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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Air Force One (1997)


I could see Barack being able to throw down when push came to shove.

On the most heavily-guarded aircraft in the world, President Marshall (Harrison Ford) is returning back home to the states with his wife and daughter. Everything’s running smoothly and calm, that is until a group of angry, pissed-off, Russian terrorists (lead by Gary Oldman) decide to take over the plane, hold the president and his family for ransom, and kill some other passengers as well. However, the President is lucky enough to get out of there as safe as can be as soon as the bad stuff begins to happen, and finds himself locked inside a air-pod that flies him down to safety, away from all of the violence and the terrorists. But that’s what they all think. See, what really happened here is that the President didn’t back down from this fight, and was going to stop at nothing, I do repeat, NOTHING to get the family and the country that he loves oh so much back.

Yeah, it’s pretty stupid: The President just so happens to kick just as much ass, if not more, than the heavily trained and tutored Secret Service members there to save and protect him, if the moment itself ever arose. But hey, so be it. When a movie is this fun, this goofy, and this tense, you just learn to embrace it rather than slap it in the face for it’s sheer showing of stupidity. Like I said, it’s fine and everything, but it is very stupid and one mustn’t forget about that fact when watching this movie. Or else, you may get a bit lost in your own self-seriousness. Don’t be ashamed though, because it happens to all of us.

"No need to call my agent. He already knows I'm doing this crap."

“No need to call my agent. He already knows I’m involved with this crap.”

The main reason being is that a lot of it is very, VERY patriotic. As much as Americans love to show how snobby other countries are with their ways of running themselves, and whatever it is that they hold sacred; trust me, we are just as worse, if not worse. And one of the main ways we get our patriotism out there for the rest of the world to see and (hopefully) latch onto is movies, and this is just the clear-cut example of that. Plenty of moments here feel like everybody involved was just ready to chant, “USA! USA! USA!”, after somebody said something considered “cool” or “tough” that had to be associated with the country they hail from. I mean, I’m an American, I love my country, and I’ll stand by it any day of the week, but this movie does push it a little too far, to where I feel like if I was out of the United States of America; I’d be very bothered. I was bothered, but that’s just because I’m an American and I’m stupid, right?

Anyway, so the movie. What works about this movie, despite it’s over-the-top, stars-and-stripes approach, is that it’s always a boat-load of fun. See, as the summer continues to roll on and die down, day by day, I start to see less and less of these big, loud, and unapologetic stupid blockbusters that aren’t made for our minds to be used, and more for our eyes. It’s very hard to come by a very solid blockbuster that doesn’t totally blow out the fun, or doesn’t totally blow out your brain-cells by the end of it’s run-time, and I felt like this flick found a nice breathing ground between both of those factors. Yup, it was very dumb to where I questioned what 2 + 2 equaled a couple of times; and yup, there were many moments where I felt like I didn’t know what was going to happen next, even though I knew exactly what was going to happen, and why. I’m a movie critic. I watch a lot of movies. So what can I say, eh?

Basically, where I’m getting at with all of this gibber jabber is that this movie, no matter what type of folk you are, whether you like your movies loud, big, action-packed, and implausible, or small, subtle, thought-provoking, emotional, and mentally-challenging; you’re going to have fun with this flick. Most people already have and even though I’m not to say “Go out there and follow the rest of the herd”, I do have to say that it does seem pretty obvious why people like this movie so much, and why it has a 79% on Rotten Tomatoes, 16 years after it’s original release date. That goes to show you the type of movie this was meant to be: Big, dumb, and fun. That’s what’s worth seeing here, even if you can’t believe a lick of this plot. And if you don’t, I don’t blame you, because apparently Slingin’ Dick Billy didn’t either, and he still liked it!

"FOR MUTHA RUSSIA!!"

“FOR MUTHA RUSSIA!!”

As for the real reason why this movie did so well commercially and critically, well, let’s just say it’s because the President of the United States of America in this movie was portrayed by non other than Harrison Ford himself. Yes, as hard as it may be to fully take in Han Solo as the guy who would make most of the judgment calls behind the big desk, in the White House, Ford still uses that charm and general ruggedness to his act that works very well and has us believe in him. Not just as the President, but also as a bit of a bad-ass that would be able to chew bubblegum and kick ass, while also telling people to get off of his plane. Its obvious that around this time Ford was beginning to show his age and it was going to eventually catch up on him, but for the mean time, watching this movie; his older-age practically just leaves your mind and allows you to just soak up all of the ass-beating and whoop-downs that he commits to these terrorist scum-bags.

