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Film / Passenger 57

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"Always bet on black."

This film, directed by Kevin Hooks and released in 1992, was the vehicle that solidified Wesley Snipes' career as an action hero.

An infamous terrorist named Charles Rane (Bruce Payne) has evaded capture for a long time by being extremely clever and ruthless. When Rane hijacks a commercial airliner with a security specialist on board named John Cutter (Snipes), Cutter must fight back to stop his "Rane of terror" amongst the passengers.

Also in the cast are Tom Sizemore, Bruce Greenwood, Robert Hooks, and Elizabeth Hurley.

This film provides examples of:

  • Action Hero: Cutter really doesn't want to be, but events force him to take out most of Rane's men by himself.
  • Badass Boast: "Always bet on black!"
  • Beauty Is Bad: Elizabeth Hurley is Rane's female accomplice.
  • Berserk Button: Mentioning Rane's childhood and implying he's mentally unstable.
  • Big Bad: Charles Rane, the English mercenary terrorist.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Rane is under no illusion about what a monster he is and seems to take pride in it.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Cutter and Rane are both this, though Rane's humor is far more malevolent in tone.
  • "Die Hard" on an X: Die Hard on a plane! This is the one that didn't have Harrison Ford...or Nicolas Cage...or Kurt Russell.
  • Disney Villain Death:
    • Cutter kicks Rane out of a plane in mid-flight.
    • One of Rane's mooks is also killed this way at the fairground when Cutter tosses him off the top of a ferris wheel.
  • Disposable Pilot: Played straight with the captain, who gets shot by Rane when the villains take over the plane. Subverted with the co-pilot and navigator, who both survive the movie.
  • Evil Brit: Rane is an English terrorist-for-hire.
  • Extremity Extremist: Cutter's fighting style puts a lot of emphasis on kicks as seen in his fight with Vincent. Makes sense since Wesley Snipes is trained in Capoeira, Hapkido, Taekwondo and Kickboxing among his other fighting styles.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Rane is always exceptionally polite but clearly malevolent and sadistic.
  • Finger Gun: While imprisoned, Rane notices a child doing this. He proceeds to do it back, revealing his handcuffs and scaring the child half to death.
  • French Jerk: One of Rane’s minions is French.
  • Freudian Excuse: Rane had an abusive father, who he mentions died a violent death.
  • Genius Bruiser: Both Cutter and Rane are this, being both skilled tacticians and dangerous combatants.
  • Hannibal Lecture: Rane is quite skilled at delivering these, browbeating various law enforcement-types and taunting Cutter over his inability to prevent the deaths of the hostages he kills.
    Cutter: My instincts are to wax your ass all over this floor!
    Rane: Those are your emotions acting without the benefit of intellect.
  • Her Boyfriend's Jacket: John takes off his and gives it to Marty when they get off the plane after seeing off Rane, cementing their new relationship.
  • Honest Corporate Executive: Stuart Ramsey, the CEO of Atlantic International Airlines, comes off as a decent guy.
  • I Know Karate: Cutter, of course. He uses it to good effect against Vincent and Rane.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: How Vincent gives himself away: he says they should go along with whatever "Mister Rane" orders. He wouldn't know who had hijacked the plane since he was down in the hold the whole time. Not that it matters much, since he tries to knife John right after saying that.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Cutter is very bitter and testy after his wife's death.
  • Lack of Empathy: Rane, big time. He thinks nothing of shooting hostages, even if they have families, and at one point even menaces his own lawyer.
  • Large Ham: Rane again. Bruce Payne delivers every line as though he's playing a snake.
  • The Lost Lenore: Cutter's wife Lisa. In the official soundtrack, the eponymous song is beautiful yet melancholic, representing Cutter's inability to come to terms with her death.
  • Made of Explodium: When the terrorists reboard the plane, the mobile gangway collapses and bursts into flames.
  • Made of Iron: Rane no-sells several shots to the crotch during his final fight with Cutter.
  • Madness Mantra: Charles Rane is not insane.
  • Mistaken for Terrorist: Cutter is at first, thanks to Rane fooling the police into thinking he worked for him.
  • My Greatest Failure: Cutter's wife being blown away by some random armed store thief that killed her out of spite when Cutter couldn't get the drop on him fast enough and tried to negotiate. As a result, Cutter is far less inclined to be a hero during the present-day.
  • Never Say That Again: Rane thanks his lawyer for his legal advice of pleading temporary insanity by brutally thrashing him, putting him in a painful hold, and whispering "Repeat after me: Charles Rane is not insane."
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Cutter delivers one of these to Vincent, Rane's knife-wielding henchman.
  • Only Sane Man: Stuart Ramsey is the only one who points out how insanely stupid it was for the FBI to put the world's most dangerous plane hijacker on a plane.
  • Psycho for Hire: Rane is a terrorist-for-hire who takes great pleasure in tormenting and killing innocent people.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Rane all but admits to being one. When asked where his father is now, he merely says "he died...violently".
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: Rane is very flat and deadpan throughout the film, only raising his voice once or twice.
    Rane: You hear that, Cutter? Douglas has a daughter who loves him very much. And until your interference, she had a father.
  • Terrorists Without a Cause: Charles Rane is a mercenary, paid to commit terrorist attacks on behalf of others. He doesn't seem to believe in any cause, but does take a certain pride in his crimes.
  • Unwinnable Training Simulation: Cutter's Establishing Character Moment involves him being part of a hostage drill for trainee stewardesses that has him getting angry at the stewardess' attempt at negotiating for a passenger's life using the standard methods told to her and "killing" the hostage out of sheer spite. This act of savage trolling makes more sense when it turns out that this happened to him in the past. One of the other trainers even tells Cutter that he's being extremely harsh on the trainees and he should take some time off.
  • Wasted Beauty: When Cutter knocks out Sabrina, the sole female terrorist (played by Elizabeth Hurley, no less), he says, "What a waste."
  • Worthy Opponent: Rane considers Cutter a worthy opponent after his arrest at the carnival.
    Rane: Mr. Cutter, how kind of you to pay me a visit. You've been a worth adversary. It's a shame we won't be seeing much more of each other.
  • Wrong-Name Outburst: Cutter accidentally addresses Marti as "Lisa" in a heated moment. "Lisa" is actually Cutter's dead wife, killed in a convenience store robbery.