As much as I love to support British indie films, Airborne is one I can’t – even with the presence of Mark Hamill in a rare film role. Basically, it’s about a bunch of unlikeable characters caught up in strange shenanigans involving missing passengers and a possessed Chinese vase aboard a flight to New York.
I don’t know what’s worse: the badly constructed script (obviously inspired by Richard Matheson’s Twilight Zone story, Nightmare at 20,000 Feet), the dire delivery of the terrible dialogue, or the uninspired direction. The characters resemble cheap rip-offs from Lost – there’s even a Hurley character spouting conspiracy theories; there are more holes in the plot than in a kitchen colander; and the lack of extras to fill the plane (the film’s primary location – the other being a windowless room posing as an air traffic control centre) only heightens the movie’s bargain bin look.
So what’s Mark Hamill doing in this mess? Well, he should stick to what he does best – being a voiceover artist. In fact, every time he spoke, I was reminded of his brilliant portrayal of the Joker in the animated Batman TV series and video games. But here he is playing an air traffic controller who is trying to fathom why Flight 686 has diverted its course when some covert government agents step in and decide to shoot the plane down. Meanwhile, up in the air, the plane’s passengers (including veteran actor Julian Glover) engage in a swear-fest and start waving guns around. The possessed vase is only introduced about a third of the way through, which feels like an afterthought and really added to my frustrations. And don’t get me started on the final shot, which makes no sense at all. Not even an ironing film, Airborne should be grounded and turned into scrap.
Released 30 July on DVD through Chelsea Films