Review by Sean Boelman
Despite having what may be among the worst titles in film history, the Adam Copeland starring vehicle Money Plane manages to be a surprisingly entertaining action flick with a slick concept. At a lean eighty-two minutes, there is enough carnage here to satisfy the cravings of adrenaline seekers, if only briefly.
The movie follows a thief who, in order to pay off his debt to a ruthless boss, must rob an airborne casino serving some of the most dangerous criminals in the world with bizarre and dangerous games of skill and chance. It’s a concept so crazy that it works, even if the film doesn’t always cash in on its promise.
Many of the best moments of the movie are those which explore the idea of the airborne underground casino. The games that were created by the film’s four writers are sometimes disturbing and consistently intriguing and exciting. It would have been nice had the movie spent more time taking the audience through this world.
Of course, this is a B-movie, so the physical world-building isn’t quite as impressive as one would hope. The set design is relatively minimalistic and there is very little sense of spatial geography to the airplane sequences. As such, the claustrophobia that makes the heist so challenging never quite works.
The film also fails to explain the heist in a way that is particularly logical. Of course, there is a lot going on here in a very short period of time, so it would have been difficult for the writers to explain every little detail, but the believability does suffer as a result. Still, in a turn-your-brain-off action movie like this, the plot only serves as an excuse for a few cool scenes, and this movie delivers.
One of the more frustrating things about the film is that the characters aren’t more memorable. A lot of potential is wasted by not giving the patrons of the casino more identifiable characteristics. Only one character, a stereotypical Texan high-roller, is big enough to stick with the viewer after the credits roll.
Still, the cast does a solid job of delivering hammy B-movie performances. Copeland is pretty fun to watch in the lead role, and while he does butcher a few of the one-liners, he handles the few action sequences quite well. Character actors Thomas Jane and Kelsey Grammer show up in the supporting cast, and while neither is fully utilized, they both do well in their respective scenes.
Money Plane is expectedly a pretty big mess, but it stays in the air. For a B-movie clocking in at under ninety minutes, audiences couldn’t ask for much more than this: a mindless, entertaining watch with a few great moments that show a greater sense of potential.
Money Plane hits VOD on July 11.