(director: John Badham; screenwriters: story by Tony Griffin & Gus Manos/John Bishop/Peter Barsocchini; cinematographer: Roy H. Wagner; editor: Frank Morriss; music: Hans Zimmer; cast: Wesley Snipes ( Pete Nessip), Malcolm-Jamal Warner (Terry), Jessie Crossman (Yancy Butler), Gary Busey (Ty Moncrief), Michael Jeter (Earl Leedy), Kyle Secor (Swoop), Corin Nemec(Selkirk); Runtime: 102; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Lauren Lloyd/D.J. Caruso/ Wallis Nicita; Paramount; 1994)
“It’s the most convincing and well-staged skydiving film ever.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Never mind the poor script, the action and super aerial footage visuals speaks volumes for this bad-ass thriller.
The actioner directed by Iohn Badham (“Nick of Time”/”Stakeout”) is a treat for both sky divers and lovers of bad movies. It’s the most convincing and well-staged skydiving film ever. The messy second-rate screenplay by John Bishop and Peter Barsocchini is based on the story by Tony Griffin and Gus Manos. The two principal characters are Pete Nessip (Wesley Snipes), a tough U.S. marshal, and Ty Moncrief (Gary Busey), the ruthless leader of a renegade gang of skydivers.
Ty schemes to sell the secrets of the DEA to druglords. The exciting opening scene takes place in a 747 at 38,000 feet where the gang, made up of stunt jumpers, snatch convicted computer mastermind Earl Leedy (Michael Jeter), someone the druglords used for his expertise, from his federal escort and parachute with him to safety after blasting a hole in the side of the plane. The villains enrage Pete by killing during the siege his fellow marshal brother (Malcolm Jamal Warner), and he vows to make them pay. The investigating feds incredibly suspect Pete and his deceased brother of using explosives to put a hole in the side of the plane, and Pete is grounded without his gun and badge. Of course this doesn’t stop Pete from investigating on his own, as we go through with him a crash course on parachuting for sky divers. Meanwhile Peter buddies up with the sky diver instructor Jessie (Yancy Butler), and together they uncover clues about the skydiving gang.
The predictable story ends with Pete coming out on top, as it rips off the superior noir film Point Break (1991).
REVIEWED ON 11/9/2017 GRADE: B-