What happened to the passengers? What happened to the captain? And more importantly, what happened to that big bag of cash? Very spoilery. (If your looking for my 4-star review, it’s here. Or check out my article “Feet wet!” Dipping our toes into Plane)
It’s New Year’s Eve and Captain Brodie Torrance is running late for his own Trailblazers flight, 119. Making it through security and to the cockpit, he meets Samuel Dele, his co-pilot. Samuel is from Hong Kong and is trying to balance family life with his demanding job. Torrance’s wife is dead, his daughter at university in California.
There are few passengers coming on board — only 14 — but there’s a massive storm ahead. Also on board is recaptured fugitive Louis Gaspare, handcuffed to an officer taking him back to Toronto on a murder charge. He apparently killed someone 15 years ago, and has recently been discovered living under a different name in Bali.
It’s an old plane, light on luxury though with a dedicated crew of attendants, headed by Bonnie Lane.
They take off but hit bad turbulence, then the plane is struck by lightning, leaving them without communications or power. With only 10 minutes’ battery power left, he and Dele try to control the plane and bring it down, desperately looking for a place to land. Meanwhile the officer accompanying Gaspare gets out of his seat to fetch his phone which has fallen on the floor; flight attendant Isabella goes to get him back in his seat but the plane lurches and both are killed.
As Dele and Torrance look for a landing spot, Torrance tells Bonnie to prepare the passengers for ditching in the sea, something he never expected to have to do. Then Torrance spies land, and they fly over a densely-forested island until he spots a road and brings the plane down. Their mid-air fuel dumps fails on one side, leaving them vulnerable to fire, so as soon as they land Brodie moves to get the passengers outside.
At Trailblazers HQ in New York crisis management expert David Scarsdale is brought in, and he’s unimpressed with whoever sent the plane through such a terrible storm. Every minute matters, he says, and tells Trailblazer’s owner the unstable situation in that area means they’ll have to bring in mercenaries. Meanwhile he gets the comms people writing press releases covering every possible outcome from hijacking to a total disappearance.
At the crash site surviving passengers and crew build a shelter to keep out of the sun. Gaspare is sitting away from the others, still handcuffed. Brodie refuses to unlock him so Louis refuses to engage further.
Brodie and Dele examine the damaged mechanics of the plane; Brodie has a theoretical plan to reroute some wiring to get more power from the battery. He then goes into the cabin and bags up both bodies, also rummaging through the dead guard’s bag; he finds his gun, which he takes, and Gaspare’s knife, which has a military symbol on it.
Brodie realises there is 1000 square miles of area to be searched because of where the last known communication was. Dele tells him about the dangers if they are on the island of Jolo, that if they have landed there the situation is very bad. They resolve to tell only Bonnie.
When Louis attacks a passenger videoing him, Brodie decide to go for help and take Louis with him. He changes out of his uniform and tells his passengers he and Gaspare are going to look for a facility they flew over when trying to land.
Meanwhile in a nearby village, local warlord Datu (the title means leader) Junmar is told that a plane has been spotted and has probably landed near the mine.
Brodie asks Louis about the knife; he tells the captain he joined the French Foreign Legion after running away to avoid a murder charge at 18, after being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He asks for his knife, and the whereabouts of the officer’s gun, but Brodie isn’t biting. After talking some more Brodie turns around to find Gaspare has vanished.
At Trailblazers HQ in New York, Scarsdale is getting background on Torrance. He likes what he sees, including footage of Brodie punching in retaliation an unruly passenger, an incident which resulted in his demotion from the best routes to where he works now.
Dele is still working on the plane. He gets some power back, to his own surprise and delight.
Brodie makes it to the near-derelict facility. He finds an old phone and reconnects the wires to get a dial tone. He calls Trailblazers HQ but the receptionist answering the call doesn’t believe it’s him; he does manage to get through to his daughter and tells her they are in the Jolo cluster, but is attacked by a mystery assailant. After a brutal fight which sees Brodie nearly strangled, he kills the attacker. Hearing gunshots he hides behind a desk, but it’s Louis who has already killed several terrorists, and taken their weapons. Exploring the building they find a room with a camera on a tripod, with bloodstains — and passports — on the concrete floor. On the camera is footage of hostage missionaries asking for ransoms or they will be killed.
Brodie realises the passengers are likely to be taken as hostages and he and Louis start to rush back to the plane. before they get there they hear gunshots.
Scarsdale sends off the mercenaries with an ETA of three hours. They will find the plane and parachute in (with half a million in emergency cash in case they need to buy their way out).
The rebels, including Junmar, arrive at the plane. At first the passengers are delighted, thinking they are to be rescued. Dele tells the rebels he is in charge and they demand a passenger list, which Bonnie supplies. A woman passenger runs off screaming and is shot dead; her screaming husband is then held still and swiftly beheaded. Louis and Brodie watch the scene unfold from the jungle edge nearby.
The surviving passengers are loaded onto a bus and driven way. Brodie and Louis attack two rebels who have stayed behind. They kill one and the remaining one talks, telling them the passengers are being taken to a warehouse by the river in the village of Dandulit. Brodie decides to go after them. Louis kills the second rebel. Brodie discovers Dele’s repair work in the plane, then leaves a message for any rescuers scrawled on a shirt in the cockpit along with his crew badge and lanyard: that the passengers are hostages in Dendulit, and he is going to find them.
