Pardon my lack of patriotism...Air Force One isn't a bad movie. And it's ready-made for an impending line of sequels (Air Force 2, Air Force 3-D, etc.). It's just predictible and horribly implausible.
Harrison Ford is...well...Harrison Ford. But his age is starting to show. For this to have been a true Ford action film, he'd have needed a bullwhip or a Wookie next to him. But for the sake of the movie, he's a decent president. I'd vote for him.
The weakness here is that you never quite buy into it completely. There's also the matter of the real Air Force One not having a cache of guns and a "presidential escape pod." Um, yeah. Did President Marshall really jettison in the escape pod after offing two Russian baddies? Well, I'd hope not, because the filmmakers would have a hell of a time getting him back on the plane for the rest of the movie. And then AF1 would turn into a rehash of Executive Decision, and we all know the only decent part of that movie was seeing Steven Segal bite it in the first half hour. Furthermore, what are the odds of the United States government letting ANY documentary crew, much less a bunch of former communists, onto the plane? From the moment we see Gary Oldman and his band of Wild America rejects, we know something's up. Check your brain at the door; the screenwriter certainly did.
That's not to say the performances are bad. Ford's adequate as the kick-butt Commander-In-Chief, and when he starts to fight back, you can't help but root him on. Glenn Close is interesting, because she takes the impression that audiences have of a VP and turns the tables. We expect some bumbling pushover, but she's tough. She doesn't let the terrorists or Dean Stockwell push her around. She may be a feminist, but she's loyal to the guy who helped her get the job in the first place.
Give me Gary Oldman as a hippie Dracula or a brooding Beethoven. But enough with the psychotic baddies. Each character is the same: quiet villain with a sadistic streak and a nearly indistinguishable accent (is he Russian or does he just have some sort of speech impediment?) who, when provoked, starts yelling like an idiot and loses said accent altogether. Ugh. I kept waiting for Robin Williams to pop up from Moscow On The Hudson. And William H. Macy, so good in Fargo, seems wasted here.
The technical side isn't anything to cheer about either. The effects (mostly of the plane in flight) are mostly bad process shots that look like they were done by the same crew responsible for the Kurt Russell/Peter Fonda surfing scene in Escape From L.A.
My advice: skip the plane ride.As presidential movies go, it was better than Absolute Power. But that's not saying a whole lot.