Every hostage negotiator in movies and TV follows the model of Kevin Spacey in The Negotiator. They want to just keep talking and talking. Of course, the show would be over prematurely if they said: “I’m not feeling it here, let’s just send in SWAT.” Needless to say, FBI negotiator Gretchen Blair is a talker, who clashes with her guns-blazin’ boss. That gets her reassigned to a DC desk job, but to get there, she catches a flight loaded with hijackers in Alex Merkin’s Altitude, which airs soon on Charge TV.
Blair will be our John McClane for tonight. She was supposed to start the film in coach, but when she went-off on a gross row-mate, the impressed flight attendant bumped her up to business class. That is where she meets the relentlessly flirty Terry, who first offers to take her to Paris and then offers her a whole lot of money to keep him alive. Much to his alarm, he notices several of his former criminal associates boarding the plane. It turns out they double-crossed him first, but he still got away with all their loot.
Naturally, they want it back and they are perfectly willing to kill all souls aboard to do it. Their leader, Matthew Sharpe, is just the sort of mechanical whiz who has all the necessary skills. His trusted lieutenant Sadie (Terry’s ex) is sufficiently psychotic to make sure it happens. However, they did not anticipate a Fed like Blair being on-board, even though she was forced to check her side arm, after her status was down-graded.
Yes, this is basically another Dolph Lundgren VOD movie, but this time around he plays the villain—and he doesn’t even get much screen time, because rough, tough Sharpe spends most of the film locked in the cockpit. Instead, Denise Richards is the lead. Believe it or not, she makes a pretty engaging action protag, despite the limitations of the script and budget. She shows enough backbone and action cred to make us want to see her get another chance to star in a better constructed Die Hard clone.
Richards really is the story of Altitude. She makes it watchable, which suggests she really can do this kind of thing. She has had some unfortunate choices of projects and husbands, but all accounts suggest she is a great mom. What action fan wouldn’t like to see her and Lundgren in something bigger and more ambitious. Sort of recommended as a scouting report, Altitude airs this coming Saturday (4/3) on Charge (and it is currently available to watch on YouTube, legally and temporarily).