Air Force One

The filmmakers of Air Force One did some creative casting. The first surprise was hiring Harrison Ford to play the president of the United States. Another was hiring Gary Oldman (of all people!) to play a Russian terrorist. Ford is magnificent, but Oldman is damn near awful. His fake Russian accent and terrible portrayal of a terrorist almost cancels out Ford’s president. Otherwise, director Wolfgang Petersen is mostly on the ball, putting in plenty of action, but not overcharging the movie with nonstop climaxes.

I couldn’t help but play plausibility police for this picture. How can two people fight on an open deck in a flying airplane? Wouldn’t they be sucked out? And the finale is exciting — as long as you are willing not to believe a second of it.

On the bright side of the film is Harrison Ford’s brilliant portrait of the president. I cannot praise his performance enough. It almost makes us forget the movie’s many flaws.

Speaking of flaws, the political issues are a bit too much. Sure, they are meant to add depth to the film, and at first it works, but then they overdo it. It becomes confusing and unneeded.

The exciting conclusion earns the film a marginal reccomendation. It’s just too bad the film has all these flaws, Ford was going for an Oscar.

-- Eugene Novikov

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