Combustible Celluloid Review - 97 Minutes (2023), Pavan Grover, Timo Vuorensola, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Alec Baldwin, MyAnna Buring, Jo Martin, Pavan Grover, Anjul Nigam
Combustible Celluloid
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With: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Alec Baldwin, MyAnna Buring, Jo Martin, Pavan Grover, Anjul Nigam
Written by: Pavan Grover
Directed by: Timo Vuorensola
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 93
Date: 06/09/2023

97 Minutes (2023)

1 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Lost Luggage

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This misguided plane-hijacking thriller moves in unwieldy starts and stops, with elements that seemed important ten minutes earlier being forgotten, and no cohesive sense of character or suspense.

Flight 420 is completing its journey across the Atlantic Ocean, from London to New York. Ninety-seven minutes from landing, five hijackers, carrying 3D-printed guns, take over the plane. On the ground, NSA Director Hawkins (Alec Baldwin) is ready to shoot the plane down, but Chief Toyin (Jo Martin) wants to find some way to avoid that scenario, hopefully incorporating an "assent" who is on the plane.

Then, Alex (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), who seems to have been one of the hijackers, springs into action to try to save the pilot, who has been shot. Kim (MyAnna Buring), who has medical training, volunteers to help out. But, with fuel running out, Hawkins and Toyin learn that there's a nuclear device onboard, and that the terrorists' plans involve crashing it in New York, thereby starting a war.

Seeming as if it were written by artificial intelligence (or rather unintelligence), 97 Minutes is a frustrating experience. For example, Alex kills a hijacker and stuffs the body in a closet. No one notices he's gone for a time, and then there's a hunt for him, and then the hunt stops, and then it starts again. Some of the hijackers seem to be guarding the passengers, but other passengers roam the plane freely. Sometimes the head hijacker (Pavan Grover, who also wrote the screenplay) is flying the plane, and at other times, he's wandering around.

Pieces of the story seem shuffled around and jammed together for convenience rather than logic. It probably doesn't help that Meyers gives such a volatile performance, looking constantly irritated, and roughly manhandling women and a young boy who is unlucky enough to be in this. At least director Timo Vuorensola — whose Jeepers Creepers: Reborn was terrible right from the first instant — manages to start 97 Minutes with a few moments that look promising, before it crashes and burns.

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