Mayday (TV Movie 2005) Poster

(2005 TV Movie)

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layer82 October 2005
So let's see: The American Navy is testing a new missile, somehow manages to miss the fact that a passenger airliner is in the test airspace, missile hits plane. Explosive decompression somehow lasts TWO FREAKING MINUTES, and sucks many people out of the plane. It's powerful enough to rip a set of bolted chairs out of the floor and out of the plane .(It's about 15 minutes into the movie, and already you can tell the people making this movie have no clue about airplanes... or basic physics for that matter.) Captain dies from lack of oxygen and the co-pilot is in a coma for the same reason. (What?!) A "weekend pilot" takes over the controls and has to land the plane. Meanwhile, both the Navy and the airline's insurance company are independently scheming to secretly destroy the crippled plane, so they can hide their idiocy and save money, respectively.

Thanks to a "sympathetic" admiral, who for much of the movie stood by while orders to destroy the plane were given and almost followed, but then declared self-righteously that his report to the Pentagon would tell it "like it happened", we can assume that justice will be done.

Of course the heroic pilot manages to bring the plane in for a dramatic landing, everyone is happy, and thanks to evidence he gathered, the insurance guys will get their just deserts as well.

The plot is unbelievable to say the least. The actors are variously over-acting, under-acting, or acting dead. (The last group did the best job, I think.) The music screams: THIS IS THE EXCITING PART! THIS IS THE SAD PART! BE ANGRY! CRY! ON THE EDGE OF YOU SEAT, NOW! After a while you tune it out. The whole movie, I mean.

Save yourself two hours, and don't watch this piece of crap.

The only reason this is getting 2 out of 10 and not 1 is because I have seen a few movies that were worse... but very few.
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Sanitized disaster.
fayremead3 October 2005
This film may have been less far-fetched than the Nelson DeMille/Thomas Block novel on which it is based, but it lacks the tension which the authors provided so well. Director T.J. Scott is obviously constrained by the network-television format, which allows little blood and no coarse language -- still, he should have let the main characters look increasingly unkempt and sweaty after the accident. Other mistakes include a subplot involving several characters who weren't in the book, and some weakly interpreted villains (Johnson suffers the most; where is his swagger and sardonic humor).

This rates a 5 because the cast members do their best, the effects are good for a TV-movie, and there are a few nice touches (at one point the film refers to a change of terminology between the 1978 and 1997 versions of the novel). It's sad, though, that "Mayday" never got a big-budget blockbuster treatment.

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Glad I taped it
joseph-hagee28 October 2005
I taped this movie so I could watch it after I read the book.The book was far better.In the book,the passengers who survived turned into zombies though oxygen deprivation and their actions threatened the survivors.One flight attendant was killed by them.There was a scene in the book where Kelly's character took off her pantyhose to close the cockpit door so the passengers wouldn't get in.Sadly that wasn't in the movie either.Also,I know that this was a TV movie,and that the acting wasn't going to be the greatest,but at least hire actors who can act well enough to get you caught up in the story,I'm specifically referring to Aidan and Kelly,somebody else said they acted like they were on a Disney World ride,and I agree.I kept looking at the tape timer to see how long it would be until it was over.If it comes on again,just tape it and watch something else.
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This movie should have been 10 minutes long
tpickering2 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Spoiler alert.

An explosive decompression of an airliner traveling at supersonic speeds would have killed everyone on the plane instantly, and even if they had gotten their air masks on, they would have frozen to death before the plane got to a safe altitude. But all that is moot, because a plane traveling at supersonic speeds would have broken up when hit by a missile (warhead or no warhead) accelerating at "one mile a minute". It lost credibility in the first few minutes so I turned it off after that.

From the previews it appeared to devolve into some sort of military conspiracy where they wanted the plane to go down and everyone to die. Being in the military, I found that both fairly offensive and highly unlikely. People that write these things seem to forget that the military consists of your neighbors, spouses, sons, daughters, etc. They are not likely to be able, or willing, to cover something like this up.

