LowComDom Performances Presents
Film Review - Air Force One
In many ways, the American people wish they had a royal family. It's why we follow the Windsors and their silly little soap opera. What we do have is the first family which changes either every four or eight years. The trouble with presidents is they are political. But the presidency is an idea that transcends the officeholder. The President of the United States is the United States. He is what is good and bad about us. He is the very symbol of the nation, more so than even the bald eagle.
Air Force One isn't about an airplane, it's about a president ... a man who decided on a difficult national policy and now must live with that policy. It's about a man of honor who won't duck out in his escape pod when people who work for him are in danger. It's about a father who won't let anything happen to his family.
Harrison Ford plays this president. (Kind of ironic, since another character he has played (Jack Ryan) eventually becomes president. I wonder if he'll ever play Ryan as the president.) Ford is probably the second-best actor in Hollywood today (the best being Dustin Hoffman). Ford is not Jack Ryan, or Indiana Jones or Tom O'Meara. Ford is President James Marshall; he one of the few actors who can get lost in the character every time and be different.
Marshall has just set a new policy. He has also just been responsible for a raid on a terrorist general's palace. He has many enemies. Those enemies hijack Air Force One.
Now we have to take a great leap of faith with Air Force One. There are many parts to this film that just don't make sense. First, there is just one place where the president is ever alone (that's the toilet in the White House, and there's still a peephole that lets the Secret Service keep an eye on him). The next leap of faith is the idea that the Secret Service is as stupid as they are depicted in this film. Anyone who has ever been to the White House knows they are not.
Finally, this airplane is pure science fiction. You can't shoot guns in the real Air Force One and expect not to depressurize the cabin. Missiles are not attracted to its tail cone rather than the really hot engines. And there is no escape pod.
But what we have here is 124 minutes of high tension fistfight after fist fight. Mixed into this is the majesty of the presidency, in the same flavor as The American President. If people have been telling you to cut back on your coffee, maybe you shouldn't see this. This is very tense. It's a fun film, but take your Prozac on the way in.
Directed by Wolfgang Petersen
Released in 1997
MPAA Rating: R
Reviewed by Mongo