An implausible but intense thrill ride with a more than competent cast.<br><br>As the film opens, it is Christmas Eve, and we get our introduction toour Bad Guy, Ryan Weaver (Ray Liotta, doing the kind of character hedoes best). He's a good-looking, charming-on-the-surface killer who hascome to be known as the "Lonely Hearts Strangler" because his M.O. isapparently to target a single woman, romance her for a time, and then .. . well, they do call him "Strangler". After leaving a toy store witha cute stuffed animal and arriving at his new girlfriend (next intendedvictim's) place, he is arrested and kicked in the stomach by thedetective (Hector Elizondo) who has been after him for years and evenframed him by planting evidence (although it's okay in this casebecause HE DONE IT! Who cares what they had to do to get him?) In aclever bit of opening misdirection, we see shots of Bad Guy on his wayto his latest target's place intercut with shots of our Heroine(waifish but not anorexic, blonde-haired-big-blue-eyed Lauren Holly) inher own place in such a way as to make us think that she is his new"girlfriend", when in fact she is not.<br><br>The two do meet, however, since our Heroine is a flight attendantassigned to the Christmas Eve flight on which Bad Guy is beingtransported to prison to await his execution. Along with Bad Guy isanother con (Brendan Gleeson, in a Glee-ful performance) who's firstwords are his reply to our Heroine's question, "What would you like?",referring to drinks. His response? "I'd like to nail you, baby,", inthe slimiest-sounding Cornpone accent you've ever heard. Is this guyreally British?! Anyway, our charming con goes on to ask to be taken tothe plane's bathroom, uses the soap-thingy as a weapon to kill theofficer who is guarding him, and proceeds to make like Jeff Foxworthyif Foxy was a BAD-ASS Redneck. He ends up holding our Heroine hostagewith a gun to her pretty blonde head, and who talks him into lettingher go? None other than our Bad Guy, who at this point is still makinglike an unjustly accused and convicted Good Guy. In another dust-up,the other con and several others are shot. (The pilots have, in themidst of all this, been killed).<br><br>Our Heroine is told by our Bad Guy that the pilot hit his head but isall right and is going to land. He begins to win her sympathy, askingher if she believes in capital punishment, to which she answers "No".Our Heroine is sharp, however, and notices that the plane does notappear to be descending. She decides to go to the cockpit herself tocheck things out and finds the pilot and his co-pilot dead. She managesto make contact with the ground, however, and they patch her through toa pilot (Ben Cross, who brings his presence and accent to the role)whoinstructs her on how to communicate with the people on the ground andhow to operate the plane(to LAND it, of course). Our Bad Guy, however,is determined that they will crash and, he hopes, take as many otherpeople with them as possible. He shows his true colors, and it is atthis point that it becomes almost impossible not to enjoy watching Mr.Liotta; he simply seems to be having so much FUN playing thisparticular wack-pot. As the plane tosses them to-and-fro (did I mentionthat they're headed into a six-on-a-scale-of-one-to-six thunderstorm?)our Heroine must defend herself after being coaxed out of the cockpitby our Bad Guy. While not trying to come across as the Xena of flightattendants, Ms. Holly is determined and tough mentally and alsophysically when forced to fight for her life. Yes, at one point, sheuses sex - or at least the promise of sex - to get our Bad Guy to lethis guard down for a moment, but, hey, it's one of the few "weapons"she has at her disposal, along with the fire extinguisher she clobbershim with shortly after the bogus come-on. (Why, under thesecircumstances, does our psycho-but-sharp Bad Guy believe for a MOMENTthat the woman he's terrorizing would have sex with him, even to saveherself and the few other people on board the plane he hasn't killed?Because it's a movie, children!) Anyway, after kicking a little Bad Guybutt and ultimately getting ahold of a Marshall's gun and killing him,our Heroine manages to land the plane. Merry Christmas! If you justwant to shut down your higher brain functions and watch a goodpsycho-killer-chiller, and especially if you like it when said chillersupposedly takes place on Christmas, this is highly recommended foryou. Cheers.