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1 rating: -3.0
A movie directed by Robert Butler

After Ryan Weaver is arrested for a murder that he says he did not commit, he must be transported to Los Angeles. He and another prisoner are escorted by four air marshals on a Boeing 747 on a commercial flight. Even though it is Christmas Eve, the plane … see full wiki

Tags: Movie
Director: Robert Butler
Genre: Thriller
Release Date: January 10, 1997
MPAA Rating: PG-13
1 review about Turbulence

Don't feed screenwriters after midnight

  • Oct 26, 2010
It's been said that, hypothetically, a million monkeys with a million typewriters and an infinite amount of time would eventually produce the entire works of Shakespeare. But I would contend they're more likely to produce Turbulence in about a day or so.

Turbulence is what happens when you give episodic screenwriters with a movie budget too much caffeine. Screenwriters - known for their addictions, loose grip on reality, and penchant for knocking off blockbusters - are dangerous when grouped together in committee formation and poured large quantities of Starbucks French Roast. Especially if they've been fed after midnight, then action sequences start multiplying and Act 2 never ends.

Here goes

The plot is something to do with a criminal being transported by air marshals and taking over the plane, and a mild-mannered flight attendant who ends up going all Sarah Connor. It's one uber-climax after another where anything that the screenwriters could pile on just ramped up the volume to 10, like:
  • The plane's in a storm! But not just any storm - the worst storm since dinosaurs were wiped off the Earth!
  • The plane clips a building and picks up a car in the landing gear! And they need an F16 pilot to shoot it off!
  • The madman-slash-killer doesn't just want to kill the flight attendant before they crash! He wants to rape her too!
  • The madman-slash-killer-potential-rapist doesn't want the plane to land so he hacks away the autopilot with an axe! While at the same time calling the flight attendant to tell her!
  • The suicidal-madman-slash-killer-potential-rapist also sings Christmas songs! But only in a crazy way in between laughing like a madman!
  • The singer-suicidal-madman-slash-killer-potential-rapist starts a fire on the plane! And then smokes while drinking Champagne!
It's kinda-like Con Air but it's fair to say my disbelief was not so much suspended as blown into outer orbit. I'd describe this is as The Shining and Friday the 13th meet Die Hard and then meet Con Air again after an awkward one night stand, then loses all the good parts and replaces any sense of logic with Christmas lights. In fact, it makes Airplane! look like a documentary.

The weirdest thing is that I thought this was intended to be a comedy, and it was only after the first 30 minutes or so I realized that were serious. Deadly serious. Let me compile a list of what's wrong here, while you take a break and watch some of the best bits. In the words of Vanilla Ice, "Check out the hook while my DJ revolves it":

The best parts of Turbulence
  1. The music never stops. And it's continuously exciting action-type music, even when nothing is happening. Seriously, the orchestra music must have been on fire by the end of the film.
  2. The plane doesn't just have Christmas lights wrapped around every seat, but fully-grown trees all over the place. And the director is so pleased with this, he puts them in every single shot.
  3. This is the largest 747 you've ever seen. It has room after room and level after level. I've been in smaller Ikeas than this thing. It's also indestructable, doing 360-degree roll in F-6 storms, flying through billboards, etc.
  4. There's a part where the pilot gets up to see the flight attendant, gets knocked out for no apparent reason and falls on the flight controls. After two minutes of chaos, the auto-pilot turns itself on - for no apparent reason. And no, there's no copilot.
  5. There's a British captain (yay, token Brit to add some credibility presumably), talking a flight attendant through landing a 747 in the worst storm in history while she's got the rapist/madman hacking down the door with an axe behind her! He's not in a control tower by the way - he's sat in his own plane where he can see absolutely nothing.
  6. There is a nice bit of stereotyping where the plane clips a restaurant full of Japanese tourists doing karaoke and taking pictures, and probably eating sushi too if you looking close enough. Those crazy Japanese and the things they do!
  7. During the aforementioned "very bad" storm, the madman takes time out to call the detective who arrested him originally, and let him know he plans to crash the plane into LAX. (This is a pre-9/11 movie, when we were all innocent.)
Here's another clip to dampen your spirits:

In their defense, the screenwriters avoided certain cliches like:
  • "You killed my brother!"
  • "We're not so different, you and I!"
  • Putting the hero's family in jeopardy somehow
...but I think that's mainly because there wasn't time in between shots of Christmas lights and Ray singing Christmas music to the rabid action soundtrack.

In summary, I'd strongly recommend watching Turbulence but only with a few buddies, a bottle of Jack Daniels and a drinking game.

What did you think of this review?

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October 26, 2010
LOL! James, you have to keep the reviews of this kind coming--so entertaining!
October 26, 2010
Thanks! Netflix has been very good to me over the years.
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