Air Force One was the last of the Die Hard imitators. The sub-genre produced the classics Under Siege, Speed, and Air Force One. Notable contenders include Passenger 57 and Executive Decision, both of which share similarities with Force, but aren’t nearly as well executed. Harrison Ford is perfectly cast as the POTUS and Gary Oldman makes for a compelling villain.
James Marshall (Harrison Ford) is the steadfast U.S. President who has just given an address on terrorism at a convention in Moscow. On the return flight home Russian neo-nationalists, fronted by a fanatical lunatic (Gary Oldman) have hijacked Air Force One and the President is faced with having to stick to his guns literally and in a political sense. Alone and without aid Marshall must take out the terrorists and free the staff being held hostage.
At the White House Vice President Bennett (Glenn Close) is negotiating the release of an imprisoned former General, whom the hijackers claiming loyalty to. The back room political haggling about who assumes power in this scenario is intriguing. The appropriate casting of sturdy supporting actors in walk-on roles adds to the over-all level of quality in every department.
Air Force One is a big grandiose thrill-machine that represent Hollywood studio filmmaking of the highest order. This film perfectly encapsulates populist tastes in the mid-to-late nineties. Jerry Goldsmith ‘s thunderous and brassy score is pitch-perfect for the material. Writer Andrew W. Marlowe keeps the story moving through interesting obstacles and clever solutions. Director Wolfgang Petersen guides this gargantuan blockbuster effortlessly, producing a first-rate action-thriller that gets the job done in an intelligent and entertaining manner.
Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Stars: Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, William H. Macy