At Trailblazers HQ they have finally heard Brodie’s call, and find the plane using satellite imagery. Scarsdale’s mercenaries land. They find Brodie’s message in the cockpit and realise it’s not a simple in and out — there’s now a hostage situation. Scarsdale tells Tony there won’t be any local search and rescue so the mercenaries will need help getting the passengers and crew out. Tony is pulling in favours but it will be 24 hours before the Philippines government will send in help with military back up.
The passengers are being forced to make hostage videos by their captors. Louis and Brodie get to the village and see boats being fuelled up, realising that once the passengers are taken from the island they will never be found. They kill two of the rebels, Louis matter of fact and Brodie still squeamish, though he’s becoming less so as the situation escalates. They find the passengers and take out two more guards, then release the passengers. They creep quickly and quietly to the same bus they were brought in on.
Louis has discovered there are more fighters on the only road out, and he won’t be able to hold them all off. Brodie decides to let himself be captured as a distraction to give the passengers a chance of escaping — Riley, one of there passengers, has agreed to drive the bus out. Brodie tells Louis that as the captain he’s worth a lot to the terrorists, who won’t kill him. He walks off and gives himself up.
The rebels rough him up badly and he’s taken to the second in command. He asks to speak to Junmar. He tells Junmar he’s got through to Manila and help is coming; Junmar is scathing, disbelieving him and stating everything on the island is his property anyway. Junmar tells Brodie he will kill him: as captain he is important and his death will get people’s attention, and ransoms for the others. “Fuck you,” says Brodie and waits to die. Junmar’s deputy goes to shoot him but before he can, his head is blown off by the arriving mercenaries. A gunfight ensues, and Brodie and the mercenaries escape to the bus and drive off.
Junmar is furious and upset at his soldiers’ deaths, and demands everyone head to the plane.
On the bus, Brodie is told they need a contingency plan as it’s 24 hours til rescue. Brodie tells him he has a plan!
Back at the plane Brodie tells the passengers that 24 hours is too late. Instead they will have to fly out on the plane. He and Dele have got power back and he asks the passengers to trust him one last time, as he is determined to get back to his daughter.
Back at Trailblazers headquarters Terry is arguing with Tony that the plan is terrible and they might all die; Scarsdale points out they are being hunted.
The rebel convoy is approaching as Brodie tries to fix the plane brakes. The rebels arrive and there’s a heavy duty gun battle between them and the mercenaries. Brodie tells the mercenaries he’ll leave the plane steps down so they can get on at the last minute. Louis tells Brodie he can’t get on the plane and Brodie wishes him luck. “You too my capitan,” replies Louis and they shake hands.
Brodie is still trying to run to the plane but Junmar is targeting him specifically. Brodie is shot in the leg but makes it onto the plane and into the cockpit. The doors won’t shut so he says to keep them all open so they’re balanced. Dele tells him the avionics are still broken, and they start the engine, turning the plane around.
Outside, Louis is still fighting — out of ammo, he heads for a bag to reload and discovers it’s the mercenaries’ cash bag.
“Aim for the pilot,” says Junmar as the plane starts to move and turn round. Brodie gets on the radio to HQ and Terry demands he stay put with the plane. Brodie informs Skarsdale they are flying manual, and he has a maximum 300 mile flying range. He tells Scarsdale to find him a place to land. The last of the mercenaries make it onto the plane steps as it’s moving.
One of the rebels aims a missile at the plane — Louis, still out there fighting, blows the man’s head off and the missile goes wide. Brodie aims the plane at Junmar full throttle and as both men’s tired eyes and perfect gnashers reflect off each other, he squishes the rebel leader under the plane’s wheels.
Louis smiles at the retreating plane, and leaves for the jungle with the bag of cash.
The plane starts losing power in the right engine, flying low and hitting trees. When they can get no more power from it Dele shuts the engine down.
Trailblazer HQ tell Brodie to climb and go faster or they will stall, but they can’t as they’re depressurised with no doors and an engine down.
Low on fuel, and with an engine gone, Brodie needs a new landing place. They are told to head to Siasi, an island 50 miles away, which has a small airport. The staggering, swaying, almost disintegrating plane just makes it to the runway and they land, passengers braced for impact, coming to a stop just over the edge of the runway. At Trailblazers HQ everyone claps. “One minute at a time,” says Brodie to Samuel in the cockpit, something he said to his co-pilot during their 10 minute countdown when they initially tried to find land during the storm.
As rescue vehicles arrive, Brodie goes into the cabin where everyone claps. The mercenaries and passengers leave the plane to be helped by the rescue team; the crew huddle round Brodie. Dele tells him it’s been an honour; Brodie responds that the younger man did a good job. Bonnie hugs Brodie and the crew exit the plane, leaving their captain, who wants a moment alone. He’s tearful, then gets up and limps off the plane. Smiling to himself as he sits on the rear steps and calls his daughter, he tells her he’s coming home. The plane’s nose is pointing to the road out.