Film poster for Passenger 57
|Directed by||Kevin Hooks|
|Produced by||Dan Paulson
|Screenplay by||David Loughery
|Story by||Stewart Raffill
|Music by||Stanley Clarke|
|Edited by||Richard Nord|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Box office||$44,065,653 (domestic)|
Passenger 57 is a 1992 American action film directed by Kevin Hooks. The film stars Wesley Snipes and Bruce Payne. The film's success made Snipes a popular action hero icon. It also introduced Snipes' famous line: "Always bet on black."
International terrorist Charles Rane (Bruce Payne), known as "The Rane of Terror", is caught by the FBI and local authorities just as he is about to receive plastic surgery to alter his features. The FBI make plans to return Rane to Los Angeles aboard a passenger aircraft for him to stand trial.
John Cutter (Wesley Snipes) is a former police officer haunted by the death of his wife in a convenience store robbery, and has taken to training flight attendants in self-defense, including Marti Slayton (Alex Datcher). After one class, Cutter is approached by an old friend, Sly Delvecchio (Tom Sizemore), who offers Cutter to be the vice-president of a new anti-terrorism unit for his company, Atlantic International Airlines. Cutter is reluctant, but Delvecchio and the company's president Stuart Ramsey (Bruce Greenwood) convince him to accept the offer.
Cutter boards as the 57th passenger on an Atlantic International flight to Los Angeles, where Marti is one of the flight attendants. Rane and his two FBI escorts are also aboard. After the flight takes off, several men in Rane's employ posing as flight attendants and passengers kill the FBI agents, release Rane and secure the plane. Cutter, in the lavatory at the time, manages to use the plane's Airfone to warn Delvecchio to the situation, but Cutter is soon discovered by one of Rane's agents. Cutter overpowers the agent and takes his weapon; he then uses the agent as a shield to confront Rane. Rane is indifferent and shows his ruthlessness by taking a passenger hostage and then killing him without mercy. Rane also shoots his own agent in a further show of force. Cutter realizes he is outmatched and escapes with Marti to the plane's cargo hold, dispatching another of Rane's men--Vincent, disguised as a caterer. Cutter dumps the plane's fuel, forcing Rane to order the pilots to land at a small Louisiana airfield. Cutter jumps from the plane as it lands, but Marti is caught by Rane and kept aboard. The local sheriff, Chief Biggs (Ernie Lively), arrests Cutter, thinking he is a terrorist and takes him to the airport building.
Rane contacts the field's tower and threatens to start killing hostages unless the plane is refueled; he does offer to release half of the passengers should they comply. Rane also asserts that Cutter is one of his own men turned against him. Biggs gives the go-ahead for refueling, and as the passengers are freed, Rane and his men escape from the plane, having given orders to those still on board to kill the rest of the hostages if their plans are interfered with. Cutter recognizes the passenger release as a diversion, escapes from the sheriff, and chases Rane and his men into a local county fair. The FBI arrive and assert Cutter's true identity to Biggs. Cutter is able to kill one of Rane's men and get into a fight with Rane before police arrive and capture him.
Back at the tower, Rane asserts that if he does not contact the plane and give flight clearance, his men aboard have been instructed to kill the rest of the hostages. The FBI arrange to return Rane to the plane, escorted by two agents, with plans to have a sniper take down Rane and allow the FBI to storm the plane to save the hostages. Instead, the sniper is Vincent, who kills the escorts but is shot dead by Cutter, and Rane makes it inside safely. Rane orders the pilots to take off, while Cutter, with Biggs's help, manages to jump onto the speeding plane before it takes off. Inside, Cutter deals with more of Rane's accomplices before getting into a fight with Rane. Their fight blows out one of the plane's windows, causing the bulkhead door to blow out of the explosive cabin decompression. Cutter manages to get Rane close to the open door and kicks him out of the plane, sending him plummeting to his death. The plane quickly returns to the airfield, where the FBI secure Rane's remaining agents and the remaining hostages are freed. Amid congratulations and celebration, Marti and Cutter make their quiet escape into the distance hand in hand, but not before Chief Biggs offers them a ride.
- Wesley Snipes as John Cutter, a former cop turned airline security expert haunted by the death of his wife.
- Bruce Payne as Charles Rane, a sadistic international terrorist mastermind who hijacked the jet to escape custody.
- Tom Sizemore as Sly Delvecchio, Cutter's old friend who offers him a high-ranking job.
- Bruce Greenwood as Stuart Ramsey, the president of Atlantic International Airlines.
- Elizabeth Hurley as Sabrina Ritchie, Rane's henchwoman disguised as a flight attendant.
- Alex Datcher as Marti Slayton, a flight attendant on board the jet.
- Robert Hooks as Dwight Henderson, a FBI agent.
- Michael Horse as Forget, Rane's henchman.
- Marc Macaulay as Vincent, Rane's henchman.
- Ernie Lively as Chief Biggs, a local sheriff.
- Duchess Tomasello as Mrs. Edwards
- William Edward Roberts as Matthew
- James Short as Allen
- Gary Rorman as Douglas
- Joel Fogel as Dr. Bauman
- Jane McPherson as Nurse
Although supposedly set in Los Angeles and a small airport in Louisiana, filming actually took place in Snipes' hometown of Orlando, Florida, with downtown Orlando doubling for Los Angeles and the Orlando Police Department as LAPD, the Orlando International Airport doubling for Los Angeles International Airport and the Orlando-Sanford International Airport standing in for the small airport in Louisiana. The latter airport's former combination main hangar and control tower from its time as Naval Air Station Sanford was used for many key scenes just prior to its demolition post-filming.
Box office and reception
Passenger 57 was released on November 6, 1992 and opened at #1 rank in 1,734 theaters. The opening weekend grossing was $10,513,925. The film's final domestic grossing was $44,065,653. Passenger 57 is one of the films that launched Wesley Snipes' career in the action genre. Because of this film's success, Wesley Snipes was cast in lead roles of other features, including Money Train, Drop Zone, Demolition Man, The Art of War and the Blade Trilogy.
The film received mixed to negative reviews. Critics praised Wesley Snipes and Bruce Payne's performances but panned the script. It currently holds a "rotten" 23% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Marcus Trower, of Empire magazine, stated that Bruce Payne was "a brilliantly disconcerting madman. With his flowing blond Jesus locks, armour-piercing stare and casual sadism, he makes Hannibal Lecter look like a social worker – and like Sir Anthony Hopkins' serial killer, part of the man's menace is in the apparent contradiction between his articulate, well-spoken English and his off-hand brutality." The Radio Times stated that Payne and Snipes both gave 'charismatic turns' in the film. The New York Times stated that Payne brought a 'tongue-in-cheek humor to the psychopathic fiend' that he played. A reviewer for People magazine stated that "Bruce Payne steals the plane—and the movie".
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- Rotten Tomatoes (2010). "Passenger 57 (1992)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
- Empire's Passenger 57 Movie Review. Empireonline.com (2006-12-05). Retrieved on 2011-06-20.
- Passenger 57 film review. Radio Times. Retrieved on 2011-06-20.
- Holden, Stephen (6 November 1992). "Review/Film; Like a Roller Coaster, All Inside an Airplane". The New York Times.
- A Terrorist to Die for. People.com (1992-12-07). Retrieved on 2011-06-20.
- Passenger 57 at the Internet Movie Database
- Passenger 57 at AllMovie
- Passenger 57 at Rotten Tomatoes
- Passenger 57 at Box Office Mojo