Cinema-Maniac: Airplane vs. Volcano (2014) Review

The Asylum is a brand I can trust when it comes to viewing something out of the norm of sensibility and logic. Sure nearly every knock off the studio makes can’t compete with the actual film it’s ripping off, but even those have their own highlights of mediocrity. Earlier this year I witnessed the uneventful and shallow “Apocalypse Pompeii” which was a volcanic disaster movie based around Mount Vesuvius. It was a typical disaster film without a bone of creativity or interesting idea to overcome technical limitations like horrid acting. I bring up “Apocalypse Pompeii” because it takes place in the same universe as “Airplane vs. Volcano” as made clear in news broadcast in the film. As pointless as that bit of trivia might be what is not pointless is knowing that “Airplane vs. Volcano” is not a good general movie, but it is an entertaining B-movie.

Airplane Vs. Volcano is about a commercial airliner trapped within a ring of erupting volcanoes, the passengers and crew must find a way to survive – without landing. It doesn’t take long for the action to get started literally opening with a scientifically goofy explanation on the sudden rises of volcano follow by an instant death of a scientist. What makes it difficult to discuss this film is how much of its own stupidity should I bring up. Part of the fun is in seeing the dumb premise unfold with it even stupider characters we follow. Every single thing these characters do is counter productive losing most of their oil in single a mistake which also almost caused them to blow up in mid air, but also gets passengers and military soldiers killed with every plan hatched. All the characters in the film are one dimensional cliches; the air marshall, the geek, the average joe who lost everything, disaster expert, the unneeded middle eastern attempted hijacker who’s absent most of the duration, the single parent with a child, reluctant military general, but all are all idiots. Like a usual disaster movie it has no time to develop of any of its characters. Jumping between the dire situation on the plane and military command post that examine the disaster and attempt to minimize casualty. It has no time focus on the human element of the story which later undermines the characters plead for help in the third act from resonating. While I would love to poke fun the military solution to save the passengers in detail doing so will ruined any fun to be had in its third act. Although I will say it involves bombs, jet fighters, a military general, and tons of fireballs. The script is plagued with cliches and bad science, but makes up for it with a fast pace and host of creative ideas. It’s setting might be limited, but always keeps it plot moving. Set pieces are guarantee to deliver a laugh and along the way the enjoyably implausible climax. Melodrama is wonderfully cheesy and the conflict is forced to the point that the most illogical path might be the right way to survive the disaster. All doing so with it tongue firmly implanted in it cheeks being a part of the fun that knows when to push itself into absurdity and come in control with cheesy melodrama.

Dean Cain is the leading man filled with a committed cast of hammy actor. Cain, like the rest of the cast, are in on the joke. While Cain doesn’t change his facial impression much looking more like he’s having fun than in actual peril has charisma. He’s fun to be around with his goofy character allowing him to say stuff no one would utter. Not only that, but his arc is one of the few story threads that is decent enough to pull have a small payoff, even if it’s undone seconds later in the climax. Plus I appreciate an in joke on the actor who also played Superman. The only other actor worth a positive mention is Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs who inspite of the material gives a good performance. He’s the closest the cast has to a good actor showing range in his abilities swiftly changing from a tough guy to fun loving air marshall. Jacobs commits putting some emotions in his more dramatic scenes. The two worst actors in the film are easily Morgan West and Mike Jerome Putnam. These two have no chemistry with each other uttering their lines without conviction. They hardly show any emotion with their expression and vocally deliver every line with the same tone of voice through out. Finally Robin Givens is bad in her role. She’s does not seemed to understand what kind of movie she is delivering all her expository line very seriously. Givens always appears upset about volcanoes. The special effects are the usual cheap looking CG Asylum standard. Here it’s they do repeat the same shots of the airplane in peril surrounded by volcanoes for two acts. However, what the filmmakers do with the special effects is varied in its set pieces makes up for the plastic look of it CG.

Airplane Vs. Volcano is an entertaining b-movie. It has hammy acting, a goofy story, and hilarious stupid moments. If you’re part of the audience that enjoys a B-movie “Airplane Vs. Volcano” has you cover getting to the action immediately and keeps itself afloat with creativity. It’s in on the fun and knows how to deliver entertainment as well as a good laugh. While it won’t ever surpass the legendary Sharknado (I recommend if you like b-movies) it’s in the same ball park in being one of “The Asylum” better films.

6/10

Note:

On the DVD box of “Airplane Vs. Volcano” it says “Based on the true story”. Out of curiosity I looked into it and it turns out “The Asylum” has done a film based on a true story before. For instance, “Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies” is based on the biography titled “Emancipate This!” by someone with the initial JWB. If that’s not historically accurate I don’t know what is.

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