Hey gang, Valkor here. While my man, Simon was given the chance to check out “Demon Hunter Dolph Lundgren” in “Don’t Kill It”, it's my turn to tackle his latest film “Altitude” aka “Dolph on a Plane”; personally, I’d rather have more zombie busting (Battle of the Damned) or even alien blasting Dolph from "Dark Angel", but this film is probably one of the craziest I’ve ever experienced. And yet, I enjoyed the heck out of it! Oh, you can believe there will be spoilers!
While I give mad props to Dolph Lundgren, the true star in “Altitude”, actually goes to Denise Richards (Undercover Brother) who plays FBI agent Blair; after disobeying orders during a hostage standoff, she's now on her way to D.C. either for some “R&R” or other reasons that can’t be explained or I completely missed. Regardless, after boarding her flight and getting into words about her seat, she ultimately settles into a business class seat where she meets Terry (Kirk Barker), who appears rather “eccentric”. But there’s much more going under his hood other than looking like a rich douche. Terry is, or was actually, a part of a group of thieves who got their hands on a serious amount of gems worth a buttload of money. But Terry wound up backstabbing the gang and is now attempting to make off with the stash. Unfortunately for Terry, his former partners have infiltrated the flight he’s on. And as soon as he realizes this, he offers Blair 50 million to get him off the plane alive. She doesn’t believe him at first until shit starts to go down and the actual crew ends up missing during the flight. Not only that but the pilots are also taken out and replaced by thug Sharpe (Lundgren), whom we’re told specializes in handling any sort of equipment. But ultimately it’s up to Blair, Terry, and federal air marshal Byres (Jordi Vilasuso) to take on and take out this gang of thieves or die trying.
If you really, truly want to enjoy “Altitude”, I’m gonna need you guys to check your brains on this one and maybe bring some alcohol; seriously, there’s so much craziness that goes down (one scene is detailed below) that if you try to make sense of it, you’ll probably lose your mind. But if you take the film for what it is, which is a super cheesy actioner, then you’ll walk away well entertained. And I’ll tell you why in the TOV Breakdown.
If you don’t take this one too seriously, then you’ll be in for one heck of a ride with “Altitude”. I’m talking wicked, over-the-top action that you’ll either applaud or laugh your way through. Either way, you won’t be bored. I can assure you, especially if you're a fan of action flms, you'll walk away quite satisfied after viewing this fun flick. The story is rather thin, but it’s just enough that it’s entertaining. And the action is nicely balanced, but given that much of the story takes place on a plane, don’t expect too much. You get a lot of CQC (Close Quarter Combat) and some bullets flying, but not much else. Still, it’s enough to get you through this 84-minute experience. The acting overall isn’t all that impressive, but I have no complaints as for this type of film. The performances are done well enough to carry the story. And as such, if it can hold your interest, then they've done their job. I think Denise Richards carries herself well enough that she should be doing more of this type of films. And if she has been doing this sort of thing, then I need to seriously backtrack because "damn"! I thought Dolph would add all levels of awesome in “Altitude”, but he’s mostly relegated to the cockpit with only one fight scene towards the end. Yes, I would have liked for him to have a stronger presence in the film, seeing as how when his character makes his entrance, he appears rather imposing. Never the less, his character works for what he needed to do. In the end, Altitude is just so bad that it’s good. And if you’re willing to suspend disbelief, then you’re gonna be in for a real treat.
The Bad (yet not so bad):
This bad isn’t actually so bad, but it’s probably one of the best/worst scenes in the history of B-movies films; towards the end, Sharpe lands the plane in an area surrounded by lava and molten rock (not kidding), where a group of “mechanics” come on board to switch out the black box. Unknown to the three men, Blair is watching their movements and when she gets an opening she takes them out. She finds a flight attendant tied up and as the plane starts to take off, she and the flight attendant open the cabin door, releases the slide and proceed to kick people off the plane who are hesitant to jump off on their own accord. Need I remind you there’s lava and molten rock below and these people are jumping off a moving plane! How are they not dead? Are they dead? I’ll just assume that they’re dead! (Update from Director Alex Merkin: "Just wanted to take a moment to clarify one bit, there's no lava or molten rock in the film. What you're seeing when they land is a makeshift fire runway created by the mechanics in a mountain range valley")
Altitude is getting a theatrical run in April, which I’ll assume it’ll get the home treatment soon after. Regardless, if you’ve seen all of the big films, and you’re looking for something fun to watch with some friends, then you’ll want to check this one out. I was a little hesitant about giving this one an “Editor’s Choice”, but given how much fun I had with the film, I’d have to say it deserves it. So out of TOV 5 stars, I’m gonna give “Altitude” a 3.5. It’s good, but I won’t put it on equal footing with “Battle of the Damned”.