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Overall Rating

Awesome: 19.64%
Worth A Look37.5%
Average: 18.75%
Pretty Bad: 6.25%
Total Crap: 17.86%

5 reviews, 82 user ratings

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Air Force One
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Probably Ford's last decent movie."
4 stars

It's probably unwise to trust our response to a movie in mid-summer, when our brains have been so battered by big, stupid blockbusters that any film that isn't blatantly moronic looks like a masterpiece. (How else to explain the second-coming-of-'Gump' accolades for 'Contact'?) Yet I should admit I had a good time at 'Air Force One,' the latest 'Die Hard' knock-off. The movie is derivative and by-the-numbers, with three separate scenes of Harrison Ford dangling from an airplane where one scene would have sufficed, but it has a confident snap as it goes about its business.

Ford, of course, is the President of the United States -- James Marshall, a decorated Vietnam vet who's tough on terrorists -- and that's both a fantasy and a bitter joke. Boldly decisive, stubbornly opposed to political maneuvering, honest and morally righteous, this man would never be elected to any office in America, let alone its highest. As the movie opens, a vicious Russian dictator (Jurgen Prochnow) has just been captured and imprisoned, and the gray heads of the United Nations convene to congratulate Marshall on his part in the capture. He makes a manly speech outlining his zero-tolerance approach to terrorism: Never negotiate, never compromise in the face of evil.

The stage could be set for a drama in which the unyielding President gets an ugly reality slap. But this is a summer action movie, and so the hero's philosophy must be tested but never seriously challenged. A group of terrorists, led by a scruffy Gary Oldman, invade Air Force One and demand that the dictator be set free. Oldman and his pack of stoic killers think that Marshall has fled the plane in mid-air, by way of an escape pod (maybe they've seen Escape from New York), but the prez has decided to stay on the plane, hiding and picking off terrorists. President Solo, President Indy! What a man!

As the familiar cat-and-mouse plot unfolded, I stopped mourning the lost possibilities and let myself enjoy the unapologetic masculine thrills. Air Force One is always two steps away from being a comedy, maybe because it takes itself so seriously. Sometimes the seriousness works. The director, Wolfgang Petersen (Das Boot, In the Line of Fire), has never treated violence as a joke. Several of the gunfights are staged with the frightening chaos of the real thing, and Petersen puts full weight on the terror of a hostage who realizes, before our eyes, that she's going to die. Oldman, in another great performance, speaks to her with a curious tenderness and perhaps a little sadness before he pulls the trigger.

The last act is a crisper (if sometimes less plausible) version of Executive Decision. Ford does his dangling, and the passengers must be removed from the failing plane. Air Force One abandons any pretense of drama and embraces the usual elaborate summer-movie logistics. Ford stares evil in the eye and growls that now-famous one-liner: Get off my plane! (It sounds amusingly like Mel Gibson's Give me back my son!)

As usual, Ford drips with moral authority; he's good at it but also too comfortable with it. I think he never got over the failure of the only movie in which he took a chance -- "The Mosquito Coast," where he played a rigid, uncompromising man who never admitted that he could be wrong. He plays the same role here, only now we're supposed to cheer him on.

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originally posted: 12/30/06 11:26:05
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User Comments

