Jacob and his mom, FBI agent Sarah Plummer.
Sarah Plummer (Dina Meyer) is a senior FBI agent in their Los Angeles office. She is very much looking forward to attending the school baseball finals game with her twelve-year-old son Jacob (Cole Carter) on the following day. But instead an important case involving a corrupt senator charged with murder comes up and she is made responsible for transporting an incriminating surveillance tape proving the senator’s guilt to Washington DC. Sarah is able to smooth things over with Jacob, and she knows that her husband Ken (Nick Baillie) will be able to see him compete in her absence. What should be a fairly routine trip to the east coast turns out to be anything but as the tension begins to ratchet up in the Lifetime movie Turbulence. Even the night before, an ominous van is parked across the street from the Plummer’s home. On her flight, Sarah is seated in business class, and is joined by a chatty lady named Michelle (Victoria Pratt). After the plane is in the air, Michelle starts revealing that she knows all about Sarah and her family, then caps off her unsettling conversation of personal information by showing Sarah a video of her own. In a live feed from the Plummer home, you see Ken and Jacob have been taken prisoner, handcuffed and gagged with duct tape. Michelle’s demands are now very clear: delete all copies of the incriminating tape from the FBI servers or Sarah’s family will be killed.
On her flight, Sarah is shown a video of her husband and son held hostage.
At first Sarah realizes that she has no choice but to comply with the demands of Michelle. She goes about deleting the tapes from the several places where copies have been made. But she also realizes that she will be considered a loose end once they reach Washington. Although her family might be saved, it is not likely, and she won’t be spared because she has seen the tape. When the stewardess is serving beverages, Sarah manages to spill water over Michelle, and in the confusion and cleanup is able to file a help message onto the FBI server. Her supervisor is alerted and although the general feeling is that this is an anomaly, he directs an FBI agent to visit the Plummer home. With Jacob in the hands of their kidnapper Cameron (Justin Johnson), Ken answers the door is tells the agent that everything is OK, although his body language clearly doesn’t show that. Yet the FBI agent seems convinced and leaves. But when Michelle hears about the visit, she orders Cameron to execute Ken, and off camera a gunshot is heard. Now Sarah acts desperately, stealing a cell phone and locking herself in the lavatory to send a more specific message that her family is in trouble. Things on the flight become chaotic, and the blame is put on Sarah rather than Michelle. Soon Sarah finds herself put in handcuffs by the on board air marshall.
Jacob and Ken are prisoners of Cameron.
Meanwhile back at the Plummer home, things aren’t quite as bad as they seemed. Ken was only wounded by the gunshot, so at least for now the plan is to keep him alive. After some back and forth conversation between Cameron and Ken, where Ken offers to double what he is making for taking them hostage, Cameron decides to move his hostages to a new location, which turns out to be a warehouse at the Port of Los Angeles. While Cameron is moving the van to the Plummer’s garage so he won’t be seen with his hostages, he leaves them handcuffed to the handrail of the staircase to the second floor. On a nearby shelf, Jacob notices that his cell phone is sitting there. Although Ken tells him to leave it alone, Jacob puts it in his pocket, hoping to dial 911 when they arrive at their new location. Back in the air, things get sorted out as the airplane is landed in Phoenix, Sarah is released and Michelle arrested. A SWAT team is sent to the Plummer house, too late to rescue Ken and Jacob, but they do find the body of a pool repairman Cameron shot. Sarah is flown back to LA in a private plane. Now the focus is on finding Ken and Jacob before Cameron can harm them. With the lives of her family at stake, Sarah leads the team toward the final confrontation with Cameron.
After Cameron learns that the FBI knows he has hostages, he moves them to a new location.
While the plot to Turbulence has more holes in it than a Swiss cheese, it still ends up being entertaining as it exploits the themes of protecting your family from home invaders, fighting against corruption, and how thinking on the fly can help defeat a more organized enemy. The actors provide us with good performances starting with Dina Meyer as the mom FBI agent who becomes a tiger when her family is threatened. The family is rounded out with Cole Carter as the brave and quick thinking kid and Nick Baillie as the beleaguered dad. The villains are good also starting with Victoria Pratt as the ice-in-her-veins tormentor of Sarah on the plane, and Cameron as the mean but somewhat sophisticated enforcer. Story-wise, almost everything about the plot doesn’t make a lot of sense. With the video showing the senator committing the crime so key to the prosecution, it is hard to believe that there would only be three copies on the FBI server. The district attorney would surely have a copy, as would the original surveillance agency, and the Los Angeles police who transferred it to the FBI. It could be easily transported by streaming through the Internet. Plus stills would be made of key moments on the video. As a key piece of evidence, it shouldn’t even be possible for a lone agent not involved with the case to delete all the copies on the FBI sever. Why would the FBI management need someone from Los Angeles with no personal involvement in the case even need to be at the trial in Washington? And why would the bad guys want to execute their threats on an airplane confined in close quarters with dozens of witnesses, when they could have taken the family hostage the night before? Jacob’s cell phone was a key element in the story, but you have to wonder what happened to the big baseball game? Since Jacob was a player on the team, wouldn’t his teammates and coach get worried when he didn’t show up and call him on his cell to see what had happened to him? You also have to wonder about Cameron’s ability at his job, somewhat lackadaisical about securing his prisoners, and his strange decision-making when it came to shooting his revolver. But if you check your brain at the door, Turbulence will provide an entertaining couple of hours of action/adventure viewing.
Jacob must stand up to Cameron when he discovers the cell phone.
Jacob fishes for the cell phone in his pocket.
Cole Carter in his role as Jacob Plummer wears black low cut chucks throughout the film. They are cool footwear for a spirited and brave kid like Jacob. The best chucks scene is when Jacob, having smuggled his cell phone into Cameron’s van, is able to fish it out of his pocket and dial 911 while handcuffed.
Jacob is able to dial 911 on the phone.
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