Movie Review - Altitude (2017)

According to a tweet, this movie is called Hijacked in the UK and features Dolph Lundgren alone on the DVD cover. The poster for the movie here in the United States features Lundgren holding a gun. When it comes to what happens in this movie, both images are incorrect. Lundgren is barely a character in this narrative, so it's disingenuous to have him alone on the DVD cover. His screen time consists of him mostly sitting and he never holds a gun. Obviously, Lundgren isn't as young as he was 30 years ago in Rocky IV (1985). He's probably not able to be as animated as he was in Universal Soldier (1992), but the man has worked steadily for the past three decades and proved in The Expendables (2010) that he's still capable of mixing it up. Writer Jesse Mittelstadt and director Alex Merkin however don't take advantage and use Lundgren to his full potential. He's an action star who gets no action.

Another actor who isn't used to full potential here is Jonathan Lipnicki who is best known as the child actor in Jerry Maguire (1996). When he was only six, Lipnicki was this adorable kid who everyone thought was cute. Now, he's 26-years-old and if one has followed him online, especially on Instagram, it's clear that he's grown into a very handsome, young man who spends a lot of time in the gym. He's now arguably a very sexy boy. None of that is put on display here though. He's basically given one brief moment to be funny. He shows off some sexy moves but it's only to comedic effect. He's then immediately dispatched before we even get to know his name. He's used as nothing more than a plot point and this movie only wastes Lipnicki as a presence.

Denise Richards (Starship Troopers and The World Is Not Enough) stars as Gretchen Blair, a FBI agent who violates protocol during a hostage situation in Los Angeles, which saves the lives of the hostages but is highly risky. It gets her assigned to a desk job in Washington, DC. She takes an overnight flight that gets hijacked. At first, she has no clue why it's being hijacked. When she does figure out why, it makes the whole thing feel like overkill. It just seems like the whole hijacking was unnecessary.

Greer Grammer (The Middle and Awkward) co-stars as Sadie, the lead hijacker who is a bit of a bad-ass. Kirk Barker plays Terry, the mark who the hijackers target, and Jordi Vilasuso (All My Children and Days of Our Lives) plays Luke, the air marshal who has no experience dealing with any of this. Vilasuso is a soap stud and his presence is engaging but more could have been done with him too.

The fight choreography is rather lame and the visual effects are equally poor. Merkin must not have had much of a budget or time. This movie is compared to Passenger 57 (1992) and Non-Stop (2014), which are the low-end of Hollywood films about hijacked planes. Instead of a man, a woman is in the lead, which is good, but overall, this is nowhere near as good as the crème de la crème of movies about hijacked planes like Air Force One (1997), Executive Decision (1996) and United 93 (2006).

Rated R for language and some violence.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 28 mins.

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