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Film Review: Passenger 57 (1992) by drax

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· @drax ·
$6.12
Film Review: Passenger 57 (1992)
![(source: tmdb.org)](https://www.themoviedb.org/t/p/original/bfkTUnwlTEN9LJiidKctZ5suAlj.jpg)


By early 1990s Wesley Snipes was already established actor in Hollywood due to the series of prominent but usually supporting or ensemble roles. He became true star after his performance in *Passenger 57*, 1992 action film directed by Kevin Hooks. 


In the film he plays the protagonist, John Cutter, top security specialist working as an advisor and instructor for an airline. As it happens, one of the plane he boarded happens to be same one carrying Charles Rane (played by Bruce Payne), bloodthirsty international terrorist who has been arrested by FBI and is about to be brought to California to stand trial for his crimes. Rane knows that he is likely to be found guilty and sentenced to death, but he has made sure that it won’t happen. His comrades have infiltrated the plane as passengers and crew and in the right moment they kill FBI agents, set Rane free and hijack the flight. Their plans, are, however, thwarted by Cutter who uses all his experience and skills to defeat them and save innocent passengers. 


*Passenger 57* was often described as “*[Die Hard](https://peakd.com/aaa/@drax/retro-film-review-die-hard-1988)* on a plane”, but it had been originally written by Stewart Raffill for Clint Eastwood as much more complicated and politically charged film dealing with complicated issues of US-Iran relations. By the time of production, script was completely simplified and given new flavour, best characterised by its line of dialogue “Always bet on black”. Main star, main actress Alex Datcher and director Kevin Hooks (whose father Robert Hooks appears in the role of FBI agent) are African Americans, which made some critics call it “black film”. Wesley Snipes, who was one of relatively few African American action stars at the time, does very good job and displays great deal of martial arts skills while performing all of his own stunts. But he is easily overshadowed by Bruce Payne, English actor who marvels at opportunity to exploit rising Anglophobia in 1990s Hollywood and portrays one of the most impressive villains of its time. Payne, with his blonde Aryan looks is perfect opposite of Snipes, and his ability to calmly speak with posh upper class accent creates effective contrast with character’s propensity for brutal violence. Snipes’ character is less interesting and basically lacks proper background (except brief flashback scene depicting traumatic event from past), but it doesn’t matter much in the film in which *Die Hard* formula was stripped to its bare bones. Hooks directs film very effectively, providing quick exposition for the sake of non-stop action, laced with some humour (like Snipes’ character being mistaken for Arsenio Hall or redneck sheriff, played by Ernie Lively, grudgingly accepting protagonist as true expert in his field). Hooks is helped by good cinematography by Mark Irwin and jazzy score by Stanley Clarke. But the greatest asset of the film is quick tempo and short running time, which doesn’t leave much opportunity for the audience to notice implausible details and plot holes in the script. *Passenger 57* isn’t particularly memorable action film, but it is quite effective and easily digestible for most fans of the genre. 



RATING:  6/10 (++)



https://youtu.be/cqftFJdAvtQ




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