Air Marshal (2003)

Air Marshal Cover ArtBrett Prescott has great hair, gleaming white teeth, and a pregnant wife back in the United States. In short, he’s the best of all that’s really rad about America.

He’s also ex-special forces and currently an air marshal charged with making sure the friendly skies stay that way. Unless, you’re an Islamofacist looking to make a name for yourself by terrorizing the passengers of an air plane. Then Brett Prescott goes to work making sure that little things like getting whacked in the back with an ax don’t slow him down from doing stuff like avoiding missiles and cruise ships at the last possible instant.

Brett isn’t just executing exciting mid-air maneuvers that could only be possible with the bad computer graphics used to represent all the exterior airplane shots though. He’s also doing all the usual in-flight bad ass stuff you expect from your Nu Image American Heroes (see also Air Strike, Special Forces, Marines, and Submarines) brand of movie.

There’s numerous examples of his hand-to-hand combat techniques, all shot in loving slow motion and all featuring Brett with an expression on his face that looks like he’s trying to pass a terrorist-sized kidney stone. There’s his lengthy stint down below in the hydraulics section where he’s just generally being a pain in the ass, dumping fuel, patching himself through to Washington and eavesdropping on the terrorists radio chatter. He even has time to buddy up to a kid traveling all by himself!

And don’t think that all that good-natured conversation with young Ricky is wasted! When you see Brett checking out young Ricky’s mad skills on the computer game he’s playing and the computer game happens to be all about flying airplanes, you start to hope against all common sense and realism that young Ricky will at some point step in to pilot the plane to safety! Even though young Ricky is only about 10 years old!

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And heck, Ricky isn’t only not sweating grabbing the controls once the pilot has his throat slit, he’s also ready to grab a terrorist’s gun whenever the opportunity presents itself. This is precisely why we need to really watch our liberal “friends” and all their bad mouthing about kids and guns. If Ricky was the sort of pansified, lavender-scented priss who routinely rats out the cool kids at school for bringing assault weapons to class, do you think he’d be so willing to grab that gun? Or be able to shake off a guy getting his throat cut right in front of him?

Hell no! He’d be converting to Islam as soon as those terrorists started waving around fake bomb detonators and shooting guys who won’t give up their cell phones! Maybe that’s okay for you parents out in Hollywood, but where I come from, the only thing I want to hear about my kid during a hijacking is that the little bastard handled himself like he was a one-boy Dirty Dozen!

Lest you think that Brett Prescott is leaving all the heavy lifting to a kid who doesn’t even have pubes yet, Brett is getting shot, axed, hit, captured, and even finds time in between terror attacks to haul Ricky’s ass back into the plane when he almost gets sucked out a window!

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Brett even manages to call his wife and leave a message that makes it apparent that terrorists have taken over the plane and have probably killed him! Hell of a way for a pregnant wife to learn of the death of her husband, right? Bah! As Prescott’s ex-commanding officer puts it to some White House nerd, “Brett Prescott has been killed in action before!” Crud, his wife gets those calls about once a week, I’ll bet!

What’s truly spectacular about that whole sequence of events is that Brett only calls her after he tries to call a secure line to his superiors to report the hijacking and gets put on hold! Oh well, at least he didn’t get patched through to some tech support guy in India who couldn’t speak English!

There’s only a handful of terrorists so Brett plays it smart and only incapacitates a few of them so that they can come to later for another fight. It also helps Brett that the terrorists start to fight amongst themselves about whether they want to crash the plane into some target to make a political statement or whether they want to collect $30 million.

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The money guys win out which means we need to attempt the toughest landing in the history of flight not once, not twice, but a grand total of three times! It’s all worth it because there’s special forces on the ground blowing up guys and equipment friendly to the terrorists. And don’t worry, just because this is a movie about a plane being hijacked, doesn’t mean you are going to be cheated out of seeing a helicopter shot down!

Dean Cochran (Shark Zone, Target Of Opportunity) is ably supported by a cast that includes the guy who played the nefarious Rafendenk from Special Forces as well as cult movie vet Tim (Trancers) Thomerson. Thomerson plays a mouthy senator who manages to have a moment that somehow makes you cringe and laugh at the same time when he tries to lead the passengers in an uprising using the anti-terrorist catch phrase “let’s roll!” I thought it was a bit tasteless. But also a bit funny.

The best job though is done by Alan Austin as the pilot of the plane. He spends the whole movie with a squinty, disinterested expression on his face and never seems terribly concerned about anything that’s going on! Even when he’s getting head butted and his throat slashed!

And yes, Air Marshal is the sort of frothy good time action flick where we’re assured that the pilot will be fine and where young Ricky gives Brett and his wife a toy airplane for their new child and they all share a good laugh! War is definitely hell, but it’s also something to look back on and chuckle at if you’re a surviving good guy! That’s just our natural American optimism and good humor, a by-product of sweet, sweet freedom!

© 2013 MonsterHunter

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