Creepy coincidence, prophetic filmmaking or the worst kind of war profiteering? Only 11 days after the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Artisan began flogging “Sonic Impact,” a year-old straight-to-vid thriller starring Ice-T.
In “Sonic Impact,” in which the rapper co-stars with James Russo, three men hijack a 747 en route to New York City. They herd passengers into the back of the plane and threaten to crash it into the “biggest metropolitan area” they can find. A nail file becomes a weapon in the unfolding drama. And when talks fail, the President scrambles F-16s to shoot down the plane.
While the pic is now prominently displayed on new-release shelves of Blockbuster and other vid chains, an Artisan spokesman stressed that “Sonic Impact” is a repackaged and discounted re-release, and was “probably just an oversight.”
Helmer Rodney McDonald understands how, in the present political climate, his low-budget thriller could be perceived as both insensitive and exploitive.
“Yes, I personally think there could have been a better time to release this film,” said McDonald, whose other straight-to-video pics include “Steel Sharks” and “Surface to Air.” “It does have a lot of the same elements that could have happened that day in the air. And it may be too close to home for some people to watch. … But it has nothing to do with the Trade Center, and I don’t think anyone at Artisan is trying to capitalize off this.”
Should the video be pulled out of respect for the national mood?
“I think it’s a good movie for its genre, but I don’t think people are going to watch it now,” McDonald said.
“Personally, I think people will be looking for different types of entertainment.”