Review: Air Force One (1997)

Yesterday was the 4th of July, Independence Day for us Americans. I had planned on writing on the 1993 Roland Emmerich film Independence Day, only to find that, for some reason, national networks elected not to broadcast it this year, and I don’t care enough to own ID4 on home video, and I don’t want to offer opinions on a film I sort of remember without rewatching it. So I thought to myself, “What’s another extremely pro-American 1990’s action film?” Of course, there’s only one other option:

That tagline alone screams ‘Murica. “Harrison Ford is the Β President of the United States.” But this ain’t your granddaddy’s president, this POTUS kicks ass.

harrison ford air force one get off my plane movie

That gif is undoubtedly the most remembered scene from the film, a one-liner for the ages. But it follows a taut, well-crafted claustrophobic action-thriller, a film made in the style of the original Die Hard, and often cited in the great legacy of “Die Hard rip-offs,” unquestionably in the top tier with other 90’s action classics like Speed.

movie sandra bullock speed anniversary celebrates

Don’t get me wrong, Air Force One is silly. It’s really silly, really jingoistic, really simplistic in its political message, which is basically that America should never, ever negotiate. Or something. The point of the matter is that a group of post-Soviet militants (led by Gary Oldman affecting a semi-realistic accent) manages to sneak aboard Air Force One masquerading as a group of reporters, and plan to ransom the president for political negotiation, right after he said he wouldn’t negotiate! Oh the I-RO-NY! Rather than behaving as a rational human being would and using his escape pod, the President decides instead to utilize his convenient military background to take back his plane, kill the terrorists, and rescue his wife and daughter.

Sound familiar? That’s because it’s the plot of EVERY ACTION MOVIE EVER MADE. But this time it’s the president doing the action, which lends a level of stupid novelty to the whole affair. The typically compelling screen presences of Ford and Oldman keep the film on the whole entertaining, though it never amounts to anything more than a slightly above-average action movie with a fairly unique spin on a familiar premise.

An entertaining action-thriller, and a staple of the late 90’s, Air Force One provides on-the-whole enjoyable action thrills, creating a rewatchable, though not especially memorable B- film.

b-minus-school-letter-grade (1)


15 Comments Add yours

  1. I don’t know whether I’m surprised this film was from as late as 1997, or whether I’m shocked just how far away 1997 now is. I feel like for as long as I’ve lived this is a film I think of as being from yesteryear and in my mind much earlier than 97 but I don’t know why. Would probably go for B- myself too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reminds me why I took a pass on this one. I might still see it, although unlikely.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. emmakwall says:

    Never seen this (!) but enjoyed your amusing review as ever. I bet it’s better than the movie. Gary Oldman is pretty good at accents isn’t he. Have you ever seen The Backwoods? He speaks fluent Spanish in it.

    I wanna hear you say “I-RO-NY” in real life!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t seen The Backwoods, sounds interesting though. I’ll have to check it out, Oldman’s always great.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. emmakwall says:

        I don’t remember it being the most awesome film (it was a little nasty in places, think Straw Dogs vibes) but it was cool to see him speaking Spanish! He’s a very pro actor.

        You okay?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah, I’m good. Why?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. emmakwall says:

        No reason! Nothing to be suspicious about (excuse me while I just jot something down in my notebook entitled ‘the movements of Jake’…..)

        No, we just hadn’t spoken for a while πŸ™‚ glad you’re cool!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I’m assuming that the cover title of the notebook is made up of cut-out magazine letters, you goddamn psycho. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      5. emmakwall says:

        How did you know?! Have you been spying on me?!! πŸ˜€

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I can neither confirm nor deny any such allegations. πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

      7. emmakwall says:

        Well I’ve got your number sonny jim – I can see the raccoon eye patches left from the ink I cleverly hid on your binoculars! Not that……..I’m spying on you or anything!!

        Liked by 1 person

      8. You’re spying on me spying on you spying on me?!

        Liked by 1 person

      9. emmakwall says:

        Hahaha!!! “I too like to live dangerously” πŸ˜€πŸ˜€

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Ben says:

    This is a film I’m afraid to return to. I loved it as a kid and I’m sure that it has gaping issues now. You are right about that line though…

    Liked by 1 person

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