Street Survivors: The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash Review – Solid Bio-Pic Recreates Tragedy

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Street Survivors: The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash, from Cleopatra Entertainment, brings to the screen the intimate moments from the October 20, 1977 disaster that killed six, from crash survivor and drummer Artimus Pyle.

Directed and written by Jared Cohen, Street Survivors stars Taylor Clift, Ian Shultis, Mark Valeriano, Lelia Garibaldi, Walter McCreary, Joe O'Dell, Mark Dippolito, Anthony Traina, Krystyna, Keith Sutliff, Samuel Kay Forest, Rich Dally III, Joe Ryan Laia, and Kevin Keeling.

Street Survivors: The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash, a bio-pic-recreation, begins with voice over from Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer Artimus Pyle who states, "This film's story - MY story - is not just about the plane crash but also about my personal relationship with the genius that was Ronnie Van Zant - whom I loved like a brother and still miss to this day."

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The film opens with Artimus Pyle getting a call from Ronnie Van Zant, played by Taylor Clift, who tells him the band is looking to replace drummers and expect a call from Dean Kilpatrick, the band's manger, played by Mark Valeriano, who will set it up.

Weeks pass and nothing, until one night, he gets the call and is told the drum off is on in two hours. Running out the door he loads up his van and somewhere close it breaks down and instead of giving in to the circumstances he picks up the drums he can carry and runs the rest of the way, twice.

After the drum off, he was named the new drummer by Ronnie and began touring. This is where the film highlights the 1970's rock and roll scene, sex, drugs, rock music and plenty of groupies. The brotherhood of the band members is clear, and even through the drug haze the Ronnie understood their L.A. management was siphoning off more than they were delivering.

The film also depicts a scene where Aerosmith passed on the same plane. It was a hard pass. Soon the two-engine turbo prop was rolling down the tarmac with the Lynyrd Skynyrd name plastered right under the pilot's window.

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Soon the plane was an extension of the hotel rooms, with fewer groupies. With Pilot Walter McCreary, played by Tom Jenkins and Co-pilot William Gray, flying the band was on their way home from playing a gig when what looked like the engine blew, it caused a small flame to shoot out of the engine. The pilots laughed it off and said it was normal. When they landed their manager was on the phone with L.A. who refused to get them a mechanic to fix it or alternative transportation and didn't even suggest a tour bus.

The next day, everyone appeared really shaken and people talked about just flying commercial. They all boarded, still shaken from the engine blowing flames the day before. Midway through the flight, the engine blew, and Artimus who had military jet training, saw flames, and oil coming out of the engine.

The film moves from the cockpit conversations, where the pilot and co-pilot were realizing they were out of gas, the co-pilot couldn't remember when they last filled the tank, in the emergency he dropped the last gas they had and lowered the landing gear to early, to the passengers who were only begin told the truth by Artimus, who was running back and forth between the cockpit trying to radio a "mayday" distress call and preparing everyone for a crash landing.

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Unable to navigate the quickly descending plane hit hard, smashing through a wooded area, breaking apart, and landing in a remote wooded area.

This is where the film takes another turn. After the landing and maneuvering out of the wreckage and finding the dead, Artimus who had severe injuries and trauma had to walk to find help. No cellphones, and the cockpit radio was smashed, his journey through the terrain is shocking and finally when he finds help, his appearance, his wild man look, bloodied head wound, bloodied shirt, got him shot by a farmer who mistook him for someone from a cult or hippie drug addict wanting to kill his family.

When help finally arrived he learned of the 24 band members on board, 20 survived. Killed were lead vocalist and founding member Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist and vocalist Steve Gaines, back-up vocalist Cassie Gaines, and assistant road manger Dean Kilpatrick. The crash also claimed the lives of the pilot and co-pilot.

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The film's soundtrack is a treat with Lynyrd Skynyrd chart toppers playing right through the end credits.

For fans of Southern Rock history, it is a true account from inside the plane. The film does not shy away from the truisms of life in the star making machine and lives up to the sex, drugs and rock n' roll lifestyle of the 1970 music era.

Street Survivors: The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash, which will include a stand-alone official soundtrack CD, launches a worldwide VOD and home video release June 30, 2020.

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