Monday, June 17, 2024

Review: Idris Elba Stars in Sizzling Seven Part Apple TV+ Series “Hijack,” That Mixes “24” with “Die Hard”


“Hijack,” Apple TV +’s is a sizzling seven-episode series, a lean and mean thrilling ride 30,000 ft in the air.  “Hijack” follows the bumpy twisty and turbulent journey of a flight from Dubai to London which gets hijacked in mid-air.  And at the center of it all is passenger Sam Nelson, played by the singular screen presence that is Idris Elba.  Taking place in real time, shades of the iconic series “24” with a dash of “Die Hard” thrown in, director Jim Field Smith, with a tight script by George Kay, wisely places Elba in the center of the claustrophobic plane tornado.  Much to the filmmaker’s credit, the action feels anything but small; it’s big, wild and unpredictable.

The story starts with Nelson is on his way to reunite with his son Kai (Jude Cudjoe) and to woo his beloved estranged wife (Chantelle Allen) back.   But the audience knows better, and the sense of dread is smartly built-up scene by nail-biting scene. 

Enter the hijackers, a complicated darkly bunch.  Sam as it turns out is a corporate negotiator, who mostly wins and hates to lose.  His skill set is his analytical intuition, which enables him to read people’s insecurities.  He puts it all to lifesaving use in handling the out-of-control hijackers and the terrified passengers.   Head honcho bad guy Stuart (Neil Maskell) is more than a worthy adversary.  The scenes between him and Sam are scarily electrifying.  The narrative of the story is equally on fire, unfolding in a savvy and unpredictable way.

Ann Nikitin’s pulse-racing score propels the action.

Idris Elba gives another you can’t take your eyes off him commanding performance. His sense of internal mystery, not knowing what he’s thinking or will do next, is fascinating to watch. Elba, who also is an Executive Producer, plays Sam Nelson with a confident steely exterior even when Sam’s inner life is shaky.   Sam knows his ultimate skill, that of being a manipulative master, is indeed his most valuable weapon that will save the periled plane.

The cast is filled to the brim with talented Brits, many whom are known to American audiences most notably Archie Panjabi (Emmy award winner for “The Good Wife.”) 

So, get to the couch and binge the entertaining, suspenseful, full of mystery and internal intrigue that is Hijack!

Leah Sydney
Leah Sydney
Leah Sydney writes from Los Angeles for A seasoned journalist with a long history during the halcyon days of the NY Daily News, Leah is a member of the Critics Choice and Rotten Tomatoes.

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