When talking about patriotic films, one quickly thinks of The Patriot and Independence Day. Right behind that tier has to begin with 1997’s Air Force One. From the beginning credits, you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into- a film filed with patriotism, action and drama behind the riveting score of Jerry Goldsmith. Directed by Wolfgang Peterson, the man behind action classics such as Outbreak, The Perfect Storm and Troy, Air Force One is full of nostalgic moments and features an amazing dynamic between its two leads: Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman.
First and foremost, Harrison Ford is excellently cast as the US President. In a world full of terrorist organizations, Harrison Ford fills in fantastically as a diplomat that can also put up his fists when called upon. Harrison is just as humble as he is heroic in this film. He’s not afraid to put his money where his mouth is and would be the first one to never brag about his accomplishments. Incredible casting.
The real meat and bones of this film however is Gary Oldman, who plays the evil and coldhearted terrorist with the motivation to free his general from prison. Gary Oldman has been in a ton of amazing films, including Christopher Nolan’s Batman films as well as Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. The film before Air Force One, which is one of my favorite films of all time, The Fifth Element, stars Gary Oldman as a familiar villain.
Die Hard on a plane…
Air Force One nearly has all the effective variables that made Die Hard so memorable. Great lead? Yup. Great villain? You bet. Great surrounding cast, memorable moments and film score? Yes, yes and yes. Speaking of film score, Jerry Goldsmith composed this score in only two weeks. How in the world is that possible?
The film boils down to pure and simple entertainment. For me personally, it’s not in the same tier as some of the iconic action-adventure flicks of the 90’s (The Matrix, Speed, The Rock, Twister, Independence Day, The Fifth Element, etc.). However, it is absolutely in that next tier alongside great flicks including Con Air, True Lies, Die Hard with a Vengeance and Starship Troopers.
Best Scene: The “Get off my plane” line is heroic and memorable. If Harrison Ford wasn’t already cemented as one of your favorite film stars, this was it. This moment is an amazing end to an even better villain. This line was even spoofed during a scene in Family Guy when Peter tries skydiving. Hilarious.
What’ Didn’t Work: Underneath the amazing film score, performances, casting and directing lies a very predictable script. There are no shocks and turns here. Everything you expect to happen, does in fact take place. This is a film with a ton of cliché’s that are borderline laughable. Similar to films like Independence Day, just don’t dig too deep, Enjoy Air Force One for what it is: a fun time while watching two legendary actors do what they do best.
This is a turn off your brain, thrill ride that includes strong performances from its two leads- Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman. Similar to the action flicks of this era, this movie is pure popcorn bliss and should be graded as so. Since this is our first review, we grade on how much this film is a must watch and when you should watch it. Air Force One is currently available on Netflix and is a film that shouldn’t be missed.