Anthony Michael Hall delivers a singularly irritating perf as a psycho kidnapper/murderer-turned-hijacker in “Hijacked: Flight 285,” a thriller devoid of thrills, tension and intelligent plotting.
Telepic launches with standard Irwin Allen exposition as characters are introduced via vignettes: the estranged husband and wife traveling with their young daughter; the belligerent drunk; the disabled Vietnam vet; the courageous, cool, calm female pilot; the playboy co-pilot.
Viewers familiar with this type of introduction — and, for example, “The Towering Inferno”– will be able to pick out who will die valiantly, who will be a hero and who will be offed because of cowardice: a disaster-pic morality play.
Hall plays a violent felon being transported on a commercial flight — a commercial flight! — to Leavenworth prison. But g.f. Hudson Leick and mercenary James Lancaster are also aboard, and bust him loose. The trio take over the plane and demand $ 20 million and a chat with feds Perry King and hostage negotiator Ally Sheedy. Seems Hall, King and Sheedy had a run-in a couple of years earlier, resulting in the death of a little girl and Hall’s incarceration.
Hall demands that the plane land in Dallas; meanwhile, his gang terrorizes the passengers, but the travelers are resourceful and heroic, giving the terrorists a hard time. Hall, in a one-note perf, stumbles around the aisles and cockpit with bug-eyed menace until the SWAT teams arrives and, mercifully, shoots him.
Auds might be drawn by the marquee value of “Hijacked’s” stars: Telepic features a mini-reunion of former brat packers Sheedy — in a nicely restrained role in which she valiantly fights her Valley Girl accent — and Hall, plus James Brolin, the always likable Michael Gross and Leick, who last season finished a juicy turn on “Melrose Place.” But the characters are thinly drawn, and much of the time the company of actors kinda looks lost.
Telepic picks up the pace after the first hour, but Charles Correll’s direction relieves the telepic of tension, although he doesn’t have much to work with when given a script based on a dumb premise anyway.
Tech credits are OK.