Flight 747 (2003)

a.k.a. - Rapid Exchange (USA)

Lance Henriksen and Lorenzo Lamas star in a passable straight to video thriller. InStore Entertainment UK R0 DVD.

The Film

Ketchum (Lorenzo Lamas) and Brooks are robbing a museum, trying to steal an antique Royal Sceptre when their raid is interupted by a SWAT team. The pair escape yet the sceptre is lost and seems have been taken by the SWAT team who may well have been another gang in diguise. The pair visit their financier Newcastle (Lance Henriksen) who chastises them for failing in the mission, but they persuade him to let them on board his next job, an audatious plan to rob a US Treasury jet in mid-air...

Co-written by director Tripp Reed, Flight 747 is a completely by-the-numbers affair, from the 'previous job' opening to the underlying threat of double crossing and a poorly developed romance - the sophisticated group behind the crime are clearly trying to be paralleled to the gentleman criminals in films like Ocean's Eleven (2001) while the whole concept behind the robbery seems to be lifted from the airplane transfer sequence in Executive Decision (1996). Fortunately, although entirely unoriginal, the film does remain entertaining thanks to some good pacing and there is some decent tension during the heist itself. The ending after the raid is probably the most enjoyable part of the film providing a couple of neat twists although this whole sequence is marred by a glaring plot hole (particuarly evident since the script goes to a lot of trouble to explain everything else but completely ignores this).

Flight 747 came a few years too early for the HD-Video boom that has allowed even straight-to-video productions to mimic the sleek Hollywood 'look', instead it has a 'shot on video' feel that means it can never escape its low budget roots. Similarly the small sets, cheap and dated CGI and East European locations do nothing to make the film look like anything but a budget-bin release, more like a production from the mid-1990s than 2003. Fortunately, like the script, the production is servicable and enough to keep the film moving.

Lance Henriksen, of Aliens (1986) fame, plays the typical extended cameo 'boss' part with a decent if rather limited part. The main role is played by television series Renegade star Lorenzo Lamas who gives a fittingly rugged heroic performance.

With a plagarised script and plot holes big enough to fly a 747 through, a 'shot on video in Bulgaria look' and briefly famous actors in the lead roles, Flight 747 was never going to be a masterpiece - yet the script never drags, even managing to build some good tension, the basic production gets the job done just fine (would a better CGI'ed 747 have really improved the film?) and the acting is more than sufficient for what is required. Don't expect more than a straight to video thriller and this should prove enjoyable.

In Brief
Anyone famous in it? Lance Henriksen - the hard working American actor, most memorable for playing Bishop in Aliens (1986)
Lorenzo Lamas - an American TV star, best known for rugged leading role in Renegade (1992-97)
Directed by anyone interesting? Tripp Reed - an occasional director and producer, he helmed DTV sequels Walking Tall: The Payback (2007) and Walking Tall: Lone Justice (2007).
Any gore or violence ? None
Any sex or nudity? None
Who is it for? DTV Connoisseurs will find this an above average example of the genre, but certainly not one for anyone hoping to see a good film.

Visuals Original Aspect Ratio - 1.33:1. Colour.
Picture quality is grainy and rather soft throughout, but this probably dates from the original production and may also be an NTSC > PAL transfer.
Audio English stereo - sounds fine throughout.
Subtitles None
Extras The disc includes:
  • The spoiler laden trailer.
Region Region 2 (UK, Europe) - PAL
Other regions? American R1 release from 'First Look Pictures'.
Cuts? The film is believed to be uncut. Titles and credits are in English - the "Flight 747" title is clearly added in seperately to the title sequence as the background animation stops while it is displayed.



All text in this review written by Timothy Young - 23rd January 2012.
Text from this review not to be used without authorization.

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