Reel Advice from the Video Store Guy
By Steve Anderson
June 16th, 2004

Flight 7500

Flight 7500
Directed by Takashi Shimizu
Written by Craig Rosenberg
Starring Ryan Kwanten, Amy Smart, Leslie Bibb
76 min

Sometimes it's hard to pass up a movie--much like a particular dish--on the strength of its recipe alone. With the writer/director of The Grudge coupled with perhaps the best thing about "Rat Race" in Amy Smart, it's hard not to pass the combination up. But a whole must always be more than the sum of its parts, and Flight 7500 won't exactly deliver.

Flight 7500 takes us on a trans-Pacific flight from Los Angeles to Tokyo, a trip that will still be overnight, though considering the International Date Line may actually take its passengers back in time. I'm never particularly sure. There will be a lot more to worry about on this trip than the perils of international dating and the spherical nature of the planet, however, as something seems to be running amok on this flight, and it's the kind of thing that could spell death for the whole lot of weary overseas travelers.

Based on Shimizu's earlier work, it's a wonder they're all not dead before they even get off the tarmac. After the events of the first two minutes, meanwhile, it really was a wonder they weren't all dead. It was surprisingly fun, though, to see all the various little vignettes playing out on the flight--the pretzel muncher, the dissatisfied married couples, the guy who had the sudden massive seizure...oh yeah, that'll happen--until things suddenly get profoundly crazy.

It does a great job of ramping up its tension, with strange little things happening here and there after the first big drop. There's just enough weirdness to make things interesting until suddenly all the big weirdness bursts into view. I'm not exactly pleased with how the whole thing turned out; it was a lot of good quality buildup for a twist that really wasn't worthy of this kind of comparatively mundane surprise. In fact, when they brought out what may have been the worst episode of "The Twilight Zone" to ever watch on an airplane--"Nightmare at 20,000 Feet"--it was a punch just entirely too well telegraphed for its own good.

The ending does feature that sound twist, and that's good for it, but since we've likely seen some variant of it before already, its impact will be somewhat lost. It's good enough for what it needed to do, but it won't distinguish itself.

Special features include a behind the scenes featurette, your choice of English or Spanish subtitles, and trailers for "Backtrack," "The Last Exorcism Part II," "Knock Knock," "Z for Zachariah," "The Duff," and "Maggie."

All in all, "Flight 7500" wasn't half bad. It wasn't that great, but aside from a twist you might well have seen coming way too soon and that won't have that great an impact when it hits, it was still a reasonably sound study in buildup and release. I expected better from a Shimizu/Smart pairing, but what I got was hardly unpleasant.