Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Airboss (1997)

I mentioned earlier that a friend bought me a DVD collection titled Terror In The Air, which contains nine movies on two discs. The first movie of the collection, Crash Landing, isn’t very good. The second, Airborne, is much worse. But the next several are quite enjoyable, and I started to revise by overall feeling about this collection. Then I watched Airboss, a movie which makes Airborne look like a masterpiece by comparison. This is one of the worst of the worst.

It opens with shots of miscellaneous military planes in the air. Then we go to Pokalsko Airbase in the former USSR. A title card tells us it’s decommissioned. Suddenly a bunch of folks parachute in and begin killing people, people who must have seen them coming, people who had plenty of time to react. After all, it’s broad daylight. But they seem very surprised at being killed. Perhaps they were expecting friends to parachute in. Elsewhere, a woman is yelling into a man’s ear that they must stop them. Stop whom? All she knows is that the alarm was triggered. But she has no idea of the type of emergency. Unless, maybe she’s clairvoyant?

Well, the bad guys reach their target, and that’s when their leader decides to stop and give a little speech about their mission. Now? Mostly it’s to let us know what’s going on. But seriously, shouldn’t they just get on with it? Well, the leader says they’re going to steal a MIG-35 stealth bomber. And I wonder, Why are all the extras in masks, but the actors are not? Either there’s a need for secrecy or there isn’t. Hmmm. Did the leader just hand masks to people he didn’t want to hear speak on this mission? “If I give you a mask, it means shut up, no matter what.” Anyway, they steal the plane, and that woman laments, “We will never see that plane again.” Apparently, she has some sort of unnatural attachment to this particular plane.

We then go to Hafar Al Batin Oil Field in Saudi Arabia. Yes, this movie hits all the hot tourist spots. Hey, here comes that stealth bomber. And though it’s nearly dark, the man on the ground shields his eyes when looking up at it. Bombs away! Now it’s time to shield your eyes, fellah. So the plan is to target a lot of oil fields, so that one guy’s oil will be worth more. Oh no, the poor struggling oil industry is being targeted! Geez, give those guys a break, you ruthless villains! “Your oil will be worth billions more,” one villain says to another. I never thought an oil magnate could be so greedy. You’d think the billions he was already making would be sufficient.

Meanwhile, the navy and the CIA are bickering over jurisdiction regarding the case. The CIA suit threatens to go up inside the navy guy’s ass, but before he can follow through on his threat, some other guy interrupts. And the camera isn’t sure which character to focus on. This guy, no, this guy, no, that guy. Hey, does this guy have a line? Um, no, quick, back to that other guy. Hey, a wide shot would solve this issue. Or you could shoot coverage, like every other movie ever made. No? Okay, the master is all in close-ups, bouncing around like a nervous junkie. Who shoots like this? I’m too caught up in this bizarre camera decision to be able to follow any of the dialogue. A guy named Todd is given the opportunity to lead a team to solve the problem, but there are more ass-related threats, and I’m fairly certain this movie is going to end with an all-male military orgy. Poor Todd is unhappy that Frank White is being brought in on his team. But seriously, would you ever put someone named Todd in charge of anything? I wouldn’t.

I didn’t think it was possible to make air combat dull, but a flashback to a training mission proves me wrong. “Sometimes in air combat, you gotta be a little crazy, Willis.” A little bit of crazy, a whole lot of dull. But with more threats of driving a rocket into someone’s ass. I get it: the two screenwriters are super, super gay. That’s fine, and if this movie doesn’t end with a giant anal sex scene, I’m going to be upset. And how can you have a character named Willis and not have someone else say, “What you talkin’ ‘bout, Willis?” Well, whatever, the boring flashback is also a dream sequence. Ugh. Then, to spice up the exciting man-riding-in-a-jeep sequence, we repeat part of the flashback. Oh god, this movie has stopped cold, and we’re only twenty-six minutes into it.

Anyway, nothing whatsoever happens for the following ten minutes. Then the team begins its mission, which I guess is to find out who is destroying the oil fields. Frank White flies around until he hears of an oil field being attacked, and then flies to that oil field, but can’t go into restricted air space. That means more footage of planes flying around. The guy with the stolen plane fires on Frank’s plane. What about the oil field? They seem to have forgotten about that. Frank’s plane is hit, he ejects, and then he talks to himself for a while. We follow him as he walks along back to America, or wherever. So I guess the mission is on hold again. You’d think there would be more than one plane on this case, what, with billions in oil at stake. But no, it’s just this one guy. And so the movie is now about Frank walking around. And guess what? That other pilot that was shooting at him finds him. Geez, doesn’t this guy have other stuff to take care of? Oil fields to blow up and so on? Nope. He gives Frank a little history lesson, then tells him: “You, American, you killed my country. You killed me.”

Then, when the villain’s female accomplice hears Frank utter a feeble prayer, she suddenly becomes compassionate and frees him. It’s completely unbelievable, but, hey, whatever gets this movie to its conclusion, right? It leads to the villain saying, “What a day I am having.” Anyway, the military comes in to rescue Frank, and there is a lot of shooting and running and falling down, and a lot of shots of the villain speaking into a phone. It’s all very thrilling, but what about the oil fields? And, oh boy, in the middle of it all Frank starts making out with the Russian chick. Why not?

The oil guy is of course upset with the Russian guy. But haven’t they already destroyed several oil fields? Who knows? Only twenty minutes left in the movie. So anyway, all the military guys get Frank out, only to then send him back in to attack the villain. It’s a shame they didn’t think to do that earlier before they left. Now they have to parachute back in and use up more film. So there’s more shooting and running around and falling down. It couldn’t be more boring, and yet somehow someone somewhere decided this movie deserved a sequel. Actually, three sequels. It’s incredible. The villain sums up the entire film-watching experience near the end: “Life is full of little disappointments.” And then, guess what, when his plane crashes, it actually manages to smash into and blow up another oil facility. Even in death, he’s continuing to do his job. Good for him! But where the hell is the gay orgy we’ve been promised?

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