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‘Passenger 57’ (PG-13)

By Hal Hinson
Washington Post Staff Writer
November 06, 1992

"Passenger 57" is an airplane hijacking movie that attempts to present its star, Wesley Snipes, as a combination of Bruce Lee and Bruce Willis. It's a kung-fu "Die Hard" picture, and, frankly, just plain silly.

The movie turns around Snipes, who plays an airline security adviser and karate expert who just happens to be on board when a terrorist gang takes over the plane to free its sinister leader (Bruce Payne), who is being escorted to jail by the FBI.

What a coincidence!

The movie is predictable, with Snipes overcoming only about as many impossible odds as your average superhero. And, of course, while remaining forever super-cool.

Snipes has never really turned in a bad performance before, and he's not bad here. It's just that he's the wrong actor for this part. He does everything right, even down to his Dirty Harry-style wisecracks, but he never looks comfortable.

Next time, if director Kevin Hooks wants to turn someone into an action hero, he might try an actor who's more comfortable working in one dimension. This one keeps looking for something plausible and real to play, and can't find it. The trick is to cast someone who doesn't care, and that's not Snipes.

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