Air Force One (1997) Review

Air Force One (1997) - IMDb

They just don’t make big, high-concept action movies, starring A-list Hollywood stars like they did in the 90s. Air Force One sits alongside Face/Off, Con-Air and Bad Boys for all-out action, fantastic stunts, great villains and a hero you can root for. In this case, it is Harrison Ford and to add to his credibility, he is the President of the USA.

That should be enough to sell anyone, as Harrison Ford is a huge star and the thought of this gruff, no-nonsense but perfectly charming guy being the ruler of the free world is an appealing one. Add to this the great plot (which again, only the 90s could have produced) where a gang of terrorists hijack Air Force One in an attempt to hold the President prisoner for demands such as freeing other captured bad guys. It is essentially “Die Hard on a plane” but with Harrison Ford, and it makes for an entertaining movie.

Air Force One (1997) - Film Yap

It helps that Ford is convincing in the able, everyman tough-guy. Even though Ford is both Indiana Jones and Han Solo, he never quite reaches the conversation of “best action hero” but Ford has the same qualities as Bruce Willis, as a man you get behind who at any point could actually lose. All he needs is a decent villain to come up against and luckily, here he has Gary Oldman.

Oldman is not the acting powerhouse he is today when he does Air Force One and if you watched this movie alone, you’d chalk him up as a Hans Gruber wannabe. Oldman does enough to be convincing though and is enough of a threat, and certainly slimy enough, that you want to see Ford’s President Marshall throw him off the plane. Add the fact that the President’s family are on-board too and you get enough stakes to keep you invested.

Gary Oldman | Gary oldman, Gary, Air force ones

As great a 90s action movie concept as Air Force One is, it also suffers from the silliness that 90s action movies have too. There are so many leaps in logic, coincidences and just downright nonsensical decisions that you will begin to roll your eyes rather than go with the flow as the movie clearly hopes you will. A lot of this comes from Glenn Close as the Vice-President and the person charged with some of the tough decisions while the President plays action hero. Considering the weight and ability of Close, she is utterly wasted here and plays into every female decision maker stereotype you can get, from being harassed by her male counterparts or letting emotion “get in the way.”

Overall, Air Force One delivers a fun, engaging and utterly 90s action movie with Ford playing a President trapped on his own hijacked plane. Ford is a great action hero, Oldman is a solid villain and there is enough here to get the movie through. It gets silly towards the end and Glenn Close is wasted but you will be entertained.

Rating – 3.5

(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)

Where Was Air Force One Filmed? 1997 Movie Filming Locations

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