Monday, April 02, 2012

Air Collision and the Ridiculousness of It All: A Movie Review

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*full disclosure: a DVD screener of this film was provided by The Asylum.

Directors: Liz Adams.

Cast: Reginal VelJohnson, Jordan Ladd, Gerald Webb, Dave Vescio, and Erin Coker.

The Asylum is a film production company that is known for mockbusters (Transmorphers) or for creating outlandish fantasy films (Zombie Apocalypse). Their latest movie is titled Air Collision and this title was released on DVD March 27th after a brief theatrical run in January. Air Collision is not really a mockbuster, as director Liz Adams experiments with the disaster genre. The film is pure fantasy. The President of the United States' life is in danger, satellites fall from the sky and special agents fly through the air. This is ridiculous! But, maybe that is the magic that drives The Asylum production machine.

The story is unbelievable. The responsibility of aircraft control is turned over to the A.C.A.T. (Auto Control Anti-Terrorist System). This system is like Skynet from the Terminator films, but the system is far less reaching. Only aircraft on the eastern seaboard of the United States are affected. However, the computer system on Air Force One is one of the first to go down after a rogue solar flare disrupts its mechanics. F-16s are dispatched to provide an escort only to be shot down by the A.C.A.T. This computer system now sees everything as a threat. Meanwhile, another passenger plane is on a collision course (of course) with Air Force One. Pass the oxygen masks and the mini bar around!

Air Collision joins a long list of disaster films. This genre seemed to find a resurgence in the '70s with films like The Towering Inferno (1974), SST: Death Flight (1977), City on Fire (1979) and many others. This genre has continued to push out films like Armageddon (1998), Deep Impact (1998) and many more. However, this style of film has been around since the dawn of filmmaking (Night and Ice ). So, Air Collision is in good company. But maybe this film is like that drunk friend who you want to pretend just does not exist.

This is not to say that Air Collision is not a fun film. There are a few laughs here as characters fly out of cabins. Actor Dave Vescio seems to be praying to some god before he gets sucked out into the sky. That made this reviewer chuckle. Yet, the film's tone is constantly one of both action and poorly contrived tension. The tension diminishes through the lack of believability. Too much of the film is painted in CGI (computer generated images). Firetrucks, signs, airplanes, aircraft control towers and many more elements are completely drawn by computer programmers and the result is one of incredulity. Is this reviewer really supposed to believe these obvious effects are real? On the positive side, the acting is well done. Actor Gerald Webb pulls off a believable lovelorn First Officer Aoki. Jordan Ladd as stewardess Bates is an enjoyable watch. Ladd's performance is one of constant concerned calm as her many duty seems to be covering the many bodies. There are a few moral choices and this reviewer was wowed by the writing. Who has an imagination like this?

Air Collision requires that viewers have fertile imaginations as well. There are just too many strange going-ons to see this film as believable on any level. And, perhaps, therein lies the charm of The Asylum's latest. You, the viewer, get to experience fantasy on a level unprecedented in disaster films. It is just too bad that much of that reality has been created by a computer program.

Overall: 5.5 out of 10 (good acting, unbelievable situations, solid writing, the film just seems ridiculous, possibly worth a one time watch for fans of disaster films).

The film's fan page is here:

Air Collision at Facebook

The film at The Asylum:

Air Collision at The Asylum

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