Typical TV drivel... watch something else.
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"I swear to god this this script was written with crayons."
DashTheGreat3 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
First of all, I guess we have to give this movie some form of credit. As far as TV movies go, they aren't exactly the pick of the litter. This movie, however, wasn't just bad: It was downright hilarious. The viewer is stupefied into a trance as the missile strikes the plane, somehow causing some to fall out, while others stay in. The African-American flight attendant is thrown down the stairs, rolls around in impossible places, and then finds his way to the top floor again. I could have sworn that I was watching some kind of Hollywood Ghost movie, but that is beside the point. The sheer fact that everybody dies from lack of oxygen, yet animals (such as the puppies) survived was not only ridiculous: It was just plain insulting. I also loved the part where the guy in the computer room somehow passed out for no reason- nothing was even there to kill him. People were randomly dying for no reason, and one of the dead women even lifted her head up and looked at the camera. The acting was ridiculously stupid, as the week-end pilot, teenager, and flight-attendant acted like they were on some sort of Disney World ride. "MayDay" shows no real knowledge of airplanes, or cabin pressure. People were being sucked in from across the plane, yet people right next to the crack weren't moving. The plot to kill the pilot was horrible, and the printing of the script just made it worse. Finally, the absolute worst part of this movie had to be when the firemen came out with the dogs. I love the fact that they were rescued, but the "nod" made me feel like this was a fire-safety system commercial. Better Luck Next Time (But Let's Hope Not).
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Fair To Weak Adaptation Of A Superior Novel
Eric-62-23 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I have been a fan of the novel "Mayday" since it first came out in 1978 which was when pilot Thomas Block had sole author's credit. It was a very effective, chilling take on the familiar "airplane disaster" type story that had become popular in the wake of the Airport movies. I also enjoyed the 1997 update which gave us a more dramatically effective ending. Because of that intimate familiarity with both versions of the novel, I really had low expectations for a two hour TV production, because (1) I knew that would not give us enough time to do the story justice and (2) we would be spared depiction of what is the novel's really most chilling aspect, the fact that the surviving passengers are turned into brain-dead zombies for all intents and purposes, and are as much an obstacle to the plane's ability to get back as the conspiracies of Commander Sloan and the Airline executive/Insurance company respectively.

So, coming in with low expectations, I came away for the most part not too bothered by the changes that were made. I was in fact grateful that the Navy comes off better in this telling of the tale than they do in the novel with Lieutenant Matos ultimately defying Commander Sloan, and Admiral Hennings deciding to blow the whistle on Sloan's actions (in the novel, Sloan manages to trick Matos into crashing his plane so he can be killed as a witness, and the guilt-ridden Admiral Hennings commits suicide. Sloan ultimately gets arrested when its revealed his office was tapped). Also, I was glad they cut out the implausibly stupid romance of John Berry and flight attendant Sharon Crandall that developed along the way.

On the down side, the film was stuck with the dated source material by having a cockpit crew of three which was normal back in the 70s but is no longer so today. Also, the ending was soft-pedaled completely, leaving out the brain damage effects consequences to the passengers, and implying that many of them will ultimately recover, and leaving out the improved ending of the 97 novel where airline exec Johnson boards the plane to try and remove the incriminating printout documents and has his confrontation with Berry. The subplot added of other passengers trapped in the Conference Room proved pointless, and the matter of Harold Stein still being alive at the end, rather than committing suicide earlier was a weak point too.

All in all, if you're a fan of the novel, you'll consider this a tepid "by-the-numbers" adaptation that failed to take advantage of how more chillingly effective the story could have been on the big screen. If you're not familiar with the novel at all, I won't blame you for finding the whole thing wildly implausible and silly and would recommend getting the novel, whether the 78 original or the 97 rewrite.
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I would rather look at the bricks on my wall.
Sicongli4 October 2005
Okay, so i was excited to see this movie since the ad on NBC was such a thriller. So, i cancelled my hocky practice and turned on the TV with a hot bowl of orville popcorn.

I was in absolute disbelief how scientifically inaccurate and plot-less this movie is. The only thing that kept me from pressing the remote is the thought of Kelly Hu Nude in the shower in the movie "scorpion." Oh, and what happened to the "not enough fuel?" as Aiden somehow magically pilots the plane back to san fransico.

