I’ve spent much of my summer preparing for the release of The Expendables 2. I’ve been revisiting films from such action luminaries as Jean-Claude Van Damme, Arnold Schwarzenneger, and Dolph Lundgren. So, I took a chance on Hijacked, which didn’t honestly look very promising, in order to take in a Randy Couture feature and further prepare myself for the decade’s most extravagant action feature.
Sure enough, my gut instinct was dead on, and Hijacked is a barely watchable piece of semi-entertainment. There are a few recognizable faces beyond Couture, such as Prison Break’s Dominic Purcell as a mustachioed body guard, and Vinnie Jones as Couture’s partner.
The basic story is simple: A super-rich dude’s private jumbo jet gets hijacked by some bad people, and Couture must break them. Oddly, the script takes a full thirty minutes to get onto the plane and commence with the hijacking. There is a frankly useless Vinnie Jones set up at the beginning which goes absolutely nowhere. It feels like they wanted a name in the cast and had a part that could be shot out in just a day or two, so they cast Jones.
Couture and Purcell are strangers who end up teaming up to take down the bad guys, and veteran character actor Holt McCallany plays the lead heavy. There is a little bit of mystery surrounding who these people are and what they want. And there is a little bit of drama involved as Couture’s character’s fiancée is also on board.
But none of this is particularly compelling drama or action. The events of the film just sort of play out with no discernable escalation of tension or stakes. The low budget of the film is painfully obvious in this one. The film is set on a plane, and it seems quite clear that the production never actually had a plane to shoot at any point. All exterior shots of the plane, on land or in the air, are composed of poor CGI.
And speaking of the plane… Hijacked is the kind of movie that really doesn’t worry about extensive gunplay happening inside of a pressurized vehicle in the sky. Maybe I missed a throw away line explaining this away due to the high tech nature of the plane. But maybe a little tension could have been added to the story if gunfire had been, like, a problem for everyone on the plane?
Couture offers very little to the proceedings other than his amazingly broken and fractured mug. The guy looks like a human bulldog and you can see his entire MMA fighting career right there on his face. But I’m not convinced he is the future of action cinema. Couture comes across as a craggy Howie Long, with half of the onscreen charisma.
The only slight bit of thematic spiritual meaning I could find concerned the motivations of the hijackers. One could say that greed is the ultimate villain here in Hijacked. Also, Couture’s fiancée seems very insistent that his character is paranoid and delusional until the hijack actually happens. So maybe the writers of Hijacked were extolling the virtues of being prepared to the point of paranoia? I just don’t think theology or philosophy were particularly considered in this screenplay.
I don’t hate direct to DVD action by any means, but Hijacked really doesn’t offer much in the way of fun or thrills even by the standard set by other direct to home video fare. I recommend passing on Hijacked and checking out some of Van Damme or Scott Adkins’ direct to video action films for some low budget, cheesy home entertainment that is more worthy of your time investment.
Hijacked’s Blu-ray release includes both a DVD and a Blu-ray disc. And that is it. There are no features of any kind on the disc. And, the film actually looks kind of gross. I’m not a technical person, really. So I’m not sure how to describe the visual problem of the transfer, but often the lead characters’ faces were sickly yellow looking, or they had patches of distorted lighting on their faces that really looked awful. Throw the poor CGI on top of these lighting issues and you’ve got a pretty low quality film that also looks dismal from a visual perspective. Bummer!