Blood Red Sky (2021) ☆☆1/2(2.5/4): A little setback on one hijacked plane

Netflix film “Blood Red Sky”, which was released a few weeks ago, attempts an amusing mix of two different genres during its 2-hour flight, but its flight turns out to be too trite and predictable to me. I am wondering whether this is because I was already exposed to its main big genre twist via its movie trailer which shows too much in my trivial opinion, so now I sincerely advise you not to read my review further if you are already interested in watching the movie and really want to be surprised.

At the beginning, the movie quickly establishes the rather vague current situation of a German woman named Nadja (Peri Baumeister) and her little young son Elias (Carl Anton Koch). During last several years, Nadja has suffered some rare blood disease, but it seems that there is a doctor in New York City who may cure her via his state-of-the-art bone marrow therapy, so she and her son are about to take a night airplane to New York City at the international airport in Berlin.

As their airplane subsequently takes off from the airport, everything seems to be going well for them as well as many others on the airplane, but, alas, there comes a big problem. In the middle of its flight across the Atlantic, the airplane happens to be swiftly hijacked by a bunch of terrorists, and everyone else on the airplane is thrown into panic and confusion as watching how ruthless these terrorists really are.

While trying to protect her son later, Nadja gets herself shot several times, and she is presumed to be dead, but, what do you know, there is a small secret she has kept behind her back along with her son. She is actually a vampire, and a series of following flashback scenes show us how she was turned into a blood-sucking entity due to one very unfortunate incident which occurred when her son was a little baby.

Once she regains her consciousness, Nadja finds herself feeling more urge for blood in addition to having some physical transformation, but her maternal love remains as strong as before, so she decides to use some advantages from being a vampire. While she cannot be killed by guns, she is also equipped with increased strength and instinct, and it does not take much for the terrorists to realize that there is a serious impediment to their evil plan.

This surely looks like a good setup for wild fun and terror to be unleashed on the screen, but, sadly, the movie is already on safe autopilot mode. For example, the opening scene reveals too much of where the story is eventually going to land, so there is not much suspense in what is being at stake for Nadja and her son, and we come to regard their urgent situation without enough care or interest. In addition, the other characters around them are stock archetype characters much blander than the characters of “Airport” (1970) and its several sequels, so there is not much dramatic impact from some of them getting killed along the story.

And there is also a serious problem in narrative pacing. While the first act of the movie did a fairly good job of drawing our attention under director/co-writer Peter Thorwarth’s competent direction, its second act often gets its narrative flow disrupted by those aforementioned flashback scenes, which are not particularly engaging as merely functioning as the obligatory exposition for our heroine’s medical condition. In case of the third act, it is often quite frustrating due to more plot contrivances besides being too long, and I believe the movie could be tauter and more effective if its running time (121 minutes) were shortened to around, say, 90 minutes.

The movie surely serves you a substantial amount of violence, action, and blood when it is about to reach to the end of its flight, but the movie does not have much surprise in that department. While I will not go into details here for not spoiling your entertainment at all, I was particularly annoyed by a blatant left turn it takes around the last act, and I was frequently distracted a lot by one of the terrorist characters, who glaringly signals more troubles to come right from his first exaggerated moment in the film.

As the unlikely action hero of the movie, Peri Baumeister acquits herself well, and she and young actor Carl Anton Koch did a good job of conveying to us the strong emotional bond between their characters. It is disappointing to see that the movie resolves their characters’ complicated relationship too conveniently in the end, but Baumeister and Koch carry the film mostly well even when they are separated from each other, and their good acting is the main reason why I kept watching the movie despite my growing disappointment. In contrast to Baumeister and Koch, the other main cast members in the film including Roland Møller and Dominic Purcell are wasted in their thankless parts, and Alexander Scheer is unfortunately forced to demonstrate a bad case of overacting by his cartoonish villain character.

On the whole, “Blood Red Sky” is not a total waste of time, but I still think it could handle its apparently outrageous story premise better with more wit, skill, and, yes, craziness. As more disappointed with its overall result, my mind could not help but think of more entertaining airplane thriller movies such as “Flightplan” (2005) and “Snakes on a Plane” (2006), and I would rather recommend you to watch them instead.

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