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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Flight of Fury
Flight of Fury
Sony Pictures // R // February 20, 2007
List Price: $24.96 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ian Jane | posted February 13, 2007 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

The latest straight to video action extravaganza to star the one and only Steven Seagal once again teams the former box office draw with director Michael Keusch. Seagal fans may cringe when they read that, as their last effort, Attack Force, was completely horrible, but this time out the results are definitely a step up. That's not to say that Flight Of Fury is a classic, nor is it particularly 'good' but it is at least a mindlessly amusing action movie and Seagal does manage to deliver most of his own dialogue here (most, not all – there are still some bits that look dubbed).

The pony tailed one plays John Sands, a man who, when we first meet him, is planning his escape from the prison in California (well, Romania doubling for California at least) where he is locked up just as the jerks who run the place are planning to completely wipe his memory. It seems that Sands knows too much –about what, we're not sure, but it doesn't really matter. Let it suffice to say that he's really smart. So smart, in fact, is Mr. Sands that he manages to escape by hiding on top of an army truck, somehow managing to allude the security cameras that one would reasonably assume would be monitoring the area.

Once Sands is on the run from Johnny Law, he winds up at a coffee shop just as some punks are about to rob it at gun point. Sands bursts into action and kills every one of the gang members and as such, the cops take him in even though the security tapes clearly show it was a 'case of self defense.' The cops are curious about Sands, and before you know it the Feds are called in. General Barnes (Angus MacInnes) has been in charge of a secret active stealth plane project and one of the test pilots has committed treason and flown the plane to Afghanistan where he's sold it to terrorists. Barnes, who used to work with Sands, knows that Sands is the only man for the job because he's the only one who is a better stealth plane pilot than the rogue agent who stole it. How does Barnes know this? Because he had Sands train him.

At any rate, a few hours later Sands has teamed up with a cocky young pilot named Rojar (Alki David ) and they've flown off to Afghanistan to get the plane back and save the day. Along the way he hooks up with a foxy freedom fighter named Jessica (Sierra Payton) but they'd better hurry because the bad guys, lead by Eliana (Katie Jones), intend to use the plane to deliver a payload of chemical weapons that will destroy the entire world in less than forty-eight hours.

Surprisingly enough, Steven Seagal is not the main problem with this film. While it's true that he appears bored and distant throughout, that seems to be his 'thing' these days and we can over look that. Sure, some scenes look like they might use a body double in a couple of spots to make Steve look more agile than he probably is at this stage in his career, but again, we can over look that. What we can't overlook, no matter which way it's sliced, is the insane amount of stock footage used in this movie and the manner in which it's used. While using stock footage inserts can be an effective way to keep a film's budget low, here it feels like padding. To top it all off, it's used inconsistently – in one shot there are jets flying over a desert and then a couple of seconds later they're flying over snowy mountain ranges. Literally every few minutes the movie cuts to a 'cool clip' of a jet of some sort either spinning or weaving or dodging or just plane looking bad ass. Of course, none of the actors in the movie ever interact with these jets because someone else shot the footage for some other purpose other than for them to appear in a bad Steven Seagal movie.

Aside from a sleepy looking star and an ass load of stock footage, however, Flight Of Fury is an entertaining enough action-thriller. It's nothing short of predictable and the stunts are nothing to write home about but Seagal is given a few decent opportunities to bust some heads, though the movie does feature a few too many prolonged scenes that don't involve our hero at all (and most of these odd little subplots don't really add much of worth to the film). If the idea of Steven Seagal flying to a distant country to beat up some guys and get an expensive plane back sounds like a good idea for a movie to you, then yeah, Flight Of Fury will fit the bill. High art this baby is not, but there are worse ways to kill brain cells for ninety-minutes than to sit back with a six pack of cheap beer and watch an aging action hero mumble his way through a fairly standard plot.

The DVD

Video:

The 1.85.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer (mastered in high definition, according to the packaging) isn't bad though the stock footage inserts definitely vary in quality when compared to the footage shot specifically for this feature and as such they stand out a bit. The actual movie footage itself looks quite good if a bit on the dark side. Color reproduction is strong, though some scenes look to have been toned down a bit to give the movie a grittier look. Black levels are pretty consistent and there aren't any problems with mpeg compression artifacts. Edge enhancement is there if you want to look for it as is some mild aliasing but aside from that the movie looks good.

Sound:

Flight Of Fury hits DVD in a solid English language Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound track with optional subtitles provided in English only. As far as the quality of the audio on this release goes, there's nothing to complain about here. Bass response is pretty tight and while the mix could have been more aggressive during the action scenes, there are some fun moments where the channel separation really kicks in. Dialogue is clean and clear and free of any hiss or distortion and the levels are all properly balanced.

Extras:

Aside from a static menu and a chapter selection option, the only supplement included on this DVD is a trailer gallery consisting of promo spots for other straight to video action movies in the Sony library. That's it.

Final Thoughts:

Flight Of Fury is a pretty pedestrian action movie and the abundance of stock footage gets old fast but Seagal fans will probably enjoy this one. As a mindless (and this film is mindless...) time killer, the movie works and the pacing and action scenes are handled reasonably well. Sony's DVD looks and sounds nice but the high MSRP and lack of substantial supplements are a strike against it. Consider this one a solid rental for Seagal fans.

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.

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