Time: 124 mins.
Academy Award nominations for Best Film Editing and Best Sound.
There's no denying Harrison Ford's ability to open a movie. Since STAR WARS, he has a whole legion of fans willing to pay good money to see him on the big screen, regardless of whether or not the flick is good. He's certainly not the greatest actor on the block, but he has one of the best track records for picking entertaining material in the modern film world. AIR FORCE ONE is no exception. It's not at all realistic, struggling at times to retain any sense of believability, has plot holes the size of the Grand Canyon and an ending that you have to see to believe. And yet, it was still able to create enough suspense to keep me gripping the edge of my seat. All due to the acting of both Ford and the always interesting Gary Oldman.
The initial take-over of AirForce One by Russian terrorists is frightening and intense. Every flyers worst nightmare. Smoke, gunfire, blood and death are not things you want to see at 30,000 feet. The film then retreats into "Die Hard in the Sky" during the middle section when Ford takes out the bad guys one by one from the storage space below the passenger cabins. "Who's down there? Did the President really leave in the escape pod or could he still be on the plane?" The suspense was just gripping. Not. I would also like to get my hands on the cell phone he had. I wasn't aware they made any that could place a call halfway round the world and with such clear reception. Of course, maybe they're only available to world leaders. There are many inconsistencies at this point in the film, that had me going, "Huh?", but once Ford finally comes face to face with Oldman all critical judgment gets pushed aside.
It's great to see one of cinema's consistently crazy actors going mano-e-mano with one of Hollywood's greatest crusaders. Their scenes together are fabulous with neither man giving an inch to the other. No one does righteous and pissed better than Ford. He's such an honest presence you'll wish he really was running the country. Oldman is the ultimate intelligent, psychotic. A dormant volcano about to blow. A chainsaw would be required to cut the tension between them. The plot takes a little too long to get to this point, but their struggle for supremacy is worth the wait. The supporting cast is just too large to enable anyone to really shine, though Glenn Close, as the Vice President, and Wendy Crewson, as the First Lady, make the most of their screen time. Close shows women in power can show compassion without sacrificing their strength.