Air Force One (1997)

Genres - Action  |   Sub-Genres - Action Thriller  |   Release Date - Jul 25, 1997 (USA)  |   Run Time - 125 min.  |   Countries - Germany , United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Derek Armstrong

Air Force One tries to capitalize on America's fascination with the mythic quality of U.S. presidents, inviting viewers to imagine the frightening reversal of power if icons like Bill Clinton or John F. Kennedy were slapped around by terrorists and made to plead for their lives. In that way, Wolfgang Petersen's hijacking flick is occasionally disturbing. Gary Oldman, drawing from his extensive catalogue of sadistic villains, presses Harrison Ford's face against instrument panels and imperils the virtue and safety of both the First Lady and their daughter. But since the president is Ford, we also get all the action hero nonsense, which includes him passing among secret nooks and crannies of the plane, a device familiar to fans of the airborne-action genre. The coup de grace is the hokey one-liner from all the trailers, spat out by Ford while delivering a knockout punch: "Get off my plane!" The film is notable, however, for casting Glenn Close as a female vice president. Back in Washington, Close is saddled with one of the greatest crises that can afflict a person in power: whether to enforce the president's zero-tolerance policy or save his life by caving in. Her stateliness is a tribute to the idea that the world is not run only by butt-kicking commanders-in-chief.