This typically grim and moody Hellman outing, which can be best described as a thinking man's low-budget B-movie action/adventure opus, was shot in the Phillippines on a shoestring budget concurrently with the war picture "Back Door to Fury." Both films star a then unknown, pre-stardom, up-and-coming Jack Nicholson, who later rejoined forces with Hellman for the outstanding existential Westerns "Ride in the Whirlwind" and "The Shooting." The plot for "Flight to Fury" centers on six ruthless, desperate survivors of a doomed plane flight that crashes in the humid, dangerous Filipino jungle who spar with each other over a cache of expensive diamonds. Cardboard cut-out hunk Dewy Martin's blah, underwhelming performance as the ineffectual decent dude would-be hero leaves a great deal to be desired, but luckily Fay Spain, Jack Nicholson and especially longtime favorite Filipino exploitation feature character actor supreme Vic Diaz are also on board to compensate for Martin's off-putting blandness. Platinum blonde firecracker Spain portrays a bewitching, aggressively flirtatious femme fatale with wickedly alluring come-hither aplomb. Nicholson, intense and restrained, excels as a caustic, mustached, cheerfully murderous killer with a smooth smartaleck attitude and a sick infatuation with death. And Diaz, sporting a full head of shiny slicked-back hair, a neatly tailored suit, and a haughty, unctuous disposition, does a splendidly sleazy'n'smarmy Peter Lorre-like turn as a sickeningly suave'n'slimy calculating worm of a diamond smuggler who refuses to let a broken leg impede his chances of getting his fat grubby paws on the loot.
A bleak, cynical, fatalistic, extremely amoral and relentlessly downbeat rumination on the severe repercussions of blind, unthinking greed and brutal, unyielding self-preservation at any cost, "Flight to Fury" benefits significantly from Hellman's taut, no-frills direction, Nicholson's terse, tight, profound, sharply penetrating, but never pretentious script, several shockingly bloody outbursts of sudden, savage, yet quite stirring violence, Mike Accion's stark, polished black and white cinematography, a sweaty, paranoid, claustrophobic atmosphere which never lets up for a second, Nester Roble's nicely brooding gloom-doom score, and a compact, briskly paced 73 minute running time that gets right down to business with a pleasingly straightforward sense of no-nonsense narrative economy. Highly recommended.