Directed by Timo Vuorensola, 97 Minutes marks Alec Balwyn’s first movie since the tragic passing of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of Rust. The film’s title refers to the length of time the characters have before a hijacked plane runs out of fuel and crashes.
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97 Minutes review
+ Intriguing premise
– Unconvincing performances
– Feels longer than it is
– Predictable “twist”
– Too many plot holes
At the start of the film, we learn that Oceanic Flight 420 from London Heathrow to JKF is 1,100 miles away from reaching the U.S. shore. The passengers and the crew are a mere 97 minutes away from landing at their destination (and the plane has just about enough fuel to get them there).
The action starts straight away, with a hijacker getting up from his seat and shooting an innocent flight attendant. Chaos ensues. There’s a cop on the plane, she gets killed immediately. For some reason, the hijackers think it’s a brilliant idea to shoot all the flight attendants and the pilot, even if none of them know how to fly a plane.
At the NSA, Deputy Toyin gets the news of Flight 420’s peril. But there’s hope as the agency has an asset on the inside, undercover agent Alex (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). With help from a brave Doctor Kim (MyAnna Buring), Alex needs to keep the pilot alive, defeat the hijackers, and land the plane before it runs out of fuel.
Making matters worse, the NSA’s Director Hawkins (Alec Baldwin) wants nothing more than to blow up the plane with everyone in it. Alex must find a way to take back control of the 767 before the trigger-happy Hawkins blows him out of the sky.
Not “So Bad Is Good.” Just Bad.
In terms of quality, 97 Minutes is as bad as Snakes on A Plane. However, the former was a lot of fun and had that hard-to-define cult-movie-vibe going for it. It also had Samuel L. Jackson and a relatively coherent plot.
During the hijacking, the plane passengers were allowed to move around freely on the plane and even use the bathrooms. Our hero, Alex, shouts that he’s an undercover agent to anyone who would listen, but his fellow criminals are never in earshot. When one of them does overhear, he’s quickly killed off.
It also feels that a lot of the action portrayed in the film would have taken more than an hour and a half to do. And then there’s the big twisty reveal. I’m not going to spoil it, but you’ll probably see it coming from a mile off.
The cast performances aren’t the best. Jonathan Rhys Meyers is a decent actor, but seems to thrive in TV series environments. As brilliant as he was in shows like Vikings and The Tudors, his heart wasn’t in this one. The same goes for MyAnna Buring, whose performance in 97 minutes isn’t anywhere near as compelling as her work on The Witcher.
Alec Baldwin is an A-lister who did not bring his A-game anywhere near this movie. That’s understandable, considering the tragedy from a couple of years ago. But sadly, his sub-par performance made this already flawed movie worse. It doesn’t help that his character is a one-dimensional villain whose sole purpose is to stand there and continuously call for the plane’s bombing. It gets old. Fast.
While 97 Minutes isn’t a good movie, it’s still quite fun to watch as long as you’re willing to suspend your disbelief to the point of forgetting everything you know about how anything works, even time. The premise is intriguing enough, but the execution lacks any logic.
What are other critics saying about 97 Minutes (Video Reviews):
The Wasteland Reviewer thought there was too much happening in the movie, making it a convoluted mess.
Movie Review Mom gave this movie a C rating and felt that a lot of it was unrealistic.