Harrison Ford explodes onto the scene as the President of the United States, joined by an all-star cast, special effects, and a thrilling plot.
After seizing dictator General Radek and throwing him in jail, the President announces to Russia and the world that it will no longer tolerate any regimes whatsoever. Some think the speech is gutsy, others think it is a bag of air. But that doesn't matter because there's a group of terrorists who want Radek releases from prison and they will do anything to get their wish, including taking Air Force One hostage.
What follows is an exciting shootout where the professional Secret Service Agents seem no match for these terrorists. While the results are pretty explosive, the movie right here hits its first of many flaws. There is a giant wall of guns within ten feet of the press area where the terrorists come from. Why is there a giant wall of guns there? Second, why is this rogue Secret Service Agent (they always work in pairs anyway) betray his President and the country for a bunch of Radek terrorists? It is never explained. But anyway, the scene is exciting.
The terrorists then think that the President has escaped via an escape pod (which Air Force One doesn't have in real life) but say okay because they still have his family, the First Lady (Wendy Crewson) and their daughter, the looking-awfully-old-for-a-12-year-old daughter (Liesel Matthews). Of course, for action's sake, he hasn't, and now he has the element of surprise. What ensues is actually a comical scene where Ford tries to contact the White House through the operator, and the operator doesn't believe him.
The whole movie is a nonstop thrill ride. Ten minutes don't go by without something exciting happening, whether it be hand-to-hand combat, airplane maneuvers, shoot-outs, or what have you. The tension grows and grows until the final scene, and there are actually two endings to the film, one where Ford has to take down the head terrorist (Gary Oldman) and the other where he and his family have to escape the crashing plane.
Ford is a fierce and believable (though overly nice and idealistic) President, and this is probably one of his best films in the last five years, if not more. Here he gets two pieces of the pie; action, which he's good at, and drama, since he is the head of the country.
Gary Oldman does an equally impressive job. He's one of the best villainous actors out there, and this time he's boasting a Russian accent. He also is a believable terrorist - He's ruthless but he also is a human; he has a family, kids, and can't stand to see his friends die. Of course, he is portrayed as evil enough that we feel no remorse when he is killed.
Oh, and one of my favorite actors is in the movie, William H. Macy.
Air Force One does have some reality flaws, but it doesn't matter because it has great action, a great cast, and Harrison Ford as the President of the United States.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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