Bullet Points: Air Force One
Before I get into my review, if you have not checked out the President’s Day piece that Chad posted earlier, do yourself a favor and check it out. It really is some of Chad’s best work and a post I’m proud is on our site.
To continue with the President’s Day theme, what better movie for me to review today than Air Force One starring Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman.
It had been at least 10 years since I sat down and watched Air Force One from start to finish and I forgot how much the movie pulls you in and keeps you on the edge of your seat for the greater part of 2 hours. When an action film can get the adrenaline flowing it is doing its job.
- Hail to the Chief: An argument can be made that Harrison Ford is the greatest action star of all-time and that argument can be based solely on the fact that he was both Han Solo and Indiana Jones. But when you consider he has movies like Air Force One on his resume too and that argument becomes more valid. Ford, like most great action stars, is a guy people want to see succeed. Nobody gives a crap if David Bradley or Olivier Gruner win or not, but we want the Harrison Fords and Sylvester Stallones to win! Ford plays the President of the United States, and fortunately for him, his character was a decorated Vietnam War veteran. His military training definitely comes in handy in this one. I honestly believe if Harrison Ford did actually run for President, at the very least he’d make it competitive.
- The Premise: A group of terrorists led by Ivan Korshunov (Gary Oldman) get clearance on Air Force One (thanks to a traitor in the Secret Service) posing as a group of Russian reporters. Once they are in the air, they put their nefarious plan into play and hold everyone on the plane hostage. Unfortunately it appears their plan to take the President hostage doesn’t quite pan out after the President’s escape pod is launched, presumably with the President inside… but as a viewer did you really think the star of the film would eject himself from the story so early?
- Die Hard on a Plane: With the President still on board, the movie quickly becomes Die Hard on a plane. And guess what? The formula works, which is why it is used so often. The President is taking terrorists out, dumping fuel and basically throwing a monkey wrench into Korshunov’s plan to use the hostages on board as leverage for the release of his beloved General Radek.
This is a quality action film that mixes in the right amount of suspense and intrigue along with some stunning visual effects. And the cast is top notch too with names like Glenn Close, Dean Stockwell, Paul Guilfoyle and William H. Macy making up the supporting players. It is no wonder this one was a blockbuster and that it holds up so well almost 2 decades later. And while it did borrow from Die Hard, I have to believe it inspired movies like White House Down and Olympus Has Fallen.
And here’s a few more things to look for if you do decide to watch Air Force One…
- Familiar Faces: I mentioned some of the bigger names that made up the supporting cast, but there are a few more actors that would be recognizable to big time action fans. There’s J.A. Preston who plays one of the Generals, but he will always be MacCleary from Remo Williams to me. There’s Willard E. Pugh who plays the White House Comm. Officer, but he will always be the Mayor of Detroit in Robocop 2 to me. And then there’s Andrew Divoff, he’s one of Krushnov’s thugs but he’ll always be the main bad guy in Toy Soldiers to me.
- Most Memorable Quote: “Get off my plane!” – President James Marshall
- Fun Fact: The opening scene at the Presidential palace in Kazakhstan was actually filmed in my hometown of Cleveland at Case Western Reserve University.