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'Altitude' (2017): How One Movie Casts Doubt on the IMDb Rating System

Updated on August 20, 2018
NessMovieReviews profile image

I will watch the movies that people say aren't that great. How do you feel about them?

What’s it About?

The long conversation at the beginning goes on for some time. I didn’t realise it was a hostage negotiation. I became surprised (and this was the only time I received a surprise during this film) when the camera pans to a gun and then finally it becomes clear this is a hostage negotiation between Gretchen (Denise Richards) and some guy who is sad about something his wife did. He has an automatic weapon and is in what looks like an air control towe—- hostages adorn the floor.

I’m not into spoilers, so read on without fear.

Gretchen gets a smack on the hand for going against the boss man and afterwards, she needs to catch a plane back to Washington to receive her proper spanking.

Once on the plane, she argues over assigned seating and gets upgraded to business class from coach. She hardly gets to unwrap her business class goody bag before the weedy little guy next to her whispers "the plane's being hijacked." He needs her help.

The plane is being hijacked, of course.

Trailer: Altitude, Wait...Who is That?

Quick Movie Info

  • Title: Altitude
  • Director: Alex Merkin
  • Writer: Jesse Mittelstadt
  • Date of Release: April, 2017, limited release in theatres.
  • Went to DVD two months later.
  • Genre: Action/Thriller USA

Who's in it?

  • Denise Richards: How can you not know her? Somehow she married Charlie Sheen.
  • Dolph Lundgren: To be honest, I’ve only seen him star in movies I didn’t like but every action movie needs a tough guy. He again plays said tough guy. (In case you didn't know, he‘s in Rocky. I apologise to all the Rocky fans out there, however, I’m not a fan of that franchise.)
  • Greer Grammer: Tiny bit of a fan of the comedy series Awkward.
  • Jordi Vilasuso: I watched a film recently called The Invitation, Jordi was in that great little horror film.

Denise Richards starts the movie like a badass FBI agent. If only she had stayed that way during the entire movie
Denise Richards starts the movie like a badass FBI agent. If only she had stayed that way during the entire movie | Source

My Thoughts on Altitude

I had issues right away with the plot… Gretchen is sympathetic and has what seems like an acute insight into the criminal mind (being a totally awesome FBI agent and all.) She wants to help the gunman in a hostage negotiation not get shot and risks her job to do so. Yet when a guy in business class, begs her to help him, going as far as to offer her money, she practically laughs in his face. Then threatens to arrest and report him to the people he is accusing of being the hijackers.

What sort of cop is that…in fact what sort of FBI agent is that? Surely she would need to do a preliminary check before completely disregarding a plea for help.

I watched this with my fiancé. When Denise Richards popped into the frame, he remarked “is that Denise Richards?,” I checked my phone for the cast names….I laughed, "yes it is."

I’m not hot enough to say anything bad about her looks, but wowsers, she has had a lot of work done. Firstly my fiancé has to ask if that’s Denise Richards and secondly, I had to check!

The second time my fiancé and I spoke, was when Gretchen gets seated in business class handed a glass of champagne that her new cabin buddy orders for her. I had to rewind the part where she takes “a sip” from her glass... it’s quite odd. Her lips don’t move well enough to form a seal around the rim of the glass and she kind of rocks the glass back so that the liquid goes into her mouth. I literally laughed out loud…twice…the first time and after I rewound it and watched again. Botox at its finest.

The villains are so very obvious that when Sadie came on screen my fiancé started yelling at the telly. He then accusing her of having the fakest wig he had ever seen (and he likes action flicks.) The film got exciting for all the wrong reasons.

Sadie goes about drugging the passengers beverages. She serves one man (who happens is the air Marshall) and he says he’s not thirsty.

Sadie "would you like a drink sir?"

Air Marshall "No thanks"

Sadie "Are you sure?"

Air Marshall "No, I'm fine"

At this point her voice is almost raised

Sadie "I'm not coming around again, can I get you a water, wine, anything!!"

Air Marshall "What? oh, a ginger Ale"

Sadie "great... here you go"

Not suss at all! It might be said that a conniving cackle would not have been out-of-place here. Or perhaps they should have put a moustache on her.

