Joseph Gordon-Levitt in 7500.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, after taking several years off from starring roles to become a new daddy, returns with the standard but sometimes tense airplane thriller 7500.

Levitt does competent work as Tobias, a nebbish co-pilot on a night flight that includes his girlfriend (Aylin Tezel) on the crew. After a short time in the air, a band of hijackers takes hostages and demands entry into the cockpit, banging relentlessly on the cockpit door.

Director and co-writer Patrick Vollrath does very well with the film’s first half. Actually, the film is quite good while the plane is in the air. Tobias communicates with the hijackers by banging on his door and via black-and-white video—and it’s scary to watch. The film recalls the tense final moments of Paul Greengrass’ United 93, about a similar, real-life situation on Sept. 11.

Once the plane lands, Tobias ends up in the cockpit with one of the hijackers (Omid Memar)—and this is when the movie sputters. The two actors give it their all, but the script calls for paint-by-numbers conversations, and the moments simply don’t deliver on the promise of the film’s first half.

Still, it’s good to see Gordon-Levitt. It’s a demanding role, and he shakes off the rust fairly well. Too bad the movie as a whole doesn’t match the quality of his performance.

The film 7500 is now streaming on Amazon Prime.