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(1997) (Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman) (R)

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Suspense/Thriller: Terrorists hijack Air Force One and the President must stop them and save his wife and daughter who are also on board.
A U.S. led commando raid in Kazakhstan captures a renegade Russian leader, General Radek (JURGEN PROCHNOW), and James Marshall (HARRISON FORD), the President of the U.S., declares that the U.S. will no longer tolerate nor negotiate with any terrorist group. No sooner does he make that statement then a group of Radek supporters, led by Ivan Korshunov (GARY OLDMAN) and assisted by secret service agent Gibbs (XANDER BERKELEY), hijack Air Force One. Their demands are that Radek be released from prison or else they'll execute a prisoner every half hour. What they didn't count on is that Marshall didn't leave the plane in the jettisoned escape pod, but instead remained on board. Back in Washington, Vice President Kathryn Bennett (GLENN CLOSE) must decide whether to deal with Korshunov's demands while thwarting Secretary of Defense Walter Dean's (DEAN STOCKWELL) attempts at usurping executive power. As Marshall makes his way through the plane taking out the terrorists, he must deal with saving the lives of his wife Grace (WENDY CREWSON), twelve- year-old daughter Alice (LIESEL MATTHEWS), other White House workers, and with the damaged executive plane that's heading for a crash.
If they're fans of anyone in the cast (Ford, Oldman, Close, etc...) or are fans of action-filled suspense movies, they will.
For violence.
  • HARRISON FORD plays the President who must decide whether to negotiate with the terrorists and their demands, or to save others' lives. He chooses the latter, and must then kill several terrorists in the process.
  • GARY OLDMAN plays the terrorist who kills many people and thus isn't a good role model.
  • GLENN CLOSE plays the Vice President who must decide what course of action to take and in doing so displays a compassionate, yet strong persona.


    OUR TAKE: 9 out of 10
    One of the more entertaining films of the year, "Air Force One" is sure to please audience members looking for a pro-American, no holds barred thriller. Giving Harrison Ford what has to be one of his last chances to star as the action hero (the other being the reported next installment in the "Indiana Jones" series), the film showcases his star appeal and creates terrorists who are so bad that the audience cheers every time one of them meets their demise. While the story adds just a simple twist to the hijacked plane story that we've seen so many times before (of recent: "Turbulence," "Executive Decision," etc...), there's enough novelty here that you'll never be bored, and everything does have a fresh feel to it. Most of that can be attributed to director Wolfgang Petersen ("Das Boot," "In the Line of Fire") whose pacing and edge of your seat suspense scenes make this a terrific feature. Oldman is good in his role as the head terrorist, but you wish there was a bit more substance to, and motivation for, his character to create a bit more depth (alas, we've been spoiled since Alan Rickman's "Die Hard" villain). As he is, he serves the plot well, but with some more explanation about him, and about a secret service agent gone bad, the story would have been that much stronger. While some might complain about the seemingly never ending climaxes at the movie's end, they are highly enjoyable and come across like a roller coaster ride where you never know how many hills and unexpected curves are left. Just when you think the movie is over, another event arrives and you'll be thrilled that it does. Unlike most of this summer's other action and suspense films, this film delivers the goods and doesn't let its impressive cast get in the way of the finished product. Instead, the performances fit together like a good jigsaw puzzle and add to the overall quality of the film. We greatly enjoyed this feature as will you if you're looking for topnotch entertainment delivered in the package of a highly effective suspense thriller. "Air Force One" flies high and we give it a 9 out of 10.
    Despite our above praise, this is a very violent and often brutally ugly film. Many, many people are shot and killed, some in general gunfire, while others are shot execution style. In addition, many people are threatened with guns aimed at their heads. Similarly, the film is chock full of suspense scenes that may prove to be too intense for some viewers. Profanity is surprisingly light (for this genre), but does contain an "f" word and a few others. Beyond the violence and suspense related content, the film is rather void of other major objectionable material. Even so, since many older children will probably want to see this film, we suggest that you examine the content before allowing them to do so.

