Directed and Co-Produced by Wolfgang Petersen
President James Marshall (Harrison Ford) is a tough talking, butt kicking president. After giving a speech in Moscow following the capture of General Ivan Radek (Jürgen Prochnow), Air Force One is taken over by loyalists in an effort to get the general freed from captivity. Now President Marshall must save everyone on the plane before the general is released and find the traitor that let them onboard.
We all want a president like James Marshall. At least that is what we say. In reality people would be calling him an interventionist and a cowboy even though what he is doing is probably a better option than waiting until doing something becomes a political interest. Marshall’s new policy announced at the Moscow speech is going in when it ISN’T just in our political intest. But that is for a different discussion.
Air Force One is basically Die Hard on a plane. Die Hard did spawn a subgenre all its own when you think about it. The hero gets trapped in a confined space but must evade the villains until they can be stopped. One thing that helps with this movie is that the real Air Force One is something that people know very little about so you can be a little more fanciful than you could if it was a common airplane.
Secret Service Agent Gibbs (Xander Berkeley) is the traitor. You know that from the beginning and throughout the movie he is helping him bad guys. It however is done in a way that does not make you go “How are they not picking up on this?” When they show you who the mole on the inside is at the very beginning of the movie usually through the rest of the movie when that person is helping the bad guys it is painfully obvious. Here if you had not seen that one scene, I don’t think you would know what was going on.
I am 90% sure this is my first exposure to Gary Oldman, and this is also where my confusion on where he came from began. Sometimes he has an accent like he does here. Other times he plays an American. And sometimes he drops his accent altogether and you hear his genuine voice. But regardless the man is one of the great actors currently performing and he is good no matter the role. As the villainous Egor Korshunov he is just so evil and crazy that you really fear for what will happen next.
This was 1997 and the Star Wars prequels had yet to come out and set CGI standards so the special effects are a little bit “meh” at times. The one that really impressed me back in the day was when Air Force One finally crashed. It is still not bad, but the CGI is apparent now. Still does not attract from the climax of the film.
Air Force One a great action film by the legendary Wolfgang Peterson. He did a great job here but then again he is a great director. This is a fantastic story with tons of twists and turns and amazing action with an original take on the trapped-in-something action movie. You really should check it out.