Of the movies that I bought from The Asylum recently, this is one that I really looked forward to watching. I love a good “Versus” movie and when I first saw a preview about this movie, I was intrigued because the premise honestly didn’t seem to make much sense. I was curious to see how they explained the situation to make this match-up happen, but not enough to really go out of my way to buy it at first. But when it was one of the movies that were on sale, I knew that Airplane Vs. Volcano would be on the list.
The plot: A volcanologist named Joseph is placing sensors along the beach of a volcano and radios his partner Lisa back at their lab that new islands have formed off the shore. Suddenly, some tremors occur and Joseph tries to escape but he is engulfed in a lava flow from the now active volcano as an entire ring of volcanoes begin spewing out ash and fire. A commercial airliner is making preparations to land when the captain notices a strange storm cloud on his instruments and tries calling it in but the radio is apparently down. Suddenly, the aircraft hits some turbulence and when the passengers try looking out the windows, they are covered in ash. Breaking through the cloud, the pilot and copilot see that they have flown off course and are caught in a ring of active volcanoes. Doing their best to try and evade the flaming debris from the eruptions, they both are killed when something strikes the plane but the pilot manages to put the auto pilot on and tries to tell the code to Rita Loss, the lead flight attendant, but he dies. One of the passengers, Rick Pierce, goes up front to see what is going on and seeing the pilot and copilot dead, grabs another passenger, Frank, to help him move the bodies, accompanied by Jim Kirkland, an Air Marshall that is on board. After moving the bodies, Rick, who has experience flying small aircraft, gets in the pilot’s seat and Kirkland goes back to the passengers and, trying to not cause a panic, tells them the pilots are unconscious and asks if anyone can help. When the ash clears from the windows, the passengers see the volcanoes outside and Landon Todd, a volcanologist that was flying in to assist Lisa and Joseph, says he can help and Kirkland takes him up front. Up front, they explain the situation, stating that the auto pilot is on a loop and only the pilots knew the code to turn it off. Landon says that they wouldn’t be able to fly over the cloud so their only choice is to wait it out and hope they survive. At a military base in Hawaii, Lisa is tryig to explain to the commanding officer, Colonel Ryker, how the extinct volcano could suddenly become active. One of the soldiers, Specialist Neil Tully, tells Ryker about the plane that went off course and is estimated to be in the volcanic area but the Ryker refuses to send a rescue mission into an active volcanic area and instead, has Tully focus on coordinating the evacuation of the nearby island. Back on the plane, Rick is forced to avoid some debris from the volcano and some of the passengers are suffer some mild injuries but Frank’s arm is broken when it is struck by the snack cart. Rita and another passenger tend to his arm when one of the passengers, a nervous flier named Carlos Crieger, asks who is flying the plane because the pilots are dead. Kirkland has him sit down and stop trying to cause a panic, then checks with Landon, who is trying to hack the airplane’s phone so they can try and call for help. Back in Hawaii, Lisa has Ryker shoot a probe onto one of the volcanoes so she can get more information from it and a helicopter is sent out. After firing the probe, the helicopter is enveloped in a super heated cloud of ash and destroyed. Lisa tells them to evacuate the beaches but it is too late as the ash cloud engulfs the nearby beach and kills the people there. Back on the plane, Rick has Rita enter the cockpit and try to help him disable the autopilot but she accidentally starts dumping the fuel. As Rick works on trying to shut off the fuel leak, a piece of debris ignites the fuel trail and the flames race towards the plane before Rick finally shuts it off. Rick tries again to disable the autopilot but ends up shorting out the panel, leaving them stuck in autopilot and they now only have about an hour’s worth of fuel left. Landon manages to get the phone to work but is unable to contact anybody. Crieger chooses that moment to try and lead a revolt and grabs Rick from the cockpit and tries to throw him out the door but Kirkland manages to subdue Crieger and cuffs him inside one of the bathrooms. Rick appears shaken and Kirkland, troubled by Crieger’s warning about Rick, asks if Rick can really fly the plane and when Rick says he can, Kirkland says to keep them alive. Landon continues trying to call for help and eventually gets through to the base and he explains the situation but they are soon cut off by the ash cloud. Tully urges Ryker to try and rescue the plane but Ryker chooses to focus on the island so Tully has Lisa, along with two of his friends, join him in rescuing the plane against orders. Back on the plane, a piece of debris clogs up one of the engines and with no other choice, Frank, who is a mechanic, decides to go out there and try to clear the debris. Making a makeshift rope out of seat belts, Kirkland, Landon, and several other passengers keep hold of Frank as he makes his way to the engine and manages to clear the debris but as they work on pulling him back in, one of the buckles snags on the airplane’s door and unhooks and Franks gets sucked into the engine, damaging it. With another engine damaged due to a fireball, the plane begins descending and the passengers begin throwing out the luggage from the cargo hold in order to try and make the plane lighter. It winds up not being enough but when a fireball takes off one of the damaged engines, Rick purposefully flies the plane so that another fireball takes out the second damaged engine, stabalizing the plane, but it is now too low for a refueling effort. Tully has an air rescue team enter the volcano ring and they start trying to rescue the passengers but the rescue plane is struck by a bolt of lightning and ends up crashing. Back at the base, Ryker has Tully is in the process of having Tully arrested but Tully has the audio from the plane put on the speakers, and the base hears the people on the plane saying their goodbyes to their loved ones. Ryker has a change of heart and agrees to help rescue the plane, leading a squad of fighter jets to provide air cover and try to seal off one of the volcanoes. BAck on the plane, Crieger manages to break free from his restraints and during a struggle with Kirkland, he grabs Kirkland’s gun and shoots him, then takes the life raft and parachute and escapes from the plane, landing safely in the water. Ryker and the fighter jets provide air cover but they are getting killed by the volcano. Suddenly, the ring of volcanoes quiet and a massive volcano emerges from the center of the ring, killing Crieger as it erupts. Some debris strips part of the roof from the plane and some of the passengers get sucked out. The rescue plane arrives and tries towing the plane to safety but when it is unable to do so, they begin rescuing the people one at a time. Rita and Landon are the last two passengers but Rita refuses to go without Rick. When she reaches the cockpit, she finds that Rick has been mortally wounded by a piece of metal and wont live long. The rescuers tell Rick that there are explosives on the plane and he needs to fly it into the center of the volcano to stop the eruption, then leave with Rita and Landon. Ryker orders his men to fall back but when he notices some debris about to hit the plane, he sacrifices himself to destroy the debris, allowing Rick to steer the plane into the volcano. The explosives go off and Lisa reports that the eruptions have stopped and everyone celebrates the rescue while remembering the people that didn’t make it.
I have to say, this was a pretty entertaining movie. The acting was pretty good all around though I think Dean Cain did kind of ham it up a little at times. The story was interesting and they did a decent job of explaining how the plane wound up unable to leave the ring of volcanoes. The special effects were pretty decent, especially some of the scenes showing the erupting volcanoes. There were a couple of scenes that were there just for blatant dark humor, such as when the base is being pelted by fireballs and one man has a fireball go through him and as he is standing there with a hole in his chest, a larger fireball squashes him. A pretty interesting movie that is worth watching.
Rating: 3 out of 5