  • Marshall drinks a beer on board the plane.
  • A terrorist drinks what may be liquor on board.
  • We see several cases of Budweiser in the cargo hold.
  • A Russian official drinks liquor.
  • Many people who are shot are bloody (as are the chairs behind them, etc...) and there's the occasional blood splatter when some of them are shot.
  • Marshall gets bloodier as the story progresses. First he has a few bloody scrapes on his face, and later there are more, and in another scene his hands are very bloody as he tries to cut himself loose.
  • Obviously the terrorists have both, and Korshunov is the worst as he threatens and kills many people for his own purposes.
  • A secret service agent also has both as he works with the terrorists and kills several people.
  • The Secretary of Defense has a little as he tries to usurp power from the Vice President.
  • The movie is filled with one suspense scene after another as Marshall must make his way through the plane and deal with the terrorists. Of note, the terrorists take over the plane in a violent siege, and it nearly crashes during a landing attempt. In other scenes, Marshall fights with the terrorists (violent struggles), and Soviet Mig fighters attack the plane in another.
  • There are many scenes where guns are held to people's heads to threaten and/or execute them.
  • The entire ending sequence (that is quite long) is very suspenseful as Marshall must not only deal with the terrorists, but with flying and getting off the crippled plane as it slowly descends toward a crash.
  • Handguns/Machine Guns: Used to threaten and/or kill many people. See "Violence" for details.
  • Explosives: Used a few times. See "Violence" for details.
  • Jet fighter missiles and machine guns: Used to shoot at Air Force One and at other fighter jets. See "Violence" for details.
  • The terrorists hijack a plane.
  • Phrases: "Balls" (testicles), "Bastard," and "Shut up."
  • Korshunov spits in Marshall's face.
  • None.
  • There is a heavy amount of suspenseful music throughout the film.
  • None.
  • 1 "f" word, 3 "s" words, 4 hells, 3 damns, 2 asses, 2 S.O.B.'s, and 6 uses of "G-damn," 4 uses of "Jesus," 2 uses each of "For God's sakes" and "Jesus Christ," and 1 use each of "God," "Oh my God," "Oh Christ," "For Christ's sakes," and "Christ" as exclamations.
  • None.
  • Korshunov smokes cigarettes in a few scenes.
  • Some Russian officials and guards smoke.
  • Marshall is obviously concerned about the safety of his wife and daughter, and must deal with their lives being threatened by Korshunov in several scenes. Likewise, the First Lady must watch as Korshunov threatens her daughter.
  • The hijacking of planes.
  • The point brought up by the terrorists about the differences between their blatant acts of killing and those that the President has issued (ie. Military strikes) from a distance.
  • Several guards are shot dead as commandos abduct Radek. As they leave, more gunfire is exchanged between the commandos and the guards with more people being hit and killed. Finally, several explosions rock the roof of a building, injuring more guards.
  • A secret service agent shoots and kills three other agents.
  • Many people are shot and killed as the terrorists take over the plane and the secret service agents fire back at them.
  • Korshunov uses plastic explosives to get into the cockpit where he then shoots and kills the pilot and copilot.
  • Marshall fights a terrorist and many punches and a few kicks are thrown. Marshall finally knocks the guy out by hitting him with a small stool.
  • Marshall shoots and kills a terrorist after that man shoots at him.
  • Korshunov shoots a man execution style.
  • A fighter jet fires upon the plane and its missile explodes near Air Force One causing a great deal of turbulence. Inside, Marshall fights with another terrorist until he finally strangles (and perhaps kills) the man.
  • Korshunov kills another person and we only hear the shot, although later we see the body being removed.
  • Many people are sucked out of the plane in several different scenes and fall to their (presumed) deaths.
  • A refueling plane explodes in midair and everyone on board is killed.
  • Korshunov repeatedly punches Marshall, slams him into a wall, and puts his foot down on his head.
  • Soviet Mig fighters fire upon the plane, and some of them are then destroyed as U.S. planes attack them. Later, a U.S. jet is destroyed.
  • A man takes a bullet for the President who then shoots more of the bad guys.
  • In the end, all of the terrorists have been killed (what a surprise).
  • More people are shot and killed.

  • Reviewed July 21, 1997

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