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Uninspiring narrative



DULL AFFAIR: Flight of the Phoenix... so pedictable

The Flight of the Phoenix

The bad guys in Flight of the Phoenix have to be the dumbest villains of the year. The armed Mongolian desert smugglers use a corpse for shooting practice, get ambushed by helpless survivors of a plane crash who have nothing but a single revolver, then bide their time watching these guys re-build the plane ("They are waiting for us to become weak," justifies one of the survivors after they find out they are being watched), so what if they actually outnumber the survivors 10:1, armed and on horse-backs!

"Just watch. They will come right when the plane takes off, chase it to the edge of the cliff... and the plane will take off leaving the horsemen behind," a friend confidently guessed, 10 minutes before the bad guys did exactly all of that. Only one man knows why the bad guys didn't attack before the climax, and that is John Moore, director of this 1965 remake.

With a knot like survivors of a plane crash rebuilding the plane to save themselves, Flight of the Phoenix had a promising premise for a tale of hope, spirit, teamwork and determination to take off, especially after the breathtakingly shot plane crash sequence in the beginning. But soon, the plot too nosedives and crash-lands into a barren narrative stripped of soul, with the screenplay leaving the characters half-baked and in situations, which seem contrived.

The proceedings, however, are salvaged by Dennis Quaid as Captain Frank Towns and his egotistical power struggle with an eccentric and rather effeminate Elliot, is the high-point of this film. All things changed from the original rob the movie of its class.

The original gained its strength from range and variety of the characters and the first rate performances.

Here, the cast is let down by a weak script, weaker characters and uninspiring direction.

However, with at least a couple of good lines thrown in, decent camera work and Dennis Quaid's charisma, Flight of the Phoenix just about rises to be a time-pass adventure movie you can watch after you are done checking out all the Tamil New Year blockbusters.

SUDHISH KAMATH

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