Sunday, June 14, 2015

Air Force One

Movie Name: Air Force One
Year of Release: 1997
Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Stars: Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, Glenn Close, Wendy Crewson, Liesel Matthews, Paul Guilfoyle, Xander Berkeley, William H. Macy, Dean Stockwell, Tom Everett, Jurgen Prochnow, Donna Bullock
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6

After the double success (both commercial and critical) of both "In the Line of Fire" and "Outbreak", director Wolfgang Petersen returned with "Air Force One", another big commercial success in his career. The film follows the events that take place when the Air Force One, the plane where the President of the US gets taken and everyone inside is deemed a hostage. Unbeknownst to the criminals though, the President is a former military/soldier, and starts taking them apart one by one.
Wolfgang Petersen has built a career of tackling interesting yet genre driven stories that can be summarized quite quickly. Most of his films are anchored on a suspense which he deftly builds and manages throughout the duration of the feature. That has occurred with "In the Line of Fire" and the pending attack that was part of the premise, the virus menace that was at the root of "Outbreak" and the giant storm from "The Perfect Storm", to name but a few. "Air Force One" creates a central hero that is a figure of authority, but also an unexpected one, since the President is simultaneously the victim, but also the vindictive force. The director manages the suspense of maintaining the action between the events on the plane, and the events taking place in the land, while also allowing for the action set pieces to be coherent with the storyline and not detrimental or overwhelming it. It's a smart film featuring a good cast, with highlights going to Gary Oldman and Glenn Close, who both give edge and nuance to their characters. A good action film worth revisiting.