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Overall Rating
2.84

Awesome: 6.82%
Worth A Look: 29.55%
Average: 18.18%
Pretty Bad31.82%
Total Crap: 13.64%

2 reviews, 32 user ratings


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Executive Decision
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Boring, but at least Seagal isn't in it much."
2 stars

'Executive Decision' is as bland as its title. What's more, it finally gives us what Hollywood has been threatening for years, the movie nobody was waiting for: 'Airport '96.'

It's got everything -- the mad bomber; the plucky stewardess; the Who's Who passenger list (though this movie uses character actors, not faded stars as in the Airport series); the hero who knows how to do everything except land a plane, which of course he's called upon to do.

The plot is one of those bewildering pieces of cheese about terrorists and anti-terrorists, all of whom have huge guns and identical constipated expressions. A famous terrorist has been arrested, and his cohorts hijack an airliner and demand that America set the terrorists free. Or else what? Well, there's a nerve-gas bomb on the plane, ready to detonate when it lands in Washington.

Kurt Russell, as some sort of fancy intelligence agent, is the only one smart enough to figure out this plan. He and a pack of commandos (led by Steven Seagal) decide to take another plane up and break into the airliner. I'd just as soon not go into how they do it, because it's complicated and probably the most entertaining section of the movie. After that, though, Executive Decision loses altitude fast.

The two or three remaining members of the Steven Seagal Fan Club should know that his presence in the movie is grossly exaggerated in the ads. Great character actors like J. T. Walsh sit around, obviously bored and wondering when they'll get to do anything. Joe Morton (as an injured commando) spends most of the film on his back. Halle Berry (as the plucky stewardess) looks anxious. Oliver Platt, who tries to disarm the bomb, sweats a lot and chews a straw. Marla Maples Trump shows up, too, as another stewardess. That's how you really know this is Airport '96.

As he proved in StarGate, another throwback to '70s schlock, Kurt Russell has a way of shouldering a big retro load like this without too much strain. He's not bad here; as an actor, he always projects solid common sense and intellect, and he keeps Executive Decision halfway watchable. But you'd hardly know from his bespectacled, buttoned-down performance what a witty actor he can be.

Apart from the movie's specific flaws, there is something distasteful about Hollywood's insistence on foreign terrorists, especially after the extreme reality slap in Oklahoma City. Executive Decision has an odd and bitter element: The title refers to the government's decision to destroy the airliner -- with 400 innocents aboard -- before it can touch down and release the nerve gas. The movie is full of toxic gas itself. It demonizes both foreigners and the U.S. government in a way that reminded me of the militant paranoia of Rambo -- the definitive Reagan-era fantasy.

'Executive Decision' would fit better in any era but this one. It's for people who still want to believe the enemy isn't us.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=533&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/13/07 09:47:24
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User Comments

11/10/11 matthew thompson dalldorf Very slow for an "action" movie 2 stars
4/09/10 PAUL SHORTT INVENTIVE THRILLER WITH SHARP ACTION SCENES 3 stars
2/05/10 Jeff Wilder Some unpredictable moments. But undone by cliches and too much flag waving. 2 stars
12/18/08 Sugarfoot Awful, no matter what people say. 1 stars
2/28/07 action movie fan very good film=seagal and kurt russel a great team 4 stars
1/18/07 David Pollastrini not great, not terrible 3 stars
5/14/06 Jim More of a Mission Impossible sneak-n-peak than an outright actioner. 4 stars
3/11/06 Dillon So good you won't realize it's basically all set-up for the end. 4 stars
2/13/06 Anthony On a normal day, this is good 3 stars
9/23/05 darick Good acting, but a bit cliched. Still intense though. 4 stars
8/31/05 ES Seagal dies, Kurt saves the day, it's all good 4 stars
8/19/05 Indrid Cold A forgetten near-gem. Thoroughly exciting, especially at the end. 4 stars
7/31/05 sweetgrrl1972 Kept me interested from beginning to end. 4 stars
5/02/05 your worst goddamn nightmare You know, I liked this. I kept me in suspense. Oh, and by the way, terrorists are idiots.. 4 stars
2/27/05 Dr. Lecter surprisingly suspenseful 4 stars
8/20/04 lucas 5 stars to Mr. Seagal 4 stars
11/27/03 John solid action film with an intriguing plot 4 stars
7/28/03 Stefan Halka This film lagged on for too long and was disapointing that there was no action in the film. 3 stars
3/22/03 Jack Sommersby A first-rate, taut, wonderfully acted (though overlong) adventure. Russell is aces. 4 stars
10/14/02 Charles Tatum Nothing special, hate the generic title 3 stars
5/18/02 Jenny Tullwartz Tense action delivered. Oliver Platt is especially good. 5 stars
3/25/02 R.W. Welch Standard action flick with just passable acting. 3 stars
3/07/02 Marcia Lartz Novel twist - Steven Seagal in a cameo. Other players break moulds too. 5 stars
7/15/01 Rampage One of those cheesy action movies that'll piss you off 1 stars
4/05/01 Hawkeye Two... one... K... twenty-one K! Ugh, spare me. 1 stars
3/26/01 Crash Davis A completely implausible story line with the dumb ass bomb disarming scene, which wire???? 1 stars
11/29/00 Cristopher Revilla yeah, that f-117 is bigger than a goddam 747, gimme a fucking break!! This is a trash flick 1 stars
11/14/00 The EVIL Penguin good thing seagal dies; otherwise this would be a BOMBED film 4 stars
3/25/00 Richard Wright I really didn't like this film.No action to speak of,just a long slog from start to finish. 1 stars
12/09/99 Paul Excellent. An action movie that won't gross you out 5 stars
10/27/98 Silent Rob 'And it's action by numbers, 1..2..3' 3 stars
8/24/98 JenniferLorraine Kurt saves the day.. again. Average storyline & predictable. 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  15-Mar-1996 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  02-Jul-1996


Directed by
  Stuart Baird

Written by
  Jim Thomas
  John Thomas

Cast
  Kurt Russell
  Steven Seagal
  Halle Berry
  John Leguizamo
  Oliver Platt
  Joe Morton



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