Exploitation Retrospect | The Journal of Junk Culture and Fringe Media
Air Force One (1999)
Review by Dan Taylor

Harrison Ford is The President in Air Force One!Let's see. Our current President (or, should I say, Resident?) is the under-achieving son of a former Prez. He also swore up and down that he'd never apologize to China in order to get our hostages, er, servicemen and women, released. Instead, he just apologized twice. Now that's what I call takin' a strong stand!

It made me wish that Reagan was still in office, but then I realized that Reagan's about 108 years-old at this point, so maybe he wouldn't be the best choice. Actually, the guy we really want to be Prez is Harrison Ford, or at least the guy he plays in this flick from Wolfgang Peterson.

Not only does this President take a strong hand against terrorists with his rhetoric, but he isn't above bustin' a few chops, cappin' a few knees, and gettin' his hands dirty when it comes to the filthy Commie skum. Oh yeah, and he's got a female Vice President! What is this, science fiction?!!!

AIR FORCE ONE is like one of those Tom Clancy novels gone haywire. Fitting since Ford played the Jack Ryan role in the dreadful PATRIOT GAMES and even worse CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER before getting replaced by Ben Affleck (ouch!). This time out though he's got some silly Western name, like James Marshall or something like that. The kinda name Gary Cooper would always get saddled with. (No pun intended.)

After a rousing Bond-styled opening in which poor Jurgen Prochnow (bad skin and always a villain!) gets nabbed by good Commies who've teamed up with us Yanks, The Prez drops the bomb at a state dinner in Russia that we'll never deal with terrorists. Well, maybe he'll want to reconsider that after they just let Gary Oldman -- in full method Commie mode -- waltz onto the plane with his "news crew." Guys, I wouldn't let Gary Oldman in my house let alone on my plane, so I guess you get what you deserve.

As always, Gary's up to no good. (But, unlike Jurgen Prochnow, he appears to have fairly decent skin despite his years of hard living.) Gary and friends take over the plane, demanding that Jurgen Prochnow be released in order to lead his dissident troops and maybe get some Retin-A. Unfortunately for Gary and Co., they didn't count on there being a "can do," "take charge" kind of President on board. Instead of pulling a Clinton and totally bailing on his staff and family, Ford blows the escape pod to make them think he's a big sissy and then spends the rest of the flick getting into one hairy scrape after another.

Yep, it's DIE HARD ON THE PRESIDENT'S PLANE.

AIR FORCE ONE might not be so hard to take if they hadn't just kept pushing and pushing and pushing. Gang, you know me, I'm willing to buy just about anything up to a point. But AFO reaches a point where even I was threatening to toss a full soda at the screen!

And, could somebody tell me why the Secret Service guy is in on it, and why he just doesn't keep his mouth shut and gun holstered once the rest of his terrorist buddies are dead?


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