This movie had it going on - a weird, unpredictable storyline, just the right amount of dark comedy, and even Mark Hamill - and then it shot itself in the foot. Airborne doesn't just jump the shark - it does cartwheels in the air while jumping the shark. I still think it's a good movie, mainly because it's so different than other films in the horror thriller genre, but it had the potential to earn some measure of cult status. I really don't understand why such a good story had to be ruined by a dumb and unrealistic twist.
This truly is the flight from hell. With unprecedented storms battering all of the UK, we join the cast and crew of the last flight permitted to take off from England. Only a smattering of passengers is left to actually board - and what a motley crew they are - along with some mysterious object in a box marked fragile. So who's on the flight manifest? You have a surly, bigshot jerk and his two henchmen, two veteran soldiers who served in Afghanistan, a very horny young couple, an American geography teacher with a motor mouth, a doctor, a young woman, and a drunk. A few of them may appear pretty normal, but there's a story behind just about all of them. The flight crew isn't exactly top notch, either. One steward and one stewardess are decent folks, but they work with a real witch (well, it rhymes with witch, anyway) and a foreign dude who just shows up saying he's replacing someone else. Meanwhile, Malcolm (an almost unrecognizable Mark Hamill) is back in the airport control room just trying to make it through his last shift before retirement. The last thing he needs is a jet to go rogue, but that's just what happens, of course - although no one could ever imagine the events actually taking place out there above the Atlantic Ocean. The trouble starts when one passenger goes missing. Only one person really seems to care, but things start to unravel as a couple more go missing later on. I won't describe anything that happens - except to say that it's increasingly weird and genuinely unpredictable (and eventually too weird for the movie's own good). Until the big twist, I was really into it and trying to guess how things might play out in the end.
Those with sensitive ears should be aware of the fact that the entire film is filled with profanity. I haven't heard this much cursing since I lived in a college dorm. That doesn't take anything away from the story, though. Some may also be interested in the fact that Mark Hamill stars in this British horror thriller. As I mentioned above, though, I honestly didn't recognize him - not until I went back to see which character Hamill portrayed. Of course, it's been a long time since Luke Skywalker graced the big screen.
I'm giving Airborne four stars because I really enjoyed the first two-thirds of the film; I should probably deduct more than one star for the final twenty-five minutes, but the overall story is still unique enough to set it apart from the hordes of unoriginal thrillers being pumped out every year.