Friday, June 9, 2023

97 Minutes: Movie Review

Even if there’s an interesting idea buried somewhere within this premise, 97 Minutes has no clue how to mine it. The movie is 93 minutes worth of terrible dialogue, cliché terrorists, action sequences that don’t come from the most recent plot turn, a plane full of stupid people, and nothing that is interesting or fun. The action effects are bad and combining that with mostly bad actors delivering nonsense dialogue, it’s impossible to find any positives in this.   2023

Directed by: Timo Vuorensola

Screenplay by: Pavan Grover

Starring: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Alec Baldwin

There’s a plane from London to New York, the red-eye, currently over the Atlantic Ocean that has been hijacked by terrorists. The plane is destined to crash with explosives on board once it reaches New York, so the politicians on the ground want to blow up the plane in the sky, killing everybody on board, but saving everybody on land. I wasn’t expecting a good movie out of this premise, but given that it invokes the Trolley Problem from ethics and philosophy (is it better to divert the trolley purposefully killing a smaller number of people, or allow the trolley to continue on its track where it’s likely to kill a much larger group of people) it’s conceivable that a more interesting movie could have been created out of this premise.

The initial problems are all of the many bad guys: there are a whole bunch of terrorist thugs on the plane who have very gruesomely killed lots of innocent people, there are politicians on the ground (including Alec Baldwin as director) and they all like uttering a lot of nonsense code words, but worst yet there’s an NSA undercover agent (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) who has infiltrated the terrorist group but he can’t risk giving up his identity or even more people are going to die. All of the passengers are just nameless, empty characters that don’t represent real people at all.

We’re supposed to want the good guys (my best guess is the NSA people who aren’t Alec Baldwin) to find a way to save the passengers and without the plane exploding on the ground. However there is zero emotional connection. The plane should have been blown up 5 minutes in to save the audience from this awful, awful movie.

And then to make matters worse, the terrorists are from Ukraine. Apparently the filmmakers thought it was too risky to keep making Russians the bad guys, so they picked the wrong side from that war and created a new fiction where Ukraine wants to start a nuclear war with the United States. Nothing is remotely believable within 97 Minutes so the whole thing is extremely stupid.