Anyways, put it this way, T.J. Scott would have made about 10 millions dollars more if he simply had made Kelly Hu show more skin.
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I liked it.
x_sweettragedy3 October 2005
I thought it was good. Though I also heard it is true, not too sure. Thats why I came to this site. I was wondering if anyone knew if there was any truths that this movie was the basis upon because if that is true then it should be opening a lot of peoples eyes to a lot of things.

I don't see why people are giving it such bad credit - I thought it was well plotted and well done. Not to mention it does keep you on the edge of your seats!

Does anyone know if there was any truths in it though? IT would be great to know for sure or not. Most of the movie was about correct on what would happen also. (air compressure, shock, and the like).

I seriously thought it was a good movie, and NBS was right to show it. It wasn't a waste of television, if you ask me.

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A Decent to Watch
howitzer438813 October 2005
I saw it, and I thought it was a very decent movie. It is certainly not a waste of time, and it was like a breath of fresh air compared to all the other crap showing on local broadcast TV. The plot was not original, but I like how they presented it. And I also thought the jet was cool. The acting was 'OK'. I have certainly seen worse in the movie theater, but it could have been better. The music score fit the movie well and the actors were OK. The plane was cool to look at. The plot, although not original, was interesting. It also has a good cliff hanger to it, and at one point in the movie I was afraid of the dreaded "To be Continued" (this was before I knew I was watching a movie). The over all feel to it was like a really good episode of "24".

Bottom Line: Not a waste of time, but not exactly super-fantastic either.
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Hurry up and end this, we're running out of time!
tmills7773 October 2005
This is a film that has the mark of an effort which runs as if it is a mini-series but suddenly realizes that, "Hey, our two-hour allotment is almost up, better end this thing quick." The first half of the film runs well, and engrosses the viewer, but there are too many threads left dangling and not enough time to tie them up neatly. What happens to the insurance people who want the plane to crash so that they can wiggle out of liability? What happens on Wake Island? Will the report go in about the errant missile? And wasn't the missile still intact when it hit the plane? How will they explain that? Too many holes and a movie that needed to run three hours at the least.
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Not bad at all
Gowin4me3 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
As far as made for TV disaster movies go I think this movie is on par with others if not a little above that. The story line of the movie is simple, but it is effective in conveying emotions of what is going on, and the motives of the people that do not want the plane to land. Charles S Dutton does an excellent job in a minor role, it is a perfect compliment to his role on Threshold. Aiden Quinn does an excellent job as the hero of the movie, and his character was written in such a way that you can believe he is an everyday person who happened to be caught up in this whole mess. In her limited role Gail O'Grady does an excellent job, it makes me remember her character from Medusa's child; except instead of being stuck in the bad situation she is trying to dictate the situation from an insurance/business point of view. The rest of the cast is solid in their roles, and right on par with most made for TV movie casts. As with all disaster movies there are obviously certain elements that you cannot believe easily, but if you get away from that and watch the movie for what it is then you will definitely enjoy this movie. If you have any first hand, or at the least close personal experience to any kind of plane disaster I would not recommend this since it may stir up bad memories, but for everyone else it is definitely worth seeing once.
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This is an insult to the watcher's intelligence
darkside200324 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This is one of the most ludicrous movies i've ever seen. The plot has been probably written by a 12 year old, and there are so many evident absurdities that i wonder who it was that deemed reasonable to throw away money to produce this excrement. The acting is so poor that even my butcher could have done better. The fact that an amateur pilot can bring back from the middle of the ocean and then safely land in the middle of a storm at dusk a damaged jetliner, short on fuel and with all the instrument panels off..., well, draw your own conclusions Oh, i forgot - our hero, as said, is a weekend pilot, but somehow he gets tricked into switching off the fuel pumps: even an idiot with absolutely no knowledge of airplanes would guess that maybe closing the fuel pumps leads to an engine cut off, which isn't quite an advisable thing to do in the middle of a flight, let alone doing it on a damaged aircraft. Adding more insult, he manages to restart the engines and recover the plane from a free-fall leveling it off at 1000 feet just seconds before crashing into the ocean. This trash should rank in the bottom 250 of all time.
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That's all there is??
mntodc5 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
OK, I have to admit - I became entranced in this movie switching to it after the missile had already hit the plane - I was confused as to the plot, but it held my interest until the end - couldn't wait to see "what happens next". Plus, the cast gave the movie its raison d'etre (reason to be).

