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Lou Diamond Phillips,
Chicago air traffic controller Jack Harris is a wreck with guilt nightmares after a major airplane crash that killed all 174 aboard. He gives up the job and designs air traffic control games in Phoenix. Five years later, his ex-colleague T.C. Bryant, also transferred to Phoenix, desperately asks him to help out short-term, given desperate staff shortage on New Year's Eve with a bad storm predicted. A power outage hits, and the storm has caused their workload to multiply. Colleagues welcome him in very different states of mind but he quickly proves his capabilities, alas then the fatal memories start creeping up again: will his lack of self-confidence cause another drama? Written by
KGF Vissers / DA77
It takes several months for a seasoned controller to learn the peculiarities of each facility and receive several weeks of on the job training and be recommended by several journeyman controllers before he would be allowed to work any position. See more »
On an average day above the United States, over 200,000 aircraft carry more than 2,000,000 people guided by less than 3,000 air traffic controllers.
"My biggest fear? When you've done all you can do and you still have to listen as the image disappears from your screen." - Air Traffic Controller, Los Angeles En Route Center
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Has some good scenes, but falls short of being a great movie
As an aviation enthusiast, I was interested in this movie, but technical errors and some flaws in the plot made the movie fall short of being great.
One scene starts off with a 747 flying through clouds. As this flight evolves into a state of emergency, we later find out that the plane was really a 737. Anyone who's been at an airport knows the difference between the two.
From the opening scene Kiefer Sutherland's character alludes to the home expansion project he's working on, presumably because of a new kid on the way. We never see the wife or this new kid, or what effect the stress an air traffic controller goes through has on a family. Including scenes with the wife and kid could have added something to the movie.
Ever since the end of Happy Days, we do not see much of Henry Winkler on TV or on the screen, but he effectively plays the role of a mechanic, frustrated by budget constraints and using the "I told you so" attitude when a problem arises. Kelly McGillis is also a performer seen less often these days, but does well as the savvy and assertive airport administrator.
The performers did their homework when it came to radio protocol and terminology. So often in the past, this is done so poorly. Hollywood may have finally caught on to this.
Another problem I had is that the movie appeared to have taken some of its content from the United Airlines DC-10 crash landing in Sioux City in 1989. They then took this incident and tweaked it a little to fit the story better. If the electrical components are fried and hydraulics are disabled, why was the distressed plane able to extend its landing gear? If only UAL flight 289 could have been so lucky ten years ago!
I think that it's a good movie, but not a great one... 6/10
13 of 15 people found this review helpful.
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