Black Men Can't Skydive: Drop Zone

The home entertainment market is positively littered with skydiving travelogues. Most of them have ‘extreme’ titles (Freefall Extreme, Adrenaline Rush, Adrenaline Ride) and feature 90 escalatingly mind-numbing minutes of extreme dudes plummeting through the stratosphere to a bargain basement soundtrack of wank-o-rama guitar licks.

And then there’s Drop Zone (1994), which essentially is a skydiving travelogue, except they’ve attached something resembling a ‘plot’ to it. It’s sorta like that increasingly endangered species, the ‘Plot Porn’, where some hapless writer, typing away in his dingy, cold-water flat, has been tasked with writing everything that 85% of the audience is going to fast-forward through anyway.

"Theo, don't look back but I think the I.R.S. is tailing us."

Well, adrenaline junkies what will you be fast-forwarding through? Namely Wesley Snipes, who looks like he’s being led through this film by a $7,000,000 paycheck tied to a large stick being dangled just off-camera. Wesley plays disgraced U.S. marshall Pete Nessip, who travels down to Florida to investigate the seedy underworld of championship-level skydiving. See, during a Gary Busey-led terrorist takeover of a 747, his brother Theo Huxtable was offed and has been posthumously charged with “endangering the airplane.” Now, Pete’s trying to clear Theo’s (and his own) name through the extreme power of skydiving. Snap on your goggles, kids, the comely, husky-voiced Yancy “Witchblade” Butler will be your guide...

Cue the awesome aerial footage! Cue Hans Zimmer burnin’ up the fretboards with some monster riffage!

"Get on your high-heels, honey - you're Busey's date for the Larry the Cable Guy Roast!"

Director John Badham (Another Stakeout, Bird On a Wire) imbues the the whole affair with a schizophrenic inconsistency of pacing as the movie ping-pongs wildly from photogenic IMAX production to tepid action thriller and back again. Really, if you don’t give two shits about skydiving, you won’t find much of interest here - unless you’re that fringe type who’s been fervently sending forged petitions to Ted Turner to bring back Witchblade. And if that is you, Yancy Butler says to stop going through her garbage.


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