Now, they land the plane, then walk toward the media to "become heroes" (stupid last line, very comparable to the last line of the sequel to Saturday Night Fever, "I feel like struttin!"). I thought, 'this has to be a mini series', since the airline responsibility and the military secret both had to be exposed...THIS is where I thought the movie would save itself. But I find out THAT WAS IT!

Now, I'm really upset with myself for watching it. what a let down.
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not bad,considering it was made for TV
RLARKT1999 November 2006
Considering this is a made for TV movie,the special effects were above the normal TV standard. Some good movie actors,Dean Cain and Adrian Quinn star in this film. I was able to purchase a DVD copy of this film,Mayday,through the German DVD shops which can be found on the web-sites. Grant you,this a made for TV film, it was not bad. The special effects,when the missal hit the plane,was well done. If you should wish to purchase a copy of this DVD from Germany,make sure your DVD player plays the European standard,pal system,if it does not,your player will not be able to play it. Does your player play other region DVD's,check your manual. I the player was purchased in the USA or Canada,no doubt it is region one. Here in Canada,multi region DVD players are for sale,or,do this,on the internet,type in DVD hackers list,this list lists all the players that are capable of playing this region DVD. It also gives instructions on how to change the region codes on your player,many DVD player,this can be done. Good luck.
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Sad excuse for a movie...
Charles B. Owen2 October 2005
This is the usual TV movie fluff obviously tossed together to cash in on a few of those old conspiracy ideas floating around forever about airlines, the military, and evil corporations. What really astounded me, though, is the director: T. J. Scott. If you look at his credits, he's clearly a TV director, but his credits include some really powerful stuff. He directed some of the best episodes of Andromeda and La Femme Nikita. He directed what are really the best of the best of Xena including the Callisto episodes. Surely, he knows better than this nonsense. He not only agreed to direct this slop, but also involved in the writing of it.

A sure sign of a bad adaptation of a novel: Nowhere in the credits do you see mention of Nelson DeMille or Thomas Block, the authors of the book this film is based on. Clearly, they asked that their names be removed from the resulting disaster.
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Effective movie if you suspend disbelief
ldw-eg3 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
OK, so I'm a sucker for this type of "reluctant average Joe steps up and saves the day" type of movie. So what if there were plot holes big enough to fly a jetliner through? This movie follows the formula that essentially every airplane disaster movie before it follows, and every one after it will follow. If you don't know how it's going to end before the first commercial break, well then you just weren't paying attention to the first dozen of these movies. As soon as the "weekend pilot" enters the cockpit, even before he says he's a "weekend pilot", you know that he's going to successfully but barely land the plane, just like in every other airplane disaster movie.

If you can suspend disbelief -- as is required for many many successful movies -- this is an effective movie. Does anybody believe that James Bond can do all the stunts in that series of movies? No. But you suspend disbelief and enjoy the ride. I did and this movie worked for me.

It also helps that I think that insurance companies and insurance adjusters are scum of the earth. This movie hits you over the head with a sledgehammer on that point. If you hold them in high regard then you will dislike this movie.
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decent for made-for-TV
R Marie3 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This ***TV movie*** (hello? what are you expecting??) has a lot of good - and some bad - aspects. A hackneyed disaster film beginning leads to a fairly thought-provoking series of suspenseful plot turns, and the acting throughout is quite good. A few plot threads do just get dropped, like the determined naval commander ("This ship is STILL CONSIDERED DERELICT!"), the people locked in the conference room through the whole film, the Japanese guy locked in one of the bathrooms, etc. Charles Dutton and others milk it for what it's worth. Aidan Quinn is entertaining as the "weekend pilot" and the mix of characters and occasional potboiler dialog are good entertainment. This is a good casual watching movie. Good rental.
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See the film, then read the book
lowell-wiley5 October 2005
This movie does not do justice to the original book from which it was taken. About 30 years ago Tom Block's name was on the cover, and he was credited with this original book. Recently his friend and fellow writer Nelson DeMille put his name on it. The movie barely mentions Tom Block. Tom is a retired airline pilot who knows his stuff. Read the book to see that. We can guess why this was done. Some asked about afterburners and rapid or explosive decompression. Read the book, but there was a lot of funny things going on in the film with all this. Funny and dumb to a pilot. Even with so many changes it was a half way interesting film. Too bad it might take readers away from the re-released book when it ought to help to make a lot more. Film viewers will be more than pleasantly surprised if they do read Tom Block's book (well, I guess Nelson DeMille did have a good part in the writing, after all he got his name on it finally). See the film, but definitely read the book.
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Very disappointing
mthufirhawat8 July 2015
Warning: Spoilers
After having read the very dramatic book several times in the 1990s, I thought this story would make up a very good TV-Thriller. Now I've watched this movie and must say that it was a very disappointing experience.

