"Synopsis: John Cutter (Wesley Snipes) is an airline security expert who is just getting back into his groove after the tragic murder of his wife. On his way to a meeting with airline executives in Los Angeles, the plane he is on is also occupied by international terrorist Charles Rane (Bruce Payne), escorted by the FBI. But things don't go as planned as Rane escapes and hijacks the plane. Cutter, along with an unsuspecting stewardess (Alex Datcher) must try to stop him before more people die.
About the Movie: This is a movie that I initially really enjoyed, but after seeing it a second time a number of years later, I'm not so certain about any more. It's definitely nothing original as far as airplane disaster movies go, especially compared to the host of airplane hijacking movies that have come out in the past decade.
One of the main problems is that it needed to be better composed as far as its main characters. The movie makes great pains to reveal to the viewer that Cutter's wife was murdered and he is gun shy about working in counter-terrorism. I rather liked this element of the film because it made him less of a paper cutout action hero. Unfortunately, apart from one or two short sequences, the movie doesn't follow up on this background all that well and chances to develop the tension between him and the female lead are missed completely.
The movie is 84 minutes long. For the expense of an extra 10 minutes a lot could have been done to follow up on all that character development later in the film. It's a real shame that they didn't, because the female lead in this film fares rather poorly, existing mainly as an eye-pleaser and a woman to squeal when harassed by the terrorists.
On the acting side, Wesley Snipes is his usual self, manly and in charge. He does nothing new here. The villain, played by British actor Bruce Payne, comes of exactly like he's supposed to be, psychotic. Payne does a decent job in the role, though in all honesty, he really isn't given much to work with to make him stand out. The same goes with the female lead, played by Alex Datcher. Her character as Snipe's love interest, as mentioned earlier, is hardly fleshed out at all, leaving the actress with very little to make her memorable.
Interestingly, this movie happens to have Elisabeth Hurley in it in a role you wouldn't expect her to play. It's a shame that her role wasn't fleshed out more because a more dynamic character to work with in such an atypical role for her might have been entertaining. As it is, she's totally unexciting.
On the action side, Passenger 57 has everything you'd expect in a Wesley Snipes film, from cheesy one-liners to gratuitous action sequences. There are some pretty good action sequences in this film, including one where Snipes climbs from a speeding car onto the landing gear of an airplane that's taking off.
Of course, there are some cheesy and clichéd sequences too, like the confrontation he has with a couple of redneck sheriff's deputies. It makes it seem like they're discriminating against him because he's black, a plot element that has been so over used in movies as to make one's eyes roll. There are a number of bits like this.
All in all, this isn't a terrible movie. It could have been better written, but the action scenes can be entertaining. It won't stand up against some of the other airplane hijacking movies out there (Executive Decision and Airforce One, to name two), but it does have it's high points.
About the DVD: Passenger 57 comes in a cardboard snap case on a double-sided DVD with both fullscreen and Widescreen versions of the film in Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. The image and sound are about average for a budget DVD such as this one. The movie is translated into French and has English, French and Spanish subtitles.
As far as special features, this one has what appears to be something that is becoming standard on Warner Brothers budget DVD releases. They include 9 theatrical trailer for other films and a series of textual production notes that provide background on the movie, cast bios and notes on the airplane hijacking movie genre. They're interesting to read, but not nearly as nice as real special features like documentaries would have been.
Bottom line is that this is an average movie on an average DVD release. 3 stars."
HIGHLY CLICHED BUT DECENT
Inspector Gadget | On the trail of Doctor Claw | 08/20/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This film has nothing new to offer but is quite appealing. I can't decide whether Bruce Payne is hammy or believable as the villain. He plays Charles Rayne (or the Rayne of terror) a notorious airplane hijacker who is being transported to LA from Miami for trial. But as soon as his plane is in the air his band of nameless crooks (including a crazily miscast Liz Hurley) set him free. But not to worry because John Cutter (Wesley Snipes) is on board. And he just happens to be head of security for the airline. It's his job to round up the crooks and save the passengers from the evil intentions of Rayne. And he's only got 80 minutes to do it in.I'm not kidding. This movie is 84 minutes long. The credits roll at the 80-minute mark. Minus 2 minutes for the opening sequence and another 20 (of tedious character building) for the action to begin. You're left with a 60-minute slice of entertainment. It makes you wonder why they bothered. If Warner wanted to make a great hijack movie why did they bother with the Passenger 57 script? It's too short and too clichéd. A couple of brief moments of action make it barely worthwhile, but watch on it TV. Don't rent it or buy the DVD."