Speaking of those said “terrorist scum-bags”, the leader of the crew is non other than everybody’s most lovable villainous actor: Gary Oldman. And yes, Gary Oldman does plenty of the Gary Oldman tricks of the trade that we expect to see him pull off by now, especially with as much enthusiasm as he shows here. The character that Oldman plays is rather weak, because he’s one of those leaders of a terrorist group that has a plan so stacked into his head, yet, still can’t help but let his violent tendencies gain control over his mind and plausible-thinking, but Oldman’s too great of an actor to let that phase him in the least bit. Oldman chews up, spits out, and swallows back in the scenery, and seems to be having a ball while doing so. Therefore, we have a ball just watching him, even if we would have appreciated more screen-time between him and Ford. Oh well, I guess that’s why we have Paranoia coming out this Friday, right? Trust me, just as least excited to see it as you are.

Consensus: Implausible and idiotic to a fault, Air Force One definitely doesn’t have the highest IQ of all the other action-thrillers out there, but still has plenty of fun with itself, and allows Ford and Oldman to work their magic and do what they do best: Act their assess off.

7 / 10 = Rental!!

A woman in control?!?!? This has gotta be a movie!

A woman in control?!?!? This has gotta be a movie!

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31 responses to “Air Force One (1997)

  1. mikeyb185 August 15, 2013 at 6:38 am

    It’s worth it just for Oldman’s performance but it’s a poor man’s Executive Decision! Which was a poor man’s Passenger 57!

  2. Three Rows Back August 15, 2013 at 7:06 am

    Another day, another classic! Great review.

  3. dombrown13 August 15, 2013 at 8:37 am

    One of the best in the genre of ass kicking presidents who beat up people on planes movies. Great review dan!

  4. Satua August 15, 2013 at 11:36 am

    It’s not THAT patriotic or even if it is, it’s not borhering. At least to me. I agree with you, to me this is the one of those guilty pleasures, very entertaining but highly stupid movie (Con Air is propaply my number one favourite).

  5. will August 15, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    “Get off my plane!” It’s interesting that despite its pro-America themes, it still made $140 million in the foreign market. I guess that’s the power of Han Solo.

  6. Wendell August 15, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Fun review of a fun movie. Only exception I take is that at the time, Harrison Ford was absolutely the best choice to play an ass-kicking POTUS. By this time, his Han Solo days were long behind him. He was at least as beloved, if not more, as Indiana Jones and The Fugitive and had played Jack Ryan in few movies.

  7. keith7198 August 15, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Been meaning to rewatch this for a while now! Good review bro.

  8. 55theintimidator55 August 15, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    Why do you say this movie is “dumb, stupid, and idiotic”? Yes, this would never happen in real life, and yes the Secret Service is way better trained than portrayed in the movie, and yes it’s a lot harder to take over Air Force One, but I don’t think that makes the movie stupid. The character development is there and Oldman and Ford have one of their greatest performances together in this film. I just don’t fully understand where you’re coming from.

  9. Whit's Movie Reviews August 15, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    I agree that this movie was a bit over-the-top but I sure thought it was enjoyable as hell. One of Ford’s better flicks considering he’s doing stuff now like the Crystal Skull and Expendables 3. Solid review dude.

  10. sundaydumbday August 15, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    Gary Olman is definitely the man in Air Force One. I agree with mikeyb185. For a Harrison Ford movie it isn’t bad. Great Review!

  11. Tom August 16, 2013 at 12:15 am

    Great review man, what a classic. It’s been long enough since I’ve seen this where I forgot Gary Oldman was the lead villain!!! wow. haha and one thing i am wondering, were you just being sarcastic about not being able to wait for Paranoia tonight? I just looked up on RT and it’s got a stinking 8% !!!! I actually thought that looked good, with Oldman again being an evil a-hole. oh well.

  12. Rob B. August 16, 2013 at 10:27 am

    A “classic” movie from Ford’s grimace phase. Oldman is always entertaining and I found the rest of the movie entertaining as a comedy with the implausible and somewhat generic story and action…all topped off with the most laughable plane crash in movie history. Good review Dan.

  13. sohansurag August 17, 2013 at 5:04 am

    I have sweet memories of enjoying this movie.
    Reading this makes me wanna see it once more now :D Good Read!
    Gary Oldman was bloody intimidating in this!

  14. MojosWork August 19, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    I remember seeing this in my 1st theatre-hopping experience ever. It was George of the Jungle, Spawn and Air Force One. Always thought the juxtaposition of those shitty movies next to this made AF1 look better, but yeah, this just a good flick to watch with your brain on autopilot.

  15. Pingback: » Movie Review – Das Boot (1997 Directors Cut) Fernby Films

  16. Pingback: » Movie Review – Air Force One Fernby Films

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