Flight of the Living Dead
How does it go again? First there was Night, then Dawn, now Day of the Dead! No wait, that's not right. First it was Snakes on a Plane, now it's Zombies on a Plane....errr, I mean Flight of the Living Dead. I guess all we need now is someone to yell that there are motherf*cking zombies on this plane! Perhaps there is, though. I have yet to see Flight and I'm writing this intro before I have given the disc a spin. It does look like a pure cheesefest, though. Released directly to video, New Line has put out an unrated DVD of Flight with a fair a mount of extras. Lets take a look and see how the movie and disc hold up.
A plane headed towards Paris contains some unique cargo in the hull with an armed guard by its side. Captain Ray Bashore (Raymond J. Barry) its unsure what the cargo is, nor is he too interested in it. This is Ray's final flight and he's looking forward to getting home to start vacationing with his wife. The three scientists that own the cargo - Dr. Leo Bennett (Erick Avari), Dr. Lucas Thorp (Dale Midkiff), and Dr. Conroy (David Spielberg) - are in the back of the plane, arguing over a special project. Lucas is particularly irate, since it is his wife Kelly (Laura Cayouette) that is the highly sensitive cargo. She is in a cryogenically frozen state and is being transported to a lab in Prague for further research.
The plane is traveling in the middle of a severe storm. Captain Ray tries to alter the course to avoid the storm, but the plane begins to experience massive turbulence. When the equipment in the hull breaks free from its straps, much of it is damaged. Kelly awakens from her sleep and discovers that the armed guard is ready to kill her. He succeeds, but only in turning Kelly into a living zombie. It seems she was injected with an experimental drug that reanimates corpses. Once she died, the drug kicked and we are given our first zombie on the plane.
As weather conditions begin to stabilize, Captain Ray sends his first officer, Randy Stafford (Todd Babcock) down into the hull with two of the scientists to ensure everything is okay. When Randy and company are greeted by two zombies, they find that everything is not okay. Randy manages to make it out alive. Panic stricken, he returns to the cockpit and tries to convince Ray to land. Ray sends Randy down to get Paul Judd ( Richard Tyson), a TLA agent that is onboard. Randy believes that a convict being transported on the flight got loose and is hiding down in the hull. Randy and Paul go down to investigate, only to be overrun by zombies. With the body count rising, there is soon going to be more zombies than humans. The remaining crew and passengers must band together and try to survive the zombie onslaught until the plan can be safely landed.
Flight of the Living Dead delivers ample doses of cheese and succeeds in delivering a fun zombie fest. While flawed in many regards, Flight of the Living Dead knows what it is. It takes a while before things get going, but once they go, the movie gets straight to the point - delivering countless shots of zombie and gore. That is a big part of where the movie succeeds. They give us just the right balance of action and gore to keep us interested, which is key considering the entire movie takes place on a plane. Don't look for any Romero type social commentary here; this is nothing but Zombies on a Plane. The zombies look great and while the effects themselves are mixed, I'd rank them as adequate overall. The acting is subpar, but given the material in which to work with and the low budget nature of this type of a movie, I think that is to expected to some extent. Character development is weak; we are introduced to countless characters but are never really given a reason to care about them.
Where Flight fails is its lack of true scares, character development, humor, and its replay value being extremely low. There's enough to keep you interested for a single viewing, but repeated viewings are a no go on this one. The story is too drawn out and the characters just aren't interesting, or "fun" enough. For a direct to video release, however, this certainly ranks among the better ones and I would recommend it as a rental.
We're given a widescreen 1.85:1 widescreen transfer that is 16x9 enhanced. For a direct to video release, New Line has done a great job and delivered a solid transfer. There's a bit softness at times but overall the image is sharp and well detailed. Colors are vibrant and no MPEG artifacts or print damage was evident. I'm rating it with an A-.
The primary two tracks are Dolby and DTS 5.1. I decided to give the DTS track a whirl and ended up enjoying it. There are good amounts of action here and the track does a good job at showcasing it. Surrounds were active and LFE activity kicked in whenever appropriate. I'm rating it with an A-.
There's not a ton of extras on the DVD, but there are two commentary tracks included. The first is with director Scott Thomas and producer David Shoshan. I enjoyed the track but there are many gaps of silence where the two simply don't have much to say. They do discuss various production issues and challenges they faced, which was interesting to hear about. The second track perplexed me as I wasn't sure why I would care about the thoughts of IGN.com editors. I'm sure those guys are great, but what do they have to do with this movie? What insight can they give me? As a reviewer I'm obligated to at least sample the track, and that's exactly what I did here. The track turned out to be as lame as expected. They comment on irrelevant things that no one is going to care about. One of them even asks why they are doing the commentary track. The only reasoning is that the IGN readership would be interested in a movie like this.
The next supplement is an outtakes reel, which is good for a few laughs. The last supplement is some sneak peeks to upcoming New Line movies. Sadly, with one track being only decent and the other being plain awful, the supplements on Flight of the Living Dead are disappointing to say the least.
New Line gives us a solid DVD of Flight of the Living Dead, sporting a top notch transfer and soundtrack. There's a couple of disappointing extras on the disc and it's far from being a special edition. The movie itself is mixed in regards to its enjoyment level. There's plenty of cheese, but the weak story and lack of tension will turn many off. I'd recommend it as a rental only.
Movie - C+
Image Quality - A-
Sound - A-
Supplements - C
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