Picks and Pans Review: Passenger 57

updated 11/23/1992 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/23/1992 AT 01:00 AM EST

Wesley Snipes, Bruce Payne

If Under Siege is Die Hard at Sea, this is Die Hard Goes Airborne, with a thinking man's hero, Snipes, as an airline security expert battling the terrorist hijackers of a plane on which he is a passenger. Full of fast, brutal action, it is the movie equivalent of a high-scoring, one-sided NFL game.

Payne is the villain, an apolitical terrorist being transported by FBI agents when he makes a break with the help of his henchpersons, including ingratiating flight attendant Elizabeth Hurley and thug Michael Horse. Director Kevin Hooks and his writers exert little creativity in figuring out how to have Snipes overcome Payne.

Snipes, though, is such an intelligent-seeming actor and so athletic that he is consistently convincing in dominating his skirmishes with Payne. Snipes also gets a lively ally in Alex Datcher, as a tough stewardess.

Though the Snipes-Payne fights are predictable, if you're a cheering-at-the-movies type, you will urge Snipes on in his heroics. (R)

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