“Always bet on black”
I think Wesley Snipes is one of my heroes on film appearing in some of the greatest action flicks of the nineties. My favourite appearance of Snipes is probably in Demolition Man as the blonde-haired Simon Phoenix.
Hankering a craving for Wesley Snipes, I decided to check out one of his earlier ventures in Passenger 57, which is home to that memorable “always bet on black” quip. Where Ice Cube has perfected saying anything and can make it menacing, Wesley Snipes has perfected that demeanour about him that just smells of action hero.
Wesley Snipes is John Cutter, the all round bad-ass head of security for Atlantic International Airlines, but has a haunted past. He relives the night of his wife’s death during a convenience store robbery and in the true 90s action flick style, the flashback is coupled with a training montage as he punches a bag at a late hour.
He boards a flight to Los Angeles, after accepting a job offer from his friends, only to find the notorious Charles Rane (Bruce Payne) on-board after he is caught and sent to LA to stand trail. And this is where the fun happens, as he hijacks the plane with the help of his cronies and a youthful Liz Hurley.
And what’s the American badass to do but save the day?
But it isn’t without a few hiccups, as Rane is calculated every step of the way and unrelenting as he mows down passengers without remorse. In true nineties fashion, the antagonist is there to just be an antagonist and only given very loose motives. Rane just seems hell bent on causing havoc and being a general nuisance. In general though it works, because for the runtime of eighty minutes the depth of usual antagonists isn’t needed, as John Cutter is the regular action hero.
The action sequences are of course completely over the top, but also excellent as Cutter jumps over seats Kung Fu kicking his way down the airliner. And what is a nineties classic without an over the top explosion, especially as the stairlift explodes in Michael Bay-esque fashion.
And why is there always a set of golf clubs in the storage units of planes? But of course it’s brilliant whilst John Cutter wields a club to beat the crap out of a bad guy. Of course, John Cutter isn’t a shade on Simon Phoenix, but the Passenger 57 is still incredibly enjoyable.
If you need a film to pass the time and want to see Wesley Snipes kung-fu kicking his way through bad guys then Passenger 57 is your film. It’s of perfect length and it’s nothing like modern-day action films with their intricate narratives, but Passenger 57 doesn’t bother with an intricacies, but rather just action for the sake of action. Just don’t take the film too seriously.