What You Need To Know:
FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX is not a profound movie, although it could have been. The beginning seems slow and stilted, but the movie quickly builds to a furious pace. The special effects and storm sequences are excellent. The good news is that there are no sex scenes in the movie, but there is constant foul language and a mixed worldview. Attention to detail could have made FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX one of the year’s better movies. Even so, the few who see it and don’t mind the foul language will enjoy it.
(Pa, B, C, LLL, VV, N, A, D, M) Eclectic pagan worldview with character who dismisses religion but talks about spirituality, another character who prays and thanks God for everything, a hero who says he is not prepared to make any statements at a funeral, and crosses used for dead colleagues, as well as references to luck, kissing a medallion and references to a man jinxing a project; 44 obscenities and 10 profanities; lots of action violence, some of it very intense, such as a plane going through a sandstorm, man falls through back of plane to his death, people beaten, point-blank executions, splattering blood, gunfights, fist fights, man’s face sanded off by sandstorm, and corpses; one kiss and some references to sex, but no other sexual activity; lots of upper male nudity in the desert; references to alcohol; smoking; and, very minor elements such as revenge and lying.
FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX is better than its trailer. It is a well-plotted, exciting action-adventure yarn.
In the beginning, cargo plane pilot Frank Towns and co-pilot A.J. are sent to Mongolia to shut down and evacuate an oil excavation operation. The head of the operation, Kelly, is furious and does not want to leave, but Towns is known for shutting these things down quickly and flying off.
Frank and A.J. finally get the oil crew together and take off, only to find themselves in “the perfect sandstorm.” They are brought down in the middle of the desert without a radio and with very little chance of survival.
One character in the group, Elliott, tells them they can rebuild the plane and fly out. Towns wants no part of Elliott’s idea at first but finally agrees, after being told that people need love, and if they don’t have love, they need hope, and if they don’t have hope, they need something to do. Thus, the movie’s premise (where the story is going) is set out clearly.
Meanwhile, Mongolian bandits target them and kill one of their team members. Furhtemore, all the worst aspects of their characters show through under the strenuous situation, but eventually, of course, they must pull together.
FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX is not a profound movie, although it could have been. It is a remake of a much better 1965 movie by Robert Aldrich (THE LONGEST YARD, THE FRISCO KID and THE DIRTY DOZEN), the father of the current director.
The very beginning of the movie seems stilted but quickly builds to a furious pace to become one of the more exciting movies of the year. The special effects and storm sequences are excellent.
FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX could have served as an excellent vehicle for religious values. However, although there are clear elements of redemptive activity and prayer, these elements are mitigated by a character who explicitly rejects religion and the pilot who does not believe even in luck, although he kisses a lucky medallion. There are also references to one character being jinxed, and he seems, in fact, to actually be cursed.
The good news is that there is no sexual activity in the movie. Also, although Elliott seems effeminate, it is never established that he is homosexual. There are some stilted dialogue lines and funky acting, but what detracts from the movie most is the constant foul language.
Much less foul language and some attention to detail could have made FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX one of the year’s better movies. Even so, as it is, the few who see it and don’t mind the foul language will enjoy it.