6/06/18 bored mom Marshall isn't the president America deserves, but the one it needs. Now get off his plane! 4 stars
4/21/17 morris campbell terrific action flick suspense & action galore 5 stars
3/05/17 david froman good film but the fugitive is ford's best film 4 stars
12/21/14 Dane Youssef Another "Die Hard on A..." But better than average. And Ford pushes it to near classic. 4 stars
11/20/09 Jeff Wilder Fun. But undone by a completely laughable premise. 3 stars
4/09/09 Chris F very good film, throughly enjoyed it 5 stars
7/27/08 The Dork Knight Get off my plane. 3 stars
3/30/08 Pamela White You Go Harrison 4 stars
3/27/08 Tim Filled with action but also filled with absurdity; escapist fare at best 3 stars
8/16/07 R.W. Welch C+ actioner is well enough done but suffers from low credibity. 3 stars
8/10/07 Vincent Ebriega You'll find yourself asking for a seatbelt to be put on your seat while watching this. 5/5. 5 stars
4/23/07 David Risser The worst of Harrison Ford I have seen. Trash it and forget it was ever made. 1 stars
4/18/07 Stevo UK the real president would really have pissed it at the first chance 1 stars
2/17/07 Vip Ebriega Every scene in 'Air Force One' is total, non-stop, edgy action. Fasten your seatbelts. 5 stars
1/30/07 Matt Amazing what a great actor can do. Ford lifts this higher than the story deserves. 4 stars
1/15/07 Sepi53 How can one make more entertaining action film than this is!!!! 5 stars
12/16/06 Michele ford is always good 4 stars
10/25/06 David Pollastrini not great, not terrible 4 stars
3/10/06 Dk Predictable yet entertaining piece of fluff 3 stars
2/11/06 Anthony I would vote for Ford any day 4 stars
9/13/05 Zack good movie 4 stars
8/25/05 ES Why did the bad guy have to die? oh yeah, because the USA always completely wins every time 2 stars
7/31/05 Adam Weak! worst cgi ever put to film,especially the plane crash at the end 2 stars
7/06/05 Charlie Not a movie I would suggest, but I wouldn't advise people not to watch it. 3 stars
5/27/05 tony Action packed!, very good movie. End scene with the plane wasn't very convincing though 4 stars
4/25/05 Quigley a totally sweet action flick with great characters and action. one of my favorites easily 5 stars
12/25/04 DAN GREAT!! 5 stars
5/31/04 Nobody Ford is overrated as an actor, but is good here. CG plane sucks 3 stars
12/11/03 john do Germans Petersen and Emmerich think we want to see obvious nonsense like this? 1 stars
10/04/03 John Bale A President who saves himself and the world - Arnie moveover. 2 stars
7/23/03 Flounder I thought that it was half-way decent 4 stars
7/22/03 Jin Make sure to drink some wine to go with all the cheese... 1 stars
5/20/03 Shibby Osorio Harrison Ford sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
4/04/03 Jack Bourbon This flight needed a vomit bag and some reading materials, because the movie was El-Stinko. 1 stars
3/25/03 Jack Sommersby Ridiculous and boring. 1 stars
10/20/02 Charles Tatum How many bestiality pictures exist in order for the cast to sign on to this slop? 1 stars
9/13/02 Eric One of the best action/thrillers of the 90's. Ford is great. 5 stars
7/12/02 KMG Harrison as pres....I prefer Michael Douglas 3 stars
1/13/02 Arthur worst movie ever 1 stars
1/06/02 Andrew Carden Quite Suspenseful...Lots Of Action. I Prefered Turbulance Better. 4 stars
8/20/01 Matthew Bartley Pretty bad. Horrible special effects at the end 2 stars
8/04/01 sarah So predictable! Ford is what 50+? & he's running around the plane like Rambo 1 stars
6/28/01 Geebo What to say? It was enjoyable. Good acting too. 5 stars
6/09/01 Turtle A nice, adrenaline-pumping thriller. 3 stars
5/21/01 cinkcool One of Ford's Best. 5 stars
4/16/01 Ro Has a few moments of excitement but too cliched to be really thrilling. 3 stars
4/14/01 Cath awesome movie! 5 stars
2/15/01 Jake About as comical as Cobra. At least Cobra had the cool car. 1 stars
11/13/00 The EVIL Penguin thrilling and amazing 5 stars
10/24/00 dan why do the critics like this movie so much? sheesh! 3 stars
8/31/00 Terrie Smith Enjoyable but predictable action flick; we've seen it all before but it;s worth a look. 4 stars
7/02/00 Bruce What's with all the bad reviews ? It may be unoriginal but it is still a superb thriller 5 stars
6/12/00 Richard Wright Just a routine summer action movie which doesn't know when to finish. Seen it all before. 3 stars
6/04/00 OS A first rate action film 4 stars
4/16/00 steve Decent action flick 4 stars
4/07/00 SID My friends and I have so many inside jokes from this movie. It resembles Executive Decision 4 stars
3/28/00 movieman I agree with kyle 4 stars
2/06/00 Kyle Broflovski Harrison Ford is an indestructible celuloid demigod. 4 stars
1/20/00 ripley a good movie 5 stars
1/17/00 Dirk Diggler thrilling thriller 5 stars
1/13/00 jerry g a dynamite action thriller 5 stars
1/13/00 master this film rocks!!! 5 stars
1/12/00 moviefreak a very well done thriller 5 stars
1/12/00 mickey thilling 5 stars
1/12/00 dr.d a very good movie 5 stars
1/11/00 cl a thrilling action movie 5 stars
1/10/00 dr.d the best action film 5 stars
12/04/99 PervertedPixie Crazy Oldman takes on Indiana Jones. Dont take it to seriously. 4 stars
10/20/99 Tony Daquano An exciting film 4 stars
5/10/99 Beachlovr9 It wasn't great 3 stars
5/08/99 Tim Gary Oldman is great. He saved the movie 4 stars
4/20/99 Lucas jackson This movie was good,but I cant see the President realy doing this 4 stars
2/19/99 nun uf yur businness pretty interesting. Gelt bad for the kid in the movie! 4 stars
11/16/98 Jules Oldman is starting to annoy me with his psycho bit. Ford still rocks. Movie not so good. 3 stars
11/06/98 David Torpey Predictable. 3 stars
10/27/98 Silent Rob "Get off my screen!" 2 stars
9/06/98 Kid Pee-Pee "I have an escape pod. I'm the president. You public, be stupid. Like me." 1 stars
9/04/98 Scott Taylor OK movie. I love Ford, but I have to say the CG plane crash at the end is GOD AWFUL! 4 stars
8/31/98 Mister Whoopee Can we be anymore blindly, stupidly patriotic? Flagwaving at it's worst. Guff. 1 stars
8/29/98 Matt spend more time on action, less on patriotism! 2 stars
8/18/98 {{{OZ}}} Like Independence Day except without the aliens. And that sucked knobs. 2 stars
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  25-Jul-1997 (R)


  02-Feb-1997 (M)

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