This stirring boy's own adventure - a remake of the 1965 James Stewart classic - sees a group of desert air crash survivors fashion a new plane from the wreckage. Dennis Quaid, Tyrese and Giovanni Ribisi make a reliable team, but it's the presence of Hugh Laurie that brings something special to this desert caper. Plenty of action and enough touching moments of camaraderie to even the scales.
It's not looking good for Miranda Otto's roughie-toughie crew of grizzled oil workers.
As well as being downsized, the old crate that's taking them home has crashlanded in the Gobi Desert hundreds of miles from anywhere.
The radio's knackered and marauding tribesmen are making it plain that they might be paying them a visit soon.
So it's just as well that weatherbeaten pilot Dennis Quaid is there to rally the troops while passenger Giovanni Ribisi's speciality is aircraft design.
The only option open to the stranded crew is to build a new plane - phoenix-like - from the wreckage of the old one.
A remake of Robert Aldrich's 1965 adventure yarn with Richard Attenborough and James Stewart, this is good, old-fashioned film-making.
Director John Moore showed his skill with stunning aerial setpieces in Behind Enemy Lines and the sequence where the cargo plane goes down is simply stunning.
There's the usual line-up of miscreants jostling for attention - Hugh Laurie's starchy company man, Ribisi's oddball loner and Otto's ballsy rig roustabout.
It's high-octane adventure all the way while Moore economically sketches in the backstories and builds up a nice head of dramatic steam.
Moore's intention was to create a great Saturday afternoon movie...and that's just what he's done.