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Film / Flight Crew

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Flight Crew (Russian: Экипаж) is a 2016 Russian catastrophe film, inspired by the 1979 Soviet film of the same name (and in some ways its remake).

The central figure is Alexey Gushchin, a young pilot whose Honor Before Reason behavior always gets him in trouble with authorities. He gets kicked out from the Air Force and from cargo aviation, and only thanks to his father's connections does he get employed as a trainee at an obscure company that operates passenger flights. He gets in trouble with his new job (as a trainee co-pilot) as well, but his instructor Leonid Zinchenko, despite being The Cynic himself, insists that Gushchin shouldn't be fired.

One day their plane, while flying in the Far East, receives a call for help from a tiny volcanic island Kanwoo that is struck by an earthquake. After the plane lands, the runways start to burn. In an attempt to rescue as many people as possible, the crew get separated: Zinchenko, along with another co-pilot Alexandra Kuzmina who's Gushchin's sweetheart, is forced to use a cargo aircraft for the only short runway available, while Gushchin has to fly their plane through a burning runway.


But the real trouble starts when both planes are finally airborne...

The film contains examples of:

  • All Love Is Unrequited: At one moment, Alexey gets rejected by Alexandra, while stewardess Victoria has a crush on Alexey, and steward Andrey is desperately in love with Victoria.
  • Badass in Distress: Zinchenko. With all his amazing piloting skills and courage, he can't do much on his own if his plane is, to put it bluntly, falling. As he states himself, it was a miracle they flew that far with this little fuel.
  • Berserk Button: Never, ever, ever say to Alexandra that she's unfit to be a pilot because she's a woman.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Gushchin and his crew coming to rescue Zinchenko’s plane.
  • Birds of a Feather: The ultimate resolution of the Romantic Arc. Co-pilot goes for co-pilot, and stewardess goes for steward.
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  • Catch a Falling Star: Or a falling Zinchenko, to be precise. He's only barely caught as he's the last to leave his plane.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • While Alexey and Alexandra are having dinner in the beginning of the film, he tells her a story of an acrobat who jumps from one plane to another in midair. Little does either of them know that she'll soon have to do something very similar.
    • Alexey's exam with Zinchenko involves landing a plane with an engine on fire in a thunderstorm. The airline's director believed it was way too much, but eventually Alexey had to land his plane in almost identical conditions.
  • Clip Its Wings: Zinchenko's plane gets its wing damaged during takeoff, and Gushchin's plane loses a wing during landing.
  • Danger Deadpan: After both planes are airborne, Zinchenko and Gushchin practically never raise their voices. Zinchenko's plane is rapidly falling down into the ocean, Gushchin's both engines had caught fire and one of them is now out of order, Gushchin is trying to save the passengers in an impossible way, and it's all discussed calmly and quietly.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Andrey's always trying to ask Victoria out, but she never says yes until the last scenes.
  • Don't Celebrate Just Yet: Sadly, the residents of Kanwoo who thought all the trouble would be over once they left the island, were Horribly Wrong. Especially those on Zinchenko's plane.
  • Exact Time to Failure: "The fuel's going to last twenty minutes, not longer."
  • Follow in My Footsteps: When Zinchenko's son Valera, failing his exams, announces he doesn't want to be a lawyer anyway, Zinchenko suggests helping him to get into a piloting school.
  • Hanging by the Fingers: After the basket carrying passengers to Gushchin's plane collapses, Zinchenko and the last remaining man from Kanwoo are forced to climb the rope connecting the planes by themselves, with only their arms and legs and some bandages to support them. The second man falls down halfway, but Zinchenko makes it.
  • Jade-Colored Glasses: Zinchenko's way of thinking. He knows that Blind Obedience of instructions and rules often leads to tragedy, but that's the way life works.
  • Missing Mom: Gushchin's father lives alone, and the mother's never mentioned. It's hinted that she had left him.
  • Newcomer Saves the Day: Zinchenko orders Valera not to leave the plane after landing on Kanwoo, but Valera refuses and eventually plays a crucial part in the following rescue plot.
  • Parents in Distress: Valera is on the better plane, and it's he who reminds Gushchin about the acrobat jumping in midair. Afterwards, he helps save the people from the falling plane, his father among them.
  • Real Men Hate Affection: Both father and son Zinchenko.
  • Remake Cameo: It's hinted that Tamara Igorevna from the control center who briefly appears in the climax scenes is the young stewardess Tamara, one of the main characters from the 1979 film. They are played by the same actress, and Tamara Igorevna says that she, too, had been in a dire situation like Gushchin's.
  • Rescue Romance: And a double one, since the two guys were both on the better plane and their respective sweethearts were both on the falling plane. Moreover, while Alexandra already loved Alexey (even if they had seriously quarrelled before the flight), it was the rescue operation that made Victoria look differently at Andrey.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: The airline's chief shareholder smokes on board and demands cognac to be brought to him during takeoff. Then he fights Andrey and Alexey. Although he is shown being arrested, by the end of the film he's again in power and has no problems with law.
  • Take a Third Option: Land on water, fall into the sea, or... transfer the people to another airplane in midair.
  • Take My Hand: Andrey's Running Gag during the rescue operation. His task was to catch the basket with the passengers, secure it, and lift the people up.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: Valera has a brief affair with an older woman who helps him prepare for his English exam.
  • Tough Love: It's already that bad that Zinchenko hardly ever sees his son, but when he does, he rarely displays any warmth.
  • Together in Death: When the passengers are being transferred from Zinchenko's plane, a young woman refuses to leave her bridegroom. Eventually they go with the last group, still locked in an embrace, the basket falls apart halfway, and they are among those who fall down.

Example of: