Snakes on a Plane, this is not. It IS a zombie movie. It DOES take place on a plane, however. I liked how the entire picture was set on the plane, with the exception of a few cuts to a pentagon staff room, where the military was trying to decide whether or not to first) alert the president, and second) shoot down the plane. The premise is pretty simple. A couple of scientists, contracted by Medcon, have discovered a new strain of the Malaria virus in a rare species of mosquito, located in an isolated area in Vietnam. This is the rarest kind of malaria because it kills it's host in seconds, but then regenerates them shortly thereafter. So, they test the virus on Dr. Kelly Thorp, the wife of Dr. Lucas Thorp (Dale Midkiff) and then contain her in some kind of bio-unit, and stick that unit in the cargo hold of a Paris bound commerical flight because, apparently, Medcon can't really afford to charter their own.
It's pretty straightforward actually. See, the plane flys into an awful storm system, but the pilot (Raymond Barry) instills confidence by saying "not to worry. We'll deviate left and thread the needle". I think I'd rather him just fly over it, but anyway, the ride get's bumpy and that bio-unit is jarred loose. The armed guard in the biohazard suit is quickly zombiefied, but not before he unloads a magazine from his uzi into the fuse box. Yes, all planes of this ilk have basement like fuse boxes in the cargo holds. If you don't believe me, email the FAA, it's standard regulation. So, now, the copilot, has to go down to the cargo hold to check things out, but the chief Medcon bozo is worried, so he sends Dr. Dale Midkif (Pet Semetary) and Dr. Sebastian down to the cargo hold with the copilot. Evidently, these cargo holds are located at the end of a labyrinthine maze of tin foil lined cardboard, but once there, Midkiff and friend are made a quick meal of (at least they still serve dinner on international flights) and the copilot runs back to the short term safety of the cockpit.
Sadly, no one believes the poor copilot, who has pretty much gone insane, but then a prisoner being transported on the plane, played by John Malkovich, goes missing, so maybe he killed the two docs down below? So, now, the governement agent named Truman (David Chisum), overseeing the transporting of Malkovich, teams up with mumbling bohemian Federal Air Marshall Richard Tyson (the mumbling, not quite bohemian step father in Big Bad Wolf) to go back down to the cargo hold and bring back the prisoner. Only, it's not the prisoner, but a few malarified zombie bitches, who've eluded detection by crawling into the ductwork (again standard on all major airlines) connecting to the rest of the plane. Later, we learn it couldn't have been Malkovich nawing on all those people because he's a vegetarian. It's at this point that total mayhem ensues and apparently, in a response to 9-11, everyone, including passengers, are allowed to have guns on a plane. I counted about a thousand rounds being expelled and there was even a makeshift bomb that, somehow, incinerated, dozens of zombies but left the fuselage in tact. The zombies in this picture make an awful wraith-like screeching sound before plunging into your neck and secretly aiming little concealed hoses that shoot out geysers of the red stuff. I was sad when the nun had her legs chewed off. Unfortunately, there was a "mile high club" scene that went absolutely nowhere, so clearly they learned nothing from snakes on a plane.
I liked the pilot, played by Raymond J. Barry (Senator Dick Matheson, in the X files) who was on his last flight before retiring to a nice peaceful life of Alaskan cruises and Hawaiian beaches. I liked the black character in this one, the professional golfer named William "you can call him 'Long Shot' " Freeman. His wife, Anna, was a jealous alchoholic that got mad whenever Long Shot would stroke his putter while in his seat. Anyway, the pentagon sends out a few F-16s to shoot down the plane, so time is limited and, checking my watch I notice there's only about 10-15 minutes left. By this point, Barry (the pilot, remember) is dead, but not quite dead, so they have to get to the cockpit, so that Malkovich can land the plane. Malkovich once stole a drug lords jet and crash landed it, so that's how we know, very early on, that he'll be the one landing that thing, which is a more realistic spin on Snakes on a Plane, which had Big Leroy land the thing because he once set a record in some video game. On the way to the cockpit, the last remaining stewardess pokes an umbrella through a zombies head and then opens it, and at this scene i kinda got pissed off. What is it with the laws of physics in these movies? a flimsy plastic umbrella is not going to poke through a recently dead skull. Perhaps if that zombie had been dead a few more months and the bone had turned somewhat gelatinous, but at this point in the decomposing stages, no fucking dice, it's just not happening. I was with this picture up until that point, but there's only so much shit I can buy.
Continuing, there's a great scene where Truman shoots a zombie twice in the chest and Richard Tyson follows that up with a gunshot to the crotch area and then Tyson says, "two in the chest, one in the balls, that's what I always say"...and it made me kinda want to hang with him. Even convicted felon John Malkovich is given a gun, but he couldn't hit the broad side of a fuselage, although if he was aiming for that seat cushion I'd commend him by saying "good shot". Sadly, Tiger...Long Shot and wife don't make it all the way...and sacrifice themselves by opening the emergency exit, which, I keep hearing is something you don't want to do when 30,000 feet in the air, but now it looks kinda fun, especially if you're cornered by zombies. Before getting into the cockpit, Malkovich is accosted by an elderly zombie and we think he's finished because she bites him on the arm, but then he yells out because she's "gumming him to death" instead and everything is ok, but it was still good for a laugh.
Now, our TRUE heroes of Flight 239 are safely in the cockpit and Malkovich can finally land the plane, but only if he can switch off the autopilot and he'd better hurry because the F-16 has moved into firing position...and suddenly it does....fire. Well, the missile takes about a minute to arrive, because that's how long it takes to switch off the autopilot and take evasive action, but then they remembered they're in a 747, so evasive maneuvering isn't really in the cards for them, but thankfully the F-16 pilot isn't the best shot, so the missile just opens up a hole in the side of the plane and it's no big deal because they were about to land anyway and it also evened out the pressure a bit because before "Long Shot" and his wife said adios, they opened the exit on the opposite side of the plane. So, now they're level and land on a mountain. I was confused because I thought they were flying to Paris, but then towards the end they were restricted from flying over Canadian airspace, so maybe they moved Paris to Quebec or something. We are set up for a sequel, because one of the Zombies that blew out of the plane at 30,000 feet landed in the engine, but he held on before burning up completely and then after the plane crash landed, he pulled out half his charred corpse and started making faces at the camera. But don't take my word for it, watch this one yourself.
Recommended if your local video store is out of the following zombie titles:
Army of Darkness, Astro-Zombies, The Beyond, Beyond Re-animator, Boy Eats Girl, Dead Alive, Bride of Re-animator, Cemetary Man, Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things, Bud The C.H.U.D., City of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead (original & remake), Day of the Dead (original and the yet to be released remake), Day of the Dead 2: Contagiun (not related to Day of the Dead in any way, and I've never seen it, but I'm sure it's better), Dead & Breakfast (awful), Dead & Buried, Dead Heat, Dead Meat, Evil Dead I & II, Gangs of the Dead, Fido (comes out next week), Hell of the Living Dead, Hood of the Living Dead, House of the Dead 2, Land of the Dead, Lifeforce, Night of the Comet, Night of the Creeps, any Night of the Living Dead (even the terrible colorized version), the Dale Midkiff classic Pet Semetary, Re-animator, All Resident Evils, Return of the Living Dead 1-5, Return of the Blind Dead, The Serpent and The Rainbow, anything by Rob Zombie, Slither, Severed, Tombs of the Blind Dead, Undead, Zombi II (the one with the shark vs zombie battle) and Zombi III (the one that stinks), Zombigeddon, and Weekend at Bernies II. If none of these are available, you can't go wrong renting this guy.
Thanks and God bless.