It's hard being a gentleman terrorist these days, as Jackson Rippner (Cillian Murphy) discovers in "Red-Eye." Though evil, Rippner decides that there's no need to be rude too, so he figures that a few threats and a throat grab or head butt will do the trick and convince the slight, stick-thin Lisa Reisert (Rachel McAdams) that any retaliation will result in her death, the death of her dear, old, pathetic dad Joe (Brian Cox), and the continuation of Rippner's evil plan.
As far as we can tell, that plan involves doing something bad to an official from the Department of Homeland Security, who is staying in a hotel where Lisa works. Rippner meets Lisa on a plane and forces her to call the hotel and have a colleague switch the official's room. This doesn't arouse any suspicion, as the official's own head of security is none other than Colby from "Survivor," who acts like he has a chafed brain.
Unfortunately, nowadays, if you're a gentleman terrorist you just don't know when someone's waifish, girl-next-door exterior might house an assault victim with a grudge who seizes every available opportunity to try to whack you with her field hockey stick or jam an in-flight beverage cart up your ass. You also never discover that she's a former high school athlete who can run like a gazelle until you've been shot in the leg and are getting frustrated as hell trying to catch the little bitch.
In other words, Jack Rippner is the world's dumbest terrorist. He spends six months following Lisa Reisert (Rachel McAdams) and discovers her favorite drink, but doesn't do any of those time-consuming Google searches that might reveal that she's going to be a handful when he confronts her on a sealed airplane at 35,000 feet. Frankly, the fact that Lisa and her father seem to use the same bad hair dye would have tipped me off to something being whacked in the family gene pool.
Of course, this is all just the skim on the top of this rancid drink. It seems like the filmmakers and director Wes Craven choose the setting of a flying plane just for the terrorist connections. A better idea would have been a terrorist who is actually scary. Watching McAdams kick Rippner's ass is like watching someone beat the crap out of Elmo. Toughness is kind of the essence of a good bad guy. I mean, Christ, I was surprised Rippner didn't get a spanking.
In the end, however, it's the audience that gets punished.
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