[Last Film I Saw] Airplane! (1980)


Title: Airplane!
Year: 1980
Country: USA
Language: English
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Jim Abrahams
David Zucker
Jerry Zucker
Robert Hays
Julie Hagerty
Leslie Nielsen
Robert Stack
Lloyd Bridges
Lorna Patterson
Peter Graves
Kareem Abdul-Jabaar
Stephen Stucker
Lee Bryant
Barbara Billingsley
James Hong
Rating: 5.9/10

A hokum airplane farce in the 80s can still pull off some compulsive laughters, which is a n ironical manifesto to testify how rare a comedic parody could emerge unscathed from the ruthless timeline.

This trailblazer hysterical slapstick from Zucker brothers (would later bombard us with THE NAKED GUN series and SCARY MOVIE franchise) and Jim Abrahams (the director of HOT SHOTS movies) has its erratic set pieces which can easily entertain its updated younger viewers, but the double edges also smear the continuity as a feature entity.

The system of narrative is satirical and tongue-in-the-cheek, the most conspicuous example are the gags of nagging your next-to-you passengers into suicides later would later be plagiarized by Stephen Chow (the comedian) and Jeffrey Lau (the director) in their ultra-illustrious magnum opus A CHINESE ODYSSEY PART ONE: PANDORA’S BOX and A CHINESE ODYSSEY PART TWO: CINDERELLA (both 1995) among Chinese populations at least. And this is only one tip of the iceberg in expounding how this modern farce has its novel influence on its future generations, and even to the level of the zeitgeist of a wacky farce (although the plane model might be too jerry-built to ignore its low-budget quagmire).

But, AIRPLANE! is a far cry as a textbook paragon in the comedy genre, the inconsistent and jumpy logics is out of context, tacky playfulness, performance torpor, all justifies its entertainment function is the only target of the team behind its wheel, it’s a lost cause with ample fun and could be a reference book, from which many recent shoddy comedic productions are still shamelessly exploiting its residues.

The cast is deadpan serious in their incompetent puppetry, leading man Robert Hays and leading lady Julie Hagerty are both wanting in comedic chemistry and basic savvy of acting, only leaving Leslie Nielsen to unassumingly outshine them throughout. Chiefly, the film would survive better if they could apply their magnificent novelty into someone who is much more competent and committed in delivering one-liners and keep the engine running a bit longer, since we haven’t got enough crackling in its concise 88 minutes, right?


One thought on “[Last Film I Saw] Airplane! (1980)

  1. Pingback: [Last Film I Saw] I’m So Excited! (2013) [7/10] | Cinema Omnivore

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