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  This is a Hijack In Plane Sight
Year: 1973
Director: Barry Pollack
Stars: Adam Roarke, Neville Brand, Lynn Borden, Jay Robinson, Dub Taylor, Sandy Balson, Sam Chew Jr, Nikki Diamond, Agneta Eckemyr, Biff Elliott, Jacqueline Giroux, Charles Isen, John Alderman, Don Pedro Colley, Milt Kamen, Stafford Morgan, Adam Williams
Genre: ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Mike Christie (Adam Roarke) is in bed with his girlfriend Diane (Lynn Borden) when a group of thugs break into their bedroom and order him to get out so their leader, Dominic (Neville Brand), can discuss matters with him. Mike owes a local Mr Big a lot of money, and as it is nowhere to be seen things could end up very badly for him, so what Dominic wants to know is, when will he pay up? He doesn't have an answer because he doesn't have the cash, but asks for a week to raise the funds and after some reluctance and a lot of being slapped around, they make a deal. Mike now has one week, so what does he do? With Dominic sticking by his side like glue, he puts a plan into action: a plane hijack!

Well, it was 1973 and plane hijacks were front page news, having been for the best part of a decade by the point this exploitation item was released. Most of those hijackers had political motives, it had to be said, not like the lead character here at all, but one chap who would only be known as D.B. Cooper - nobody knows his real name - had pulled off a daring heist in 1971 where he had parachuted from an airliner in flight with two hundred thousand dollars stolen from the plane as a ransom. As he was never found, and nobody knows whether he survived or not, he fired the public's imaginations across the globe, and even had his own movie made about him. This was not that movie.

This was a cheapo thriller where the Cooper excitement by loose association was fuel for the sort of low rent twists and suspense, though the real ace in the deck was Brand, who was evidently prepared to go for broke in a performance that said, what the hell, let's steal the movie from under the noses of his co-stars by heading straight over the top. Roarke, who could be perfectly acceptable in his biker movies, was given a rather blander role to essay despite the character being a supposedly desperate criminal, who only really springs to life when he gets to wrest control of the plane, and indeed the film, from Brand, who has been merrily chewing the scenery like a five course banquet.

If you had a liking for those nineteen-seventies anything goes to keep the attention of the audience stylings, then you would probably get more out of This is a Hijack than someone who preferred a restrained mode of entertainment. Although there was not really an nudity, there were sexual situations and Dominic sexually harassing any woman who was aboard the plane, not merely him either as every one of the gang were keen to prove their macho credentials, aside from Mike whose missus is already there and would frown upon any of that from her man. But there were strong signs that director Barry Pollack was playing at least some of this for laughs, not that it was an out and out kneeslapper, but the moments that prompted you to chuckle may not be entirely unintentional.

For instance, as this was a private plane owned by perennial bad guy Jay Robinson, here very rich, so Mike could have simply demanded him for the money and not gone through this rigmarole, but anyway, as this was a private jet, the in-flight movie was a porno (yes, it sure was the seventies) which one passenger, a Senator no less, observes that he has seen it before at the Senate because it was a favourite of Dick's - Dick being President Richard Nixon (!). Then there's the Airplane!-esque mix-up when the stewardess tries to drug the gang with sleeping pills in the coffee which gets accidentally taken to the pilots, or Dominic's demand the law strip down to their underwear on the runway to hand over a cool million (here's your chance to see Dub Taylor in his boxers). Yet in other parts it appeared to be deadly serious, the violence for instance. Considering it was made for peanuts (check the strings holding up the model plane) they did manage to pack a lot in, though it was not exactly great. Music by Charles Bernstein.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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