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Review Air Force One (1997): Die Hard on a plane!

genre: die hard clones, action, adventure, thriller

Air Force One is considered one of the better Die Hard Clones. It features Harrison Ford in the John McClane role except he is arguably one of the most powerful men in the world, namely the President of the United States.

If that sounds ridiculous then yes you are right. It's incredulous to the maximum. But it could have been one of the elements that make it fun. And for the most part it is. In large part due to Ford. However there are too many elements that detract from the viewing experience. First of all it was far too easy for random people to get on board of Air Force One. Wouldn't Secret Service agents constantly keep an eye on them? Then there is the fact that these agents get overpowered so quickly even if they were surprised. Aren't they trained for every contingency? Then there is the fact that on both sides none of them can shoot straight. This bothered me a lot especially in the scenes after Ford had been able to take out some terrorists. There were many ways for the terrorists to have dealt with Ford and yet apart from the typical we will shoot the hostages if you don't comply routine nothing imaginative is done. Ford's character basically can do anything without very little to no problems. In the original Die Hard, McClane had to do everything on his own resulting in him getting severely hurt and wounded. Every encounter was dangerous. Sure it takes Ford's character a long time to disable a goon but you know he will win at one point. It's not really exciting if the terrorists aren't really that threatening. 

Speaking of them. The leader of the terrorists played by Gary Oldman is pretty weak. Oldman always has a presence but he doesn't really do much. His role could have been played by anyone and it would not have mattered. This film would have been the perfect opportunity for Oldman to ham it up. To give us a villain who is unpredictable, dangerous or even sympathetic. Instead we get a cardboard villain like any other. 

But you know what I could have overlooked these flaws had the action been more spectacular. And I am not talking about bigger. Perhaps crazier or more tense and thrilling. What if the goons were more competent and were incredibly hard to defeat? Then at least Ford had to be smarter to take them out. Or plain cold blooded and ruthless. It would have added an edge and definitely more excitement. As it is now it's just barely passable. Director Wolfgang Peterson of all people should have been able to make this happen. He is a master of making events more tense with very little. 

Overall if you never have watched Air Force One you will definitely have a good time while it lasts. But for multiple viewings this is awful. And that is because it's too predictable, unimaginative and incredulous!

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