This movie is R for the violence and language. Sure there are a couple of F-bombs here and there, a stabbing with a high heel shoe plus a neck snap. But overall there really wasn’t enough violent action in this action movie to call for an R rating. Poor old Dolph, his character Sharpe hardly even stands up through the entire film, let alone has any good fight scenes.

Instead we get stuck with tiny fake-wig Sadie going commando on people twice her size and screeching about not being able to find people who are bobbing down in their seat…not even really hiding.

Somehow during all this hiding, neck snapping and heel stabbing, the guy everyone wants, Terry (played by Kirk Barker but it could very well have been cast as Hugh Grant, he is that seedy) manages to cop a feel with Gretchen and smooch his ex who is literally trying to kill him. It all made me cringe. I'm all for copping a feel between characters but I saw no sexual frustration between characters, only mild irritation.

The fiance piped up later too after he had left the room, had a shower and came back to ask me how it ended.

I think that speaks volumes about how good this film is. I have to see the end of any movie. I've stuck through many a dodgy film, so I was still sitting there.. waiting for it to finally be over.

Excuse me, but is that Denise Richards?

— My fiance

How has IMDb.com Rated this Movie so Highly?

Somehow, 154 women, aged 30-44 rated this movie a 9/10. Actually, all the women who voted according to IMDb.com rated this rather high.

The score dropped over time and October 2017 sits at 4.7 which is a better fit. The website does have guide lines which it explains. However, it only points out that some scores get weighted to count more than others. It says it is a fair system but that they can't show exactly how it works for fear of the system being rigged. Fair call.

Perhaps these particular women thought so highly of it because the leads characters are two women. Maybe that’s the detail that made these women who rated Altitude give it a great big thumbs up.

When trolling through the reviews of others I stumbled across many people who looked at the rating breakdowns and thought something was amiss. One poor reviewer caught the movie early stated the rating on IMDb.com gave this movie a 7.1 at the time. His house rule was only watching movies over a certain rating and expected a certain calibre. He and others were also angry after viewing it. Another was incredulous like me that more than 300 people actually gave it a 10 out of 10.

Who are these people and what were they doing during this movie? They obviously weren’t watching it with the same eyes and ears I have (or regular people for that matter.) Perhaps they were just die-hard Dolph fans. I can understand that I guess as it's not like these same people are dissecting the movie to also tell us their thoughts, they obviously just pumped a 10/10 into a ratings system with no explanation.

One word bandied about among narrative reviews is the word garbage. If I were to start a drinking game based on how many times the word garbage used to describe Altitude I would be in paralytic (meaning really, really drunk.)

I give Altitude 1 lady with an air mask when not everyone needs them out of 5.

Excuse me madam, is that a wig?
Excuse me madam, is that a wig? | Source

The Writers

Both Jesse Mittelstadt and Alex Merkin the writer and director respectively, have worked together before. Famed for having made a short film into a full-length movie called Across the Hall which stars the late Brittany Murphy. The short film won many awards however the full feature was not liked by everyone and received mixed reviews. Apart from that, these two guys are not very well-known for anything popular or rated highly.

Why doesnt everyone need a mask? Do you have a hidden air-supply you are sniffing under your shirt?
Why doesnt everyone need a mask? Do you have a hidden air-supply you are sniffing under your shirt? | Source

Across the Hall - starring the late Brittany Murphy

A rare scene where Dolph Lungren is actually standing up instead of just seeing the back of his head tring to fly a very very consistently bouncy plane.
A rare scene where Dolph Lungren is actually standing up instead of just seeing the back of his head tring to fly a very very consistently bouncy plane. | Source

Movies, set on-board a plane - you could watch, instead of this

- Flight (2012)

- Die Hard 2 (1990)

- Con Air (1997)

- Snakes on a Plane (2006)

- Passenger 57 (1992)

- Plane Dead (2007)

Any of these are far superior to Altitude.

if you want the same plot line – try Die Hard 2, Con Air and Passenger 57 and you will be ten times more satiated than if you watch Altitude.

Let's not forget that the movie Final Destination features a plane crash as well and I would watch that one hundred times over before watching this again.

© 2017 Mother of Movies and Series Reviews

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