Weekend at Bernies II. Blues Brothers 2000. Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2. These are movies that should have never been made. and speaking of horrible film sequels, let me tell you a little bit about Turbulence, the plane-hijacking film franchise that just couldn’t escape total obscurity. Although it probably should have.
Turbulence, the series’ namesake, was released in 1997. The film starred Ray Liotta as a trial-bound prisoner on transport to Los Angeles who breaks free mid-flight and threatens to take the plane down with him. The pulsating drama grossed about $11 million domestically, a climatic nosedive compared to its $55 million overall budget. Hoping to give it another go-round with a direct-to-Vhs release in 1999, Turbulence 2: Fear of Flying raised the altitude a little with a plane that was transporting a goddamn chemical bomb. It fared a solid 14% on the Tomatometer.
In the new millennium and despite two previous commercial failures, there had to be one more way to capitalize on the thrill of hijackers at death-defying heights. The third installment to round out this disastrous trilogy of airplane suspense films, Turbulence 3: Heavy Metal was released to home the home video market fewer than four months prior to the events of 9/11, on May 13th, 2001. This time around, however, creators took lead from the trends of a post-Y2K America, with hopes of appeal to the youth’s dominant subcultures.
The DVD jacket copy reads:
Turbulence 3 brings a mid-air crisis crashing onto the Web and into the lives of millions of stunned Internet viewers when an airborne rock concert goes disastrously wrong.
Slade Craven - the rock superstar and reigning king of ‘Death Metal’ music has planned a farewell concert unlike anything the world has ever seen: He’ll be performing onboard a 747 jumbo jet as it flies from Los Angeles to Toronto. The entire spectacle will be broadcast live on Web music network ZTV - a first for the Internet and the TV industry.
Murder and mayhem take over as the flight is hijacked by a sadistic fan, who randomly starts killing anyone who gets in his way. Proving to be the ultimate white-knuckle fight for the passengers and millions of Web viewers, the aptly numbered Flight 666 continues off course and toward imminent disaster.
“Let’s do the hustle” is Slade Craven’s signature catchphrase
File under for fans of heavy (nu)metal, hackers, Satanism, cyberculture, reality television, and cheapo action films. The growing popularity of Marilyn Manson in the late 90s was (clearly!) a major influence on the film’s lead character of Slade Craven, considering that he is almost identical in nature to the Ohio-born, Florida-bred “God of Fuck.” But what happens when a devout follower of the Antichrist hopes to release the Dark Spirit by crashing his airborne farewell concert into an abandoned church (all while being streamed to ten million people on the Internet)? One FBI agent must put complete faith into a notorious criminal hacker to tap into the mainframe and land the plane safely via Flight Simulator. Sometimes even the “reigning king of Death Metal” needs to flip his cross right-side-up and pray for the safety of his fans.
Fasten your seatbelt. Watch Turbulence 3 in its stupid entirety after the jump…