The Asylum have done it again! After 2012’s “Super Cyclone”, a film that was as clear a parody of their normal output as it’s possible to make, they’ve come out with this, which is laughs from beginning to end. It also cost them, apart from Dean Cain’s contract, zero dollars, being filmed almost entirely on two already existing sets.
But I’ve not even got to the film yet! Before I started watching it, I was wondering “how are they going to get an entire film out of this? If you’re on a plane and see a volcano, fly the other way, job done” but I grossly underestimated the Asylum’s ability to spin gold out of thin air. Everything goes to pot almost immediately in this film, so a normal flight from LA to Hawaii encounters a local manifestation of a global volcanic apocalypse. By the way, I think this film is a proper tie-in to “Apocalypse Pompeii”, as there’s a mention of the other place’s problems right at the end. The Asylum is getting all cross-promotional!
As volcanoes emerge from the ocean, the scene outside the plane transforms into a rather convincing hellscape. Unfortunately for our plane, both pilots almost immediately die, so the passengers have to band together, and unfortunately for the profit margin of the airline, they only seem to have 20 passengers on board (I was hoping for a joke near the end where the camera would pan back along the plane and just see all the people in economy class sat happily reading magazines and watching the in-flight movie, but no such luck).
THE SET! Now, you may not be as big an Asylum obsessive as me, but eagle-eyed observers will spot the circular control-room set from “The 3 Musketeers” and “Super Cyclone” (and probably a few other films). If anyone from the Asylum reads these reviews, please let me know where it is?
A brief word about the extras. I may not be the world’s biggest fan of the armed forces, but I appreciate that their training will leave them all looking a certain way – fairly big, strong looking, confident in their environment. The extras in the control room all look like…well, me – doughy guys who’d be more at home in an office than a battlefield. And on the plane is a guy who looks like an Aldi Mandy Patinkin, who goes from calm and staring out the window; to being ready to throw someone out of the plane on the orders of the B-plot bad guy; to calmly staring out of the window again a few minutes later.
The B-plot is absolutely bizarre – a guy with a weird indeterminate “foreign” accent who…I’m struggling to think of a motivation for his actions, honestly. He’s just angry and loses his mind almost immediately – he feels like a weird holdover from a previous rewrite. Anyway, as he’s wildly overacting on the plane, we get a similar overactor in the base. One of the army guys then starts loudly questioning the orders of his Colonel, and only gets worse as the film goes on. His non-approved rescue plan causes dozens of people to die, but is he sorry? Is he heck! In fact, his can’t-do attitude actually results in him implausibly being the hero of the day.
There’s just so much good stuff in this film! Dean Cain, just some guy, takes over flying the plane, but thanks to the pilots (who have the codes to the control panel) being dead, the auto-pilot is jammed on meaning his contribution to actually flying the plane is just sitting there looking unhappy. This also answers the “why don’t they just fly away?” conundrum, because the auto-pilot just flies them round in a circle, so they stay in the ring of volcanoes.
My notes for the last half of this film is just variations on the line “what the hell is happening?” They think the plan is going down because it’s too heavy, so everyone records their big dramatic speeches to their loved ones…but there’s still 30 minutes to go! Every moment for that last third of the film feels like a crescendo, but it keeps getting sillier and sillier, but played with an entirely straight face by everyone. There’s a hint of a budding romance, but when the guy dies the woman is clearly in shot but doesn’t react at all; there’s talk of a prop plane which can go through the dust clouds, but we don’t see the prop plane til a minute before the end of the film.
After a quick blast of “haha all our friends are dead” the film just sort of stops. I cannot recommend this film highly enough. It’s ridiculous from beginning to end, and is really really entertaining. Get a group of friends and a few drinks and have yourself a fine time.
Rating: thumbs up