Saturday 23 December 2023

Movie Review: Skyjacked (1972)

Genre: Hijacking Thriller
Director: John Guillermin
Starring: Charlton Heston, Yvette Mimieux, James Brolin, Walter Pidgeon, Jeanne Crain, Susan Dey
Running Time: 101 minutes

Synopsis: Captain O'Hara (Charlton Heston) is in charge of a Global Airways flight to Minneapolis when one of the first-class cabin passengers (Susan Dey) discovers a lipstick message on the bathroom mirror, claiming there is a bomb onboard and demanding a re-route to Anchorage. Angela (Yvette Mimieux) is the chief flight attendant, while the hijacker suspects include musician Brown (Roosevelt Grier), Senator Lindner (Walter Pidgeon), army veteran Weber (James Brolin), and Mrs. Shaw (Jeanne Crain), the wife of a depressed businessman.

What Works Well: The guess-the-hijacker game is engaging enough for the first 40 minutes. Once revealed, the unhinged machinations in the antagonist's mind hint at an intriguing psychological profile that, in better hands, could have been much better explored.

What Does Not Work As Well: Jumping on the bandwagon of the era's airplane-related crisis movies, this is a derivative disaster drama stocked with plastic and crushingly uninteresting characters. Almost all the details are botched, including basic terrorist negotiations and the time needed to refuel and fly between destinations. Most of the character actions and decisions are inane, and the flashback scenes attempting to provide background context are embarrassing. In the most realistic aspect, the economy passengers are unapologetically treated like cattle.

Conclusion: Somehow, the Russians save the day.

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