Joseph Gordon-Levitt gets locked in a cockpit for 90 minutes–and we get locked in a bland concept thriller–for 7500, a movie that takes off and crash lands before clearing the runway.
Not to be confused with the 2014 horror film Flight 7500, this one has JGL playing a pilot who is forced to make a challenging decision when terrorists attempt to seize control and threaten to kill hostages one by one until he lets them through the door. It has the makings of a decent little film, but director Patrick Vollrath, whose prior credits were restricted to short films, unfortunately runs out of material about 20 minutes in.
7500 struggles out of the gate–or, really, at the gate–as Vollrath spends an inordinate amount of time developing his main characters while the two pilots chat about random things, passengers board, JGL’s flight attendant girlfriend visits him in the cockpit, and other inane things happen. You can see what Vollrath is trying to do, but the film is terminal before it leaves the terminal.
Things lift off literally and figuratively when the terrorists attack, and for a moment 7500 is looking up. Vollrath and co-writer Senad Halilbasic introduce a compelling hook: what would you do, as a pilot, if terrorists started killing passengers one by one?
But with the camera confined to the cockpit, Vollrath is unable to establish any sense of suspense or emotional stakes. Even when JGL’s girlfriend gets caught in the crossfire, as inevitably you knew she would, the movie doesn’t find the jetstream; in fact, it handles the situation with almost complete emotional distance, caused in part by the early scenes that focused on developing a relationship between JGL and his colleague instead of him and the mother of his child. She’s a non-character, so why should we care when she is threatened with death?
The exciting stuff, if you can call it that, ends at the hour mark, but unfortunately 7500 goes for another half an hour. Even though the movie is only 90 minutes long, I found myself fast-forwarding through chunks toward the end, having entirely lost interest in the tiring conversation between JGL and his less-than-threatening captor.
There’s a good movie in here somewhere, but the concept never takes flight. Poorly executed and blandly written, 7500 simply doesn’t work.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.