Flight of the Phoenix

December 17th, 2004


Flight of the Phoenix

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The survivors of a downed aircraft pull together to build a new plane out of the wreckage of the old one.  (L to R) Jacob Vargas, Giovanni Ribisi, Miranda Otto, Hugh Laurie, Scott Michael Campbell, Kevork Malikyan, Dennis Quaid, Tyrese Gibson, Kirk Jones and Tony Curran. The mysterious and eccentric Elliott (Giovanni Ribisi, foreground) insists that he is the only hope for a group of passengers of a downed plane, including (left to right) Ian (Hugh Laurie), Towns (Dennis Quaid), AJ (Tyrese Gibson), Rady (Kevork Malikyan), Sammi (Jacob Vargas), Kelly (Miranda Otto), Liddle (Scott Michael Campbell) and Jeremy (Kirk Jones). The passengers of a downed aircraft make heroic efforts to build a new plane from the wreckage of the old.Lost in a desert wasteland, AJ (Tyrese Gibson, left) and Jeremy (Kirk Jones) plan their next move.The surviving passengers of a downed plane lost in the Mongolian desert struggle for their most precious commodity: water.  Pictured, left to right are: Scott Michael Campbell as Liddle, Tyrese Gibson as AJ, Miranda Otto as Kelly, Dennis Quaid as Towns, Tony Curran as Rodney, Kirk Jones as Jeremy, and Hugh Laurie as Ian.The Mongolian desert and weather wreak havoc on the survivors of a crashed plane, (L - R) Dennis Quaid as Towns, Giovanni Ribisi as Elliott, Kevork Malikyan, Miranda Otto, Scott Michael Campbell, Jacob Vargas, and Hugh Laurie.

Survivors of a plane crash in the Mongolian desert work together to build a new plane.

Release Year: 2004

Rating: 6.0/10 (25,527 voted)

Critic's Score: 47/100

Director: John Moore

Stars: Dennis Quaid, Miranda Otto, Giovanni Ribisi

A group of air crash survivors are stranded in the Mongolian desert with no chance of rescue. Facing a brutal environment, dwindling resources, and an attack by desert smugglers, they realize their only hope is doing the impossible... building a new plane from the wreckage of the old one.

Writers: Lukas Heller, Scott Frank

Dennis Quaid - Frank Towns
Tyrese Gibson - A.J.
Giovanni Ribisi - Elliott
Miranda Otto - Kelly Johnson
Tony Curran - Alex Rodney
Sticky Fingaz - Jeremy (as Kirk Jones)
Jacob Vargas - Sammi
Hugh Laurie - Ian
Scott Michael Campbell - James Liddle
Kevork Malikyan - Rady
Jared Padalecki - John Davis
Paul Ditchfield - Dr. Gerber
Martin Hindy - Newman (as Martin 'Mako' Hindy)
Bob Brown - Kyle
Anthony Brandon Wong - Lead Smuggler (as Anthony Wong)

Taglines: If they stand together, they stand a chance

Release Date: 17 December 2004

Filming Locations: Africa

Box Office Details

Budget: $45,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $5,019,430 (USA) (19 December 2004) (2604 Screens)

Gross: $21,009,180 (USA) (13 March 2005)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

The model used for the crash sequence cost $250,000 and was so perfectly built it actually flew further than the crew and testing had predicted. In fact it flew so far it hit the camera filming it and broke the cameraman's leg.

Continuity: When Elliot is first introduced, Towns is wearing his jacket. But the reverse shot, Towns is wearing a short-sleeved shirt and no jacket.

[preparing for takeoff]
A.J.: [as Bill Cosby] OK, all set, Mr. President. I think it's about that time that we do the checklist as the two Bills. What do you say, buddy?
Frank Towns: [as Bill Clinton] Why change a good thing? Go ahead, good buddy.
A.J.: Allow me to grab my bulletin. Seatbelts.
Frank Towns: I always like to have a little something strapped to my lap. Check.
A.J.: Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! Windows, doors and hatches.
Frank Towns: Closed and secure, so no-one can disturb us.
A.J.: Water injection.
Frank Towns: That's what she said.
[A.J. laughs]

User Review

The politically correct version of the flight of the phoenix!

Rating: 7/10

Almost 40 years after the original the 2005 version shows how much the world has changed. To start off with there is a woman passenger in this film unlike the original where the only female was an exotic Arabian dancer (although a mirage). In this version the frail girl passenger is a foul-mouthed oil driller who wears the obligatory tank top and spandex pants once the boiler suit has been discarded.

In addition to this we have two black men, one who is the co-pilot. In the original the Mexican dies in the ill-fated march through the desert however in 2005 the Mexican survives. (The writers are probably sensitive to the many Mexicans who die trying to cross the Arizona and Texas border in hot conditions). In fact he defies almost certain death when the wing of the new construction collapses on top of him but survives. In 1965 the cocky Scotsman survives but in the 2005 the Scotsman perishes in the shoot out with the nomads. Interestingly, we are still aloud to use nomads as the cruel bad guys, again in the original it was the Arabs who were the barbarians, that won't cut today, so it's probably why outer Mongolia was chosen.

However, the writers slipped up with their choice of the anti-hero. In the original the blond hared blue eyed bespectacled trouble maker was a German called Dorfman, who menacingly portrayed the stereotype of Nazi arrogance and superiority who audiences back in 1965 (20 years after the war) could easily hate; yet he turned out to be the hero in the end.

To bring it up to date and really be politically correct they should have used a Muslim. We all could have hated him but then hailed him as a hero in the end too. All in all a pointless remake and for die-hard fans of the original they may have a hard time swallowing this one. The original, which is a longer movie, is superior in portraying the hopelessness of their predicament as well as the underlying tensions between the survivors. Cowardice and bravery are on show in the 1965 version, but in this one ---, just stupidity!


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