Action Movie Fanatix Review: Drop Zone

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Something Dangerous Is In The Air

Starring: Wesley Snipes, Gary Busey, Yancy Butler, Michael Jeter

Director: John Badham

1994  |  101 Minutes  |  Rated R

“I’m too old to be dating a Shanandra.” – Pete Nessip

When snowboarding became a big thing back in the 90s we got numerous movies about snowboarding.  When MMA more recently became the fastest growing sport in the world we got (and are still getting) MMA movies out the wazoo.  I imagine there was a time when sky diving was a novelty to somebody and… Drop Zone was born.

Hijacker Ty Moncrief (Gary Busey) and crew kill U.S. Marshal Pete Nessip’s (Wesley Snipes) brother during a mid-air mission to break hacker genius Earl Leedy (Michael Jeter) free from U.S. custody.  Nessip turns to expert sky diver Jessie Crossman (Yancy Butler) for help in catching the criminals before they are able to sell DEA secrets to the highest paying drug lords.

Drop Zone is a movie with a gimmick.  The gimmick is sky diving and Drop Zone uses it to the fullest.  Every few scenes someone is jumping out of a plane.  When we are introduced to sky divers they are made to look like they are the air borne equivalent to bikers.  They drink and swear and get into bar fights.  Although there are probably plenty of sky divers who fit this image, I had a hard time with it here.  Yancy Butler was the hardest to picture as something of a badass.  She’s just to darn good lookin’ to be mean.

Snipes’ Agent Nessip (an anagram for Snipes – pretty clever, eh?) is not the usual badass that Snipes so often plays.  He seems to have a little too much humor for a man who just had his brother killed and his U.S. Marshal badge taken away.

It becomes all too easy to forget the plot as the movie basically alternates between supposed plot building scenes and sky diving scenes.  There is also never a real sense of the danger that the hacker could really pose to the nation.  Nessip’s mission is more of a mission of vengeance than an attempt to save the world.  I get it but there definitely could have been a little more fleshing out what the bad guys were planning.

Luckily the movie keeps jumping (get it?) back to scenes of Nessip, Crossman & Co. sky diving for various reasons.  Their reasons aren’t always clear but we don’t really need a clear cut reason to get behind seeing them flipping through the air over and over.

The sky diving scenes are very well done by a large team of real expert sky divers but even they don’t stick with you longer than the length of the movie.  Drop Zone is a mindless good time that is quickly forgotten after viewing.

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