The film does not pick up several of the best and most thrilling threads in the novel, thus getting very clunky and unexciting.

Elements missing in the film completely:

(1) After having seen the Straton going down after fuel pumps being switched off shortly before firing the second missile for the second time, Matos reports to "home plate". He then receives instructions to return to base, having not enough fuel. So Sloan pretends to Hennings (a retired Vice-Admiral) and Matos to send a re-fueler and commands Matos to ascend for a refill. The re-fueler was never sent, of course, Matos has to exit his jet, falling into the thunderstorm with his parachute, no chance to survive. After Hennings has convicted Sloan speaking in switched-off telephones, he (Hennings) commits suicide.

(2) The Co-Pilot, Daniel McVary, wakes up with severe brain damage, but all of his former physical force, and tries to regain control over steering in the cockpit. Berry hits him with a fire extinguisher, sealing the cockpit door with Crandalls tights. Shortly before landing, Daniel wakes up again and manages to open the cockpit door, bringing the plane to crash on the runway while fighting with Berry over control.

(3) Berry knows that after a successful landing, he would be a danger for those who tried to kill the survivors, and that they most certainly will try to kill any witnesses after the landing. Thus, he and Crandell mix themselves under the unconscious persons, knowing that the murderers will try to find him.

Wayne Metz and Ed Johnson (both male in the book) are searching for him, and so he recognizes them and forces them to take him with them, pretending to be a now brainless victim barely able to move. When they pass the terminal entrance together, surrounded by journalists, he reveals his true identity.

The novel would have given enough material for at least 2 hours of brilliant entertainment.

So the writers unfortunately missed the opportunity to make a real thriller out of it.
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Completely Unrealistic **Possible Spoilers**
LAV25USMC5 October 2005
While I do not have a degree in science, it was painfully obvious that those who put this "production" together had NO concept of physics. Other commenters have covered most of the glaring inaccuracies so I won't repeat them but will add that they are certainly on target. The producers and writers also had little understanding of current military technology and likewise had little comprehension of the Navy, its command structure, and how its people handle situations. I won't go into the multitude of reasons that the whole scenario the movie is built upon is so incredibly improbable that it borders on ridiculous. I will say the production crew and writers did NOT do their homework.

Having spent 23 years in the Navy, and a good deal of that time with Navy pilots I think I can speak with a bit of authority when I say that the Navy would NEVER even think of trying to "resolve" the situation in this poorly contrived plot in the manner attempted. While there certainly could be a officer with the low morals of Dean Cain's character, there would not be a whole command that would blindly follow along with something as immoral as what Cain's character was proposing. The Navy teaches it's people to think and if given an order that is obviously immoral they are not required to obey it and are in fact supposed to report it to someone above their chain of command. In speaking with some Navy pilots I know, none of them would accept an order to shoot down the airliner if there was ANY chance someone might be alive. Even if they knew for a fact everyone was dead, they would ONLY shoot it down when it posed an immediate (not just possible) danger of crashing and causing civilian casualties on the ground and given they were over the middle of the ocean, that was not the case. As support to this I point to the sad story a couple of years ago where a pro golfer's private jet plane took off from Orlando, FL. The plane decompressed as it reached altitude, and apparently was on autopilot. Because the plane did not respond to air controllers, an Air Force F-16 fighter was scrambled to investigate. From the pilot's report after making contact, everyone was certain that all aboard were dead. But the plane was allowed to continue on for hundreds of miles, run out of fuel, and crash on its own in an uninhabited area. All the F-16 did was follow the jet to ensure it did not crash into any populated areas.

It is an old, contrived, worn out plot to have the military make a mistake and then try to cover it up. Can't writers think of something new? That road has been used so often it has ruts in it. Is the Navy perfect? No. Do individuals try to hide mistakes, I imagine they do. But a mistake of this magnitude would never get as out of hand as was portrayed in this sorry excuse for a movie. I have seen worse than this and probably should have given it at least a 2, but the stereotypes were so predictable and bad, 1 out of 10.
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scary and believable
pawdog-13 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
For most people who would not know all the details of explosive decompression, etc. it was believable. The abrupt ending however, felt strange, as you did not get to enjoy the usual nitty-gritty mess that would ensue after something like this. However, later I saw that it made the movie more memorable by not continuing into the followup scenario. The most scary thing was the attitude of the company and insurance executives and the military machine, which I think are closer to the truth than most people will want to believe. Another notable aspect was the role of human error in the disaster. Maybe after Katrina people will be more able to believe how true that is, and will always be. These messages of truth embedded within this film are really what make it worth watching. Whether these messages will get through to people who only see it as an airplane disaster movie is doubtful however.

The fact that it wasn't a Hollywood movie made it easier to relate to. Aidan Quinn reminded me of Mel Gibson.
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Excellent TV movie
tashina2 October 2005
I really enjoyed this - enough so that I registered here just to vote for it. I loved Poseidon Adventure and Towering Inferno and I'd add this movie to those for an all day disaster-athon. This is the first movie I actually was sitting on the edge of my seat for. I didn't move during the last 30 minutes. Aidan did a great job - I'm not very familiar with him, but I enjoyed his acting.

There are good guys and bad guys - you've got everyone interested in this plane - the military, the president of the airline, the insurance adjuster, air traffic control, passengers. Who is trying to help the plane land safely and who hopes it won't?? After you watch the movie and think it though, there are some plot holes, mostly to do with technology, which is why I took it down to an 8. If you don't think too hard, this is an excellent movie.
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Not bad, not bad at all
V-Man3 October 2005
Given the fact that its a made for TV B-movie, it was pulled off nicely. Many complain about the realism, but how many action movies depict an actual decompression semi-accurately? At least they acknowledged that oxygen deprivation will kill or render a person unconscious. Besides that, its not an action movie like many other airplane movies. What intrigued me is the moral and ethical struggle posed. This is what the movie is trying to say, that every day things depicted in the movie can actually happen. How many already have and been covered up in such a way? As for the quirks, it was amusing to see Dean Cain in an antagonist role for once, but the so called "navy headquarters" was reminiscent of a WW2 battle room.
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Film Told A Great Deal of Truths !
whpratt13 October 2005
Most people have viewed films about problems on commercial airliners and usually it is the Same Old, Same Old theme. Well, this film had the same basic story line, but dealt with a different situation. The Military got involved and wanted to abort the entire plane and even the CEO of the Airline wanted to abort. Kelly Hu,(Sharon Crandall)," Cradle 2 the Grave",'03, was a very sexy and good looking airline attendant who had plenty of smarts in the cockpit and gave a great supporting role. Aidan Quinn,(John Berry),"Proud",'04, played an ordinary passenger on this Flight # 52 from San Francisco to Tokyo, Japan and had a pilot license. Gail O'Grady,(Ann Metz),"NYPD Blue TV Series,'93, was an insurance specialist, who made the statement, "There is a certain price we can pay on Dead Passengers" Many people were involved with the problems on this aircraft and each party had their own solution to trying to cover it up, even the helpful Insurance Company. This film did uncover what really goes on in real life, behind the scenes, when such events do happen, like the Hurrican in New Orleans. Nice entertainment for an evening.
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Trash !
dcheng-710 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I don't believe a missile test conducted by the Navy can make a mistake like that.

I don't believe the Navy would attempt to cover the mistake by destroying the plane, particularly so many witnesses around.

I don't believe the Airline boss and the Insurance manager would try to crash the plane for the sake of money.

I don't believe anyone could survive after the plane was hit by the missile, let alone dogs.

I don't believe a weekend driver could drive the plane safely back to ground.

I don't believe anyone would write a script like that.

I don't believe that Lu can still look so pretty, despite her age.

I don't believe.....................
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