Flight Of The Phoenix

A plane carrying 14 people from Mongolia to China gets caught in a sandstorm and crash-lands in the Gobi Desert, where the chances of rescue or survival are slim. When Robert Aldrich made the 1965 original, it was set in the Sahara, ran 147 minutes, and had a star-studded cast including James Stewart, Ernest Borgnine, and Richard Attenborough. This absorbing remake by John Moore, scripted by Scott Frank and Edward Burns, is shorter and more modestly cast (Dennis Quaid, Miranda Otto, Giovanni Ribisi), but in contrast to Steven Soderbergh’s recent recyclings, it proves that you can revisit a good movie without cynicism or disrespect. I could have done without the superfluous Mongolian heavies, and the cliff-hanging climax may be a mite overdone, but the old-fashioned theme of disaster as an existential test of character still works. With Tyrese Gibson and Jacob Vargas. PG-13, 93 min. (JR)

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