What You Need To Know:
AIR FORCE ONE is Harrison Ford’s tour de force as an actor playing a heroic persona. It probably represents the pinnacle of his long career in such notable films as INDIANA JONES, STAR WARS, THE FUGITIVE, and now AIR FORCE ONE. Even though it is improbable that the Secret Service would let Russian terrorists with fake identifications board the President’s jet, AIR FORCE ONE delivers an engrossing story, with moments of white-knuckle tension and an emotionally satisfying conclusion. With a creative premise, riveting acting by Harrison Ford, good music and dialogue, and excellent cinematography, AIR FORCE ONE has superlative production values. The movie also upholds patriotism, with the President as soldier-hero. However, beware of the many killings.
(Pa, B, VVV,A,M) Pagan worldview of terrorist attack on the presidential jet with strong biblical patriotic elements; 30 killings by machine gun, man attacks man with knife, man strangles man, man threatens woman with pistol to her head, & man falls out of airplane without parachute; alcohol; & betrayal of the President
AIR FORCE ONE is Harrison Ford’s tour de force as an actor playing a heroic persona. It may represent the pinnacle of his long career in such notable films as INDIANA JONES, STAR WARS, THE FUGITIVE, and now AIR FORCE ONE. Kudos to the 55-year-old who doesn’t act his age.
AIR FORCE ONE starts with a bang as unnamed commandos parachute out of a plane, land on the roof of a building in a foreign city at night and kill the rooftop guards with machine guns. Faces blackened, they burst into the building, kidnap a man sleeping on his four poster bed, assassinate numerous guards, and leave by helicopter from the roof.
In the next scene, the Russian President addresses a crowd of dignitaries in a state dining room, and announces that a joint US-Russian commando operation has apprehended the murderous General Radek of Kazakstan. The dignitaries applaud. The Russian President defers to his friend, United States President James Marshall (Harrison Ford), who rises to make a sober speech, in which he accepts blame for delaying the police action to apprehend Radek and declares that America will never again allow a mass murderer like Radek terrorize a country and kill hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians. He pointedly states that peace is not the absence of conflict, but the presence of justice, and that the US will no longer fear confronting international tyrants.
In the ensuing motorcade back to his jet, National Security Advisors reprove him for announcing international policy changes without consulting either them, the allies, or the State Department. He tells them he did the right thing and asks his political advisor how the American public is responding to his initiative. The political advisor tells him that the people are ecstatic. This is clearly a popular president.
On the night-lit Moscow Airport tarmac, four scruffy Russians carrying huge bags march up to the special Secret Service finger print scanners and clear security. They board Air Force One and sit in the passenger section, escorted by a lovely American press attaché. As the President enters his private quarters, he meets his wife, who compliments him on the forthrightness of his speech. He kisses her, hugs his daughter and turns on the TV to watch a football game, as he pushes away intrusive aides.
A Secret Service agent enters a room, distributes files to three other agents, pulls out a machine pistol and kills them. Throwing a smoke bomb under a door, he signals the four scruffy Russians to whom he hands machine guns. They go on a killing spree, assassinating all personnel in the front of the jet and threaten, then kill the pilots, who heroically try to make an emergency landing at a German airfield.
Taking control of the jet, the terrorists manage to take off before Air Force One can stop taxiing. They divert the jet toward central Asia, as the lead terrorist, Ivan Korshunov (Gary Oldman), calls the White House Situation Room to make his demand: free General Radek, or the terrorists will kill one passenger every thirty minutes. U.S. Vice President, Kathryn Bennett (Glenn Close), dialogues with the lead terrorist and tries to stall for time, as the assembled cabinet ministers debate the proper U.S. military response. Vice President Bennett calls the Russian President, who refuses to release Radek unless the President calls him personally. She convenes a press conference and asks the American people to pray for the President, telling them that his jet has been hijacked.
Meanwhile, President Marshall has faked his own escape in the Air Force One escape pod and proceeds to combat the terrorists one by one in the jet’s hold. He finds a cell phone in the jet baggage compartment and calls the White House switchboard, but in a moment of levity, the skeptical operator rebuffs him, until he asks her to trace the call, but it is too late. The terrorists capture him and force him to call the Russian President to free General Radek. In a grim scene at an anonymous Russian prison, guards free murderous General Radek from his dilapidated cell, and he starts to walk away from the prison into a waiting jet. Just then, President Marshall turns the tables. The movie ends with extravagant pyrotechnical explosions, a spectacular rescue, and plane crash.
Many will enjoy the nonstop action and suspense of this thriller. AIR FORCE ONE delivers an engrossing story, with moments of white-knuckle tension and an emotionally satisfying conclusion. With a creative premise, riveting acting by Harrison Ford, good music and dialogue, and excellent cinematography, AIR FORCE ONE has superlative production values. The movie also upholds patriotism, as it depicts the President as a soldier-hero, who must personally combat the determined terrorists who seize him, his wife and daughter on his own jet. AIR FORCE ONE also has a laudable biblical element, as, at the height of the conflict, the Vice President appeals to all American citizens to pray for their President.
However, beware of many killings by machine gun and by strangulation.