house down with laughs. So that’s a microcosm of what to expect in Airborne, the movie that takes itself wildly seriously, even though it’s a shot-in-Canada, cliche-ridden turkey with bad sound, low production values and CGI airplanes.
In fact, while there is low-key, “smoldering” (harsher minds might say “emotionless”) acting by just about everyone involved, the movie could have used more Sean Bean. He is a bright spot in this dour production, and Kim Coates also tries to inject any energy he can, but it’s to no avail. You’d think the power team of Steve Guttenberg facing off against Sean Bean is the match-up the world has been waiting for - and it clearly is - but somehow Airborne doesn’t capitalize on this meeting.
And while Gute’s co-star Higginson resembles a DTV Sigourney Weaver, it’s hard for her to compete with his slow-motion, “cool” walking and other “cool” activities like putting on/taking off sunglasses. In fact, the importance he places on this action predates David Caruso and CSI Miami.
Plus you know it’s the 90’s because of the high-waisted jeans and unnecessary, Tarantino-esque cultural references. Also Sean Bean has an intimidating bad-guy mullet. But the Mach 1 team wears some impressive outfits: helmets that look like they are from the 80’s Laser Tag competitor Photon, and head-to-toe spandex. There’s one disturbing scene in particular where Guttenberg’s spandex pants don’t leave much to the imagination and...yecccchhh.
So while wags might say this is just another stupid, brainless ripoff of The Rock (1996) that is so riddled with cliches it can’t possibly add anything new to the genre, we say it’s the most dramatic retelling of the story of how that teacher invented his own cold medication yet put to film.
Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty