Combustible Celluloid
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With: Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