Airport '77 (1977)

Genres - Action  |   Sub-Genres - Disaster Film, Ensemble Film, Action Thriller  |   Release Date - Mar 11, 1977 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 113 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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The third entry in the much-lampooned Airport series is neither the best nor the worst. In fact, Airport '77 lies somewhere in the middle. The first half of the film is a bit on the corny side (especially the sub-soap opera romance between Jack Lemmon and Brenda Vaccaro) but the story rolls along smoothly and the engaging cast keeps it entertaining, especially a scene-stealing Lee Grant as the plane's resident venomous alcoholic. Unfortunately, Airport '77 goes slack when it should be getting fired up due to a weak, faceless batch of villains and a thorough lack of kinetic energy necessary to make the second half's disaster-movie set pieces work. The main culprit is the direction of Jerry Jameson, which is visually stylish but lifeless and shows no zest for bringing the action to life. The end result feels like a waterlogged TV movie with a Hollywood cast. Lemmon, Vaccaro, and Darren McGavin all put strong efforts into their roles and the presence of old-timers like Jimmy Stewart and Olivia de Havilland adds a bit of charm, but ultimately they can't rise above the lackluster tone of the whole package. Ultimately, Airport '77 is passable as a time-waster but can't shake the impression that it is a missed opportunity for popcorn-movie fun.