By Owen Gleiberman
Updated November 20, 1992 at 05:00 AM EST

It says something about the current state of American movie culture that we could be offered two rip-offs of Die HardUnder Siege and now Passenger 57 — within a single season. (It also says something that both films make Die Hard, exciting as it is, look like some sort of high dramatic achievement; by this scale, The Dirty Dozen is Aeschylus.) In Passenger 57, Wesley Snipes quips, glares, and kung fus his way through the role of John Cutter, a terrorism and hijacking expert who happens to be aboard the same plane as a terrorist hijacker (Bruce Payne, who has the look of a depraved Roman soldier). In a few of the action sequences, director Kevin Hooks evokes the entertaining preposterousness of the James Bond series. Still, as high-wire action melodrama Passenger 57 is almost laughably implausible. When the airliner is grounded for lack of fuel, the terrorist, who’s supposed to be a psychotic mastermind, actually gets off the plane so that the movie can have Snipes chase him around a country fairground. As leaky plot holes go, that’s the equivalent of a boat without a bottom. C+

Passenger 57

  • Movie
  • R
  • 84 minutes
  • Kevin Hooks