Reviewed by John Weber
Rating: 7.5 Beans
emember those "ABC Afternoon Afterschool Specials"
that would come on about once a month and show teen actors in a variety of dilemmas? They'd usually solve the problem (or figure out how to get help for it) in one hour's time, with the cheapest production values possible.
If you miss those, then we've got a nostalgia trip for you. Pick up "Airspeed", which features a bratty, nasty, whiny 13-year old girl (Elisha Cuthbert) dealing with another typical teen problem - landing a jet airliner on her own (what, that never happened to you in your adolescent years?).
Our brat is being flown in Daddy's private jet with two people who work for Daddy. They lament over and over and over again how sweet lil' Nicole used to be. Oh, what happened to you, they cry.Then lightning hits the plane, and knocks everyone out, except Nicole. The pilot's unconscious. The co-pilot's out cold. The two employees are in la-la land. Everyone. Except the brat. And they're not dead - they're just sorta knocked out. How convenient. Needless to say, she receives valuable life lessons from her situation. And she really cares for Daddy's employees after all. Pardon me while I wipe away a tear.
Anyway, her rich parents are summoned to what appears to be a deserted airport, where a cool dude in the control tower (we know he's cool 'cause he's got long hair) tries to talk her down. This is where Joe Mantegna (one of David Mamet's favorite actors), of all people, shows up as the wealthy pop. He wails over and over how he's got all this money, all this power, he owns an airline and that airplane, and he's helpless. Yep, helpless to save this thing at all. Oh the pain, the pain.
You haven't seen cheaper airplane sets since "Plan Nine From Outer Space". You'll hoot when they discuss closing the airport for safety (the plane's headed for a crash course with it). I thought it WAS closed. A ridiculous rescue attempt takes place using a generic government's military refueler (come on folks, we can hear the Canadian accents - fess up!). Charlton Heston would NEVER have tried this in any of the "Airport" movies.
This is really bad, worthy of outright heckling. It exists only as a tax shelter (wait til you see the closing credits for the governments of Canada and Quebec), but they must have padded those actual expenses, 'cause there's not a morsel of money showing on screen.
Watch "Airspeed" in the late afternoon one day, when those afternoon specials used to come on. It'll make you pine for whiny teens with tougher problems, like no date for the prom, or killer acne. Because this landing jet airplanes stuff is a breeze. Just ask the brat.
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