PLOT: A small commercial airliner above Hawaii is suddenly sucked into a 10,000 foot active volcano. Cue Dean Cain to the rescue!
REVIEW: The lunacy is never in short order when it comes to an Asylum original, and I had the delighted privilege - or inexplicable punishment - of witnessing this first hand in the sublimely asinine AIRPLANE VS. VOLCANO. I mean, good grief! It's all right there in the high-concept title...The Asylum MO...in what amounts here to basically 90 minutes of self-aware D-grade acting and cartoonish CGI. It's a combo that makes for laborious watch at times, no doubt made far more enjoyable with a good dose of THC and/or alcohol. This is a pretty terrible movie, but it knows as much, embraces it and celebrates it. As long as you keep that in mind and go into the movie with a group of friends and a sizeable swerve, you're likely to have a few good chuckles. However, if you're stone sober and watch this sucker solo, as badly entertaining as it is, you're likely to palpably feel stupider once the credits roll. Not even a cameo from AITH's very own Jimmy O could save this doomed flight from crashing. But then again, it is The Asylum, so you already knew that.
The good thing about AIRPLANE VS. VOLCANO, like most Asylum flicks, is the action kicks up almost immediately. No overwrought setups and longwinded explanations...seconds into the flick we find ourselves trapped in a small commercial airliner out of Hawaii, along with the principal cast, as it's suddenly met by a heaven-high volcano erupting smoldering lava. We're literally thrown into the fire...right from the jump. This helps to create instant tension and introduce a visceral experience that more or less sustains, in real time, for the following hour and a half. Thing is, you can't take any of it seriously. Onboard we meet a volcano expert (Matt Mercer), a seasoned air-marshal (Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs), a frenzied flight attendant (Tamara Goodwin), a blond MILF and her 8 year old son (Natalie Burtney and Zachary Haven), a paranoid Middle-Easterner (David Vega) and of course, there's our man Dean Cain - looking sweaty, bloated, pilled-off...who spends more time phoning in his performance than Halle Berry in THE CALL. Despite his "heroics" in the film, it's definitely not Superman's finest hour!
You see, once the pilots of this ill-fated plane are killed by a sudden cockpit explosion, it's up to Dean Cain's character, slyly named Dick Pierce, to take the reins and guide the aircraft to safety. But not so fast. The controls have been locked on autopilot, which, in an antiterrorist measure, causes the plane to merely fly in a continuous loop around the fiery eruption. I'm talking fireballs, humongous ash-clouds, loud explosions, giant sheets of flames, the works. To make things even more impossible, as the flick trudges on, the airplane runs out of fuel, loses both engines (powerfully and physically), drops in altitude, dumps its cargo, breaches the door...yet miraculously remains intact long enough for Military officials on the ground to swoop in and rescue. These idiotic higher-ups include Colonel Ryker (Mike Jerome Putnam...the best awful performance in the film), Specialist Neil Tully (Morgan West) and my favorite, volcanologist Lisa Whitmore (Robin Givens). I say favorite because the main thing I came away with after seeing AIRPLANE VS. VOLCANO was, even at nearly 50 years old, how utterly fuckable Robin Givens remains. My lord! Fuck a film title, the rise and blast of AIRPLANE VS. VOLCANO could aptly describe the activity in my shorts. All thanks to you, Ms. Givens!
On a self indulgent side-note though, I was surprised, given the ample bosom constantly displayed - almost mandated - in every other Asylum flick...that it took nearly an hour for Givens to strip down to her skintight tank-top. Actually, I found it amusing how you can almost tell how averse and insulted Givens was with the whole thing to begin with. Of course, she seemed to have zero qualms about the laughable, thinly veiled innuendos she was given to spout during the all technical expository jargon. Consider the following quote: "You're looking at an eruption column. After 30 years of activity, that pressure has to go somewhere. Sometimes there are connecting passages, where heat and pressure travel along the crust. Massive amounts of pressure are forcing submerged volcanoes to come to the surface. Colonel, it's only gonna get worse. I am the best you have and you need me here." Not sold? Later on she coos: "something in the ring of the volcano is growing rapidly. Look! The pressure is all congregating in one spot and it is only a matter of time before this thing rises, and it's big!"
Look, the word dumb doesn't begin to describe this movie. It's silly, goofy, stupidly illogical and beyond absurd. That said, everyone seems to be in on the joke (save for my girl Robin), so on that level, it's entertaining as a comedy but pretty ridiculous in terms of the terror aspect. In fact, there's an almost insulting subplot involving a nervous and paranoid middle eastern dude, which alludes to terrorism but really had zero to do with such. The dude did try to stage a mutiny against Dean Cain's character (again, Dick Pierce), but it was a needless stereotype that added nothing of value to the story. Really, it's a subpar production on every level, as you'd expect with a flick from The Asylum, but if you're into these intentional oh-so-bad-they're-worth-a-laugh farces, you could definitely do worse than AIRPLANE VS. VOLCANO.