This suspense film is similar to the Airport movies of the '70s, with another element of danger added. A 747 jumbo jet flying from New York to Los Angeles on Christmas Eve has only a handful of passengers, including four Federal marshals transporting two criminals. Stubbs (Brendan Gleeson), a convicted armed robber, fatally wounds a marshal during a visit to the washroom. In the subsequent melee the other marshals are killed, along with both the pilot and co-pilot. Stubbs is shot to death by the other prisoner, Ryan Weaver (Ray Liotta), a smooth-talking serial killer known as the Lonely Hearts Strangler. Weaver claims innocence, and after his heroic actions flight attendant Teri Halloran (Lauren Holly) begins to believe him. Meanwhile the plane is on autopilot, heading into the teeth of an intense storm. Halloran visits the cockpit and officials on the ground tell her that the sophisticated plane can land itself with the proper commands. But the psychopathic Weaver tries to derail Halloran's efforts, wanting to crash the plane and go out in a blaze of glory. A psychological and physical battle of wills is waged as the aircraft encounters rough weather, but these encounters get very repetitive. Constantly flickering lights were probably intended to heighten the suspense, but are more liable to induce headaches. Action fans may enjoy some scenes on this hazardous flight, but otherwise Turbulence is rather dull.
Even with less than two dozen people on board, the body count is very high. Severe violence includes Stubbs stabbing a marshal to death and other characters killed by bloody bullet wounds, including a gruesome shot through the head. Weaver strangles a flight attendant to death and assaults Halloran several times, but she manages to crush his leg and break his arm. In order to placate Weaver, Halloran promises him sexual favors, but it's only a ruse to buy some more time. With its violence and considerable foul language, including 17 crude words and 32 obscenities, the flight plan for this airborne thriller needed some significant revisions.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 2500 Broadway St., Santa Monica, CA 90404-3061
Many (17) times - Mild 9, Moderate 8
Many (32) times (f-word 21, s-word 9, other 2)
Many (12) times - Regular 5 (G 1, G-d 2, J 1, for G's sakes 1), Exclamatory 7
Many times - Moderate and severe (man kicked, man stabbed to death, gunfire with bloody killings, assaults, death by strangulation, man's leg crushed, man's arm broken)
None; near nudity with woman in revealing shirt
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog:
Man makes crude remark to woman, woman pretends to offer herself sexually
Few times (smoking, champagne drinking)
Cop admits to planting evidence
Teens and adults
Copyright Preview Family Movie Review (www.previeoOnline.org)