|Dir:||David Lowell Rich|
|Star:||George Kennedy, Alain Delon, Susan Blakely, Robert Wagner, Sylvia Kristel|
|Cert / Year:||PG / 1979|
The year is 1979 and Concorde is making its inaugural trip from the States to Russia. On board is reporter Maggie Whelan, who has just been handed details of illegal arms deals conducted by her boyfriend's corporation. She plans to expose his deals when they land, but he is going to use all of the weapons at his disposal to ensure that this is one flight that will never reach it's destination.
Airport was a great disaster movie, it's fourth sequel Airport 79 the Concorde is a great disaster. This can't even be blamed on the diminishing returns of sequels, as the previous two sequels were as good if not better than the first film. So it appears that an established formula for airborne emergency has been well and truly ballsed up, with the end result of a disaster film that barely makes it off the ground.
The first warning indicators that all is not well are a glance down the cast list. With Burt Lancaster and Dean Martin long gone from the series we have George Kennedy inexplicably showing up as a pilot (he was ground chief and airline president in the previous films). He is joined by Robert "Hart to Hart" Wagner and a mixed bag of Euro trash, which includes Alan Delon, Sylvia "Emanuelle" Kristel and Sybil Danning. This is not an A list cast who form what has to be the most stereotyped passengers and crew ever. Cute deaf kid, check, mad woman for comic relief, check, young lovers, check, medical emergency in transit, check. The list shows a lack of imagination that is simply stunning.
Emergency sirens begin to sound when the special effects make and appearance. They are a terrible mix of models poorly blue screened onto film of sky, and endlessly reused stock footage. The result is not convincing in the slightest (heck Thunderbirds looked more realistic). The biggest laugh though is reserved for the pitifully camp super missile with its natty black finish and red flashing lights.
Where the whole mess plummets to the ground though is when you consider the facial script. No attempt has been made to keep things real. Watch in bemusement as Concorde starts doing aerobatic maneuvers at mach 2 while Patroni sticks his hand out of a opened window to fire flares in order to distract a missile. Marvel in disbelief as Concorde pulls out of a vertical dive on one engine while a more agile fighter doesn't. Gasp with incomprehension as the bottom of the plane falls off causing all of the fuel to jettison. It is all so much badly written unbelievable twaddle. There is just no overall threat. Mini disasters rear their heads then moments later are averted in the most preposterous way. The biggest mistake however is landing the plane half way through the film only to take off again. By doing this all tension is completely lost and the most embarrassing scene of Patrioni finding hilarity in being set up with a hooker is gained. Add to this some cringe worthy sexist stereotyped dialogue and the recipe for a true disaster is completed.
Airport 79 Concorde is the smoldering ruin of a film. The clueless unrealistic script ensures failure (not helped by the now realised historical facts that no other airlines ever bought Concorde, and that the USA pulled out of the 1980 Moscow Olympics in a cold war sulk). The poor effects and B movie cast just provide fuel for its funeral pyre. In short there are three better films in the series so there is no need to watch this film. In fact it places it is less believable and more farcical than the spoof Airplane. The one plus point in the Lalo Schifrin score but this was never going to be enough to avert this disaster, rest in peace Airport 79.
At twice the speed of sound, can the Concorde evade attack?
|16:9||The flight sequences are grainier than a beach, and there is loads of print damage.|
|Dolby Surround||Not terrible but nothing exciting.|
|Awful transfer and only a trailer. But this is part of the Terminal pack so you get the other three much superior Airport movies as well and they fare somewhat better.|