If you watch Wolfgang Petersen's 1993 film 'In the Line of Fire'
starring Clint Eastwood as a veteran Secret Service agent you will see in the
closing credits that the film crew actually had support from the authentic
United States Secret Service in making that film. I want to say from the
start that Wolfgang Petersen's latest film 'Air Force One' is a decent one
and while it isn't a let down, it certainly wasn't as good as some of the
advance reviews I read and the hype that was built up around it.
Having said that, 'Air Force One' looks to be in contradiction with 'In
the Line of Fire' in the sense that the breakdown of security is a suspicious
one in dealing with the preservation and safety of the world's most powerful
man, the President of the United States. Certainly it is possible for the
President of any country to fall victim to the violent actions of one or many
predators but you won't believe the ease with which the President's life is
put in danger in this film.
Harrison Ford plays the President with integrity and credibility and his
plane, Air Force One, is hijacked by a Russian terrorist squad whose leader
(Gary Oldman) is a vengeful squirt who blames the U.S. for the decaying moral
fibre in the now capitalist Russia as well as what he feels are many of the
other unjust situations around the world. The President's staff and his
family are in constant danger as well and the entire situation is monitored
back at the White House by the Vice President (Glenn Close) and a staff of
military brass, bureaucrats and other observers.
I wanted to see Harrison Ford battle the terrorists with his brain
rather than with his muscle (and a few automatic weapons to be sure) and the
cliches the film shows are somewhat tiresome and not very exciting. Some how
when you see a film like this you know the outcome before the first half hour
is up and 'Air Force One' overall lacks freshness in its presentation.
With all that in mind, it is a decent way to spend two hours in a movie
theatre as long as your expectations aren't too high and I can't think of too
many other actors in their mid 50's (Ford is 55) that could pull off the role
of a President with the physical prowess that Ford has since his character is
also a combat veteran and medal of honor winner. Everyone else in the cast
is good and you'll probably like 'Air Force One' better when it's been over
for five minutes in comparison to thinking about it an hour later.
Copyright © 1997 Walter Frith