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Airport 79 (1979)

Airport 79 (1979)

The fourth and final movie in the Airport series dealt with the Concorde, a particularly interesting theme considering this plane was later banned and retired, deemed unsafe for flight... or at least that's what I thought! As it turns out, it was retired simply because it was no longer financially viable. Passengers were scared away from this medium of flight after the tragic Concorde 4590 crash (Jul 25, 2000) in which all 100 passengers died, and soon after with dwindling flight numbers after the 9/11 attack (Sept 9, 2001). Suddenly Jay Z's 'bring back the Concorde' reference makes sense! More info here.

Compared to the previous movies, this one didn't sell so well, and I understand why. The first one of the movies two trials dealt with evading a missile, and though the special effects are definitely improving, the whole situation still felt incredibly silly. The plane was doing barrel rolls, evading the missile, the missile zinc-zagging as if it had a life of its own, disappearing, coming back with a vengeance - and in between the aerial stunts we see the passengers tumbling around the cabin. Or rather, the cabin turning around and items tumbling down on the passengers. Always from the same angle. Round after round. Looks like the cabin actually was turning, but it didn't have that chaotic effect it could have had.

As with previous movies, there's a little musical moment, this time with a black man and a... trombone? Something like that. An old lady beside him sang some jazz. Not the most spectacular performance. George Patroni (George Kennedy) appears as one of the pilots for a change, as a main role, and though the movie starts with an overload of sexual jokes (because the other pilot's French, of course) it soon moves onto more profound relational drama; romance. Elements that don't seem to fit in with the surrounding chaos. Not to mention most of the movie takes place on the ground.

There's one hit-man-chasing-innocent-women scene too, professionally mannered, with details that make it seem all the more professional, like how he carefully lifts the phone off the hook before barging up the stairs after his victim - but even that feels misplaced. It's only at the very end, when incident #2 - a bomb, happens that things start feeling like they felt in the prequels. Intense.

George Kennedy might not have the same intensity as Jack Lemmon in the last movie, but he does alright! It ends with one more rescue attempt in a new type of surrounding, but up till that point unfortunately doesn't fully match the classics.

 rated 3/5: not bad


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