Passenger 57 is another one of those ‘just add star’ projects lying about in pending trays all over Hollywood, existing as expensive scrap paper until it can be teamed with an appropriately big name in the pursuit of quick cash.
Well in the early 90s up and coming Wesley Snipes went through a pile of these projects too. Drop Zone, The Art of War, and Passenger 57, a lacklustre right place at the wrong time affair that sees him singlehandedly ward off an entire squad of terrorists armed with only airline cutlery…
Wes is Cutter, a once crack FBI agent who retired after the death of his wife, now headhunter to handle security for large firms. It is on the way to one such interview that Cutter finds himself on a passenger plane full of other travellers, only among them is Charles Raine, the notorious British super villain and terrorist. Raine is in custody on the way to trial and a certain death sentence, but we all know that this isn’t going to last don’t we?
I can just short cut the entire review by saying it is Under Siege on a plane, which was itself Die Hard on a boat. So I guess this is Die Hard on a boat on a plane, with every iteration filtering out much needed entertainment value.
Raine’s escape is super easy, especially given that he is world famous and universally loathed mass killer… flying coach with only a couple of chaperones. Cutter’s take down is similarly effortless – if a little more convoluted. His hardest feat seems to be managing to clumsily shoehorn in the film’s catchphrase “Always bet on black”, which sounded nifty in the trailer and my memory, but is entirely unnecessary to the film and immediately seems out of context during the very conversation it appears in.
Wes gets to shoot some guys, purse his lips and look angry. The British guy gets to do a forgettable Julian Sands impression (surely Mr Sands would have been available) and another ‘loose end’ of a script is pushed through the Hollywood sausage factory.
All in a day’s filler.
Final Rating – 6 / 10. Wesley gets his McClane on… He wishes.