Shashank Tripathi | Gadabout | 08/17/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Most of this explosive joyride is highly implausible even while you are sitting through it (one wonders if the art of Hijacking has come a long way) but it's an enjoyable diversion.
As an action hero Snipes belongs to the school that plays it cool and cracks jokes and kung-fu kicks when the going gets rough, all with a nonchalant glint in the eye, as if he were fully aware that the film is really a live-action cartoon.
Payne as his villainous and unabashedly racist counterpart brings a similar comic-book audacity to the psychopathic fiend.
I was particularly surprised to see a very young version of a face I was certain I recognized, but couldn't put a name to. Elizabeth Hurley! Male chromosomes take note.
To its credit, the film doesn't dilly-dally in going about its pulpy routine, with some very decent action scenes for its time. You know what's going to happen, but it's interesting to see how."
PASSENGER 57 IS WESLEY SNIPES' BEST MOVIE!!!
B. h Grey | Tango2200@Hotmail.Com | 07/09/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Have you ever played roulette?"
"Yeah, well here's a word of advice for you--ALWAYS BET ON BLACK!!!" --Wesley Snipes as Atlantic International Airlines Head of Security John Cutter to Bruce Payne as terrorist Charles Rane in PASSENGER 57. Not only is PASSENGER 57 a sensational action movie, not only does PASSENGER 57 feature a sensational villain--Bruce Payne in the ROLE OF HIS LIFE as terrorist Charles Rane!!!--not only does Wesley Snipes do a fantastic job of playing a black man trying to succeed in corporate white America, but PASSENGER 57 has excellent music, great photography, and a solid supporting cast anchored by Tom Sizemore, Bruce Greenwood, and Elizabeth Hurley as Payne's English henchwoman, Sabrina Ritchie. And the script is pretty good, too, as Snipes plays the BLACK MAN OF ACTION to the hilt, with just the right mix of awareness, bravery, and humor--with his own interests in meditation and martial arts thrown in--as he rolls with the subplot of race in America throughout the script--highlighted by one scene where Snipes tries to convince some a sherriff and some redneck southern cops that he's one of the good guys, and the sherriff responds, "And I'm the Governor of Louisiana!" But as good as Snipes is, Bruce Payne nearly steals the show, because from the time he appears in the film's opening scene, Payne turns Charles Rane's every line into Shakespeare, and Rane's every act of violence into a threat of something worse, and before you know it you've got one of the greatest screen movie battles ever: black, spontaneous, hotheaded good guy American airline security chief John Cutter trying to protect a plane and its passengers versus blonde, blue eyed methodical coldblooded English terrorist Charles Rane who wants to hijack it! And Rane has a lot of friends in high places!!! PASSENGER 57 IS WESLEY SNIPES' BEST MOVIE!!! Chari Krishnan RESEARCHKING"
Passenger 57 (1992)
The Tweeder | Indianapolis, Indiana | 06/02/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Director: Kevin Hooks
Cast: Wesley Snipes, Bruce Payne, Tom Sizemore, Bruce Greenwood, Robert Hooks, Michael Horse.
Running Time: 86 minutes.
Rated R for violence and language.As an up-and-coming action star in the world of Hollywood, Wesley Snipes's "Passenger 57" is the film that put him on the map. The film opens with an introduction to the madman played by Bruce Payne, a terrorist who is about to be transported to a maximum security prison on an airplane. Our hero Snipes plays an airline security expert who makes most of his living doing snazzy airline videos and cracking a few jokes. It just so happens to both Snipes and Payne are passengers on the same flight (what a shocker!).The evil terrorist miraculously gets out of his security devices and holds the plane hostage, tormenting and murdering passengers left and right. Snipes pulls his best John McClane from "Die Hard" act, running around like a madman in order to save all of the innocent passengers from the gun-wielding maniac and land the plane correctly. An exciting, funny, and mesmerizing little gem that is certainly overlooked by action film buffs, but packs a huge punch none-the-less. Snipes gives a very solid performance in the lead role, proving that he is a formidable action star and that he is here to stay. Payne is equally creepy as the villian, while goofball friend Tom Sizemore is always a likable character. Director Kevin Hooks does a fine job cutting through the nonsense that often inhibits other action films and gives the audience a full 85 minutes of pure action. One stellar action-adventure."