Rated: R for language and violence. Reviewed by: Chris Release date: December 9, 1994 Released by: Paramount Pictures Corporation
Wesley Snipes gets in way over his head (38,000 feet to be exact) in the latest fast-paced action film.
Pete (Snipes) and his brother (Malcolm Jamal Warner of TV's Cosby) are U.S. Marshalls charged with transporting by plane a prisoner (Michael Jeter of TV's Evening Shade) to another prison after he's almost killed.
Once on the 747, a group of hijackers, led by an ex-DEA agent, played by perennial bad guy Gary Busey, set off a bomb and in the confusion, sky dive out the exit door with a scared Jeter in tow.
The authorities blame Pete for the explosion and don't believe his unlikely story that skydivers would jump from that height. His boss puts him on leave and Pete begins to look up skydivers with a reputation for performing impossible stunts, which leads him to Jess (Yancy Butler). She's a cocky daredevil who was once involved with one of the suspects and she puts Pete through crash course training.
Drop Zone's complex plot is secondary to the action, which is almost nonstop from the exciting opening scene. There's even a few stunts I've never seen before and in this age of hi-tech wizardry, that's something! Aerial scenes are photographed up-close and personal, with characters flying through the air at breakneck speed. Piggyback rescues and fist fights are choreographed in the air with aerobatic precision.
Busey, with his big toothy grin and unruly hair, makes a slick evil thug, but Hollywood does seem to be fixated on corrupt DEA officers lately. Snipes' character is macho without being superhuman. He gets beaten up frequently, but still keeps his sense of humor. He's very entertaining because he doesn't take himself too seriously.
Drop Zone is an unbelievable yarn, but the terrific action and a very likable star keeps the audience involved every thrilling, edge-of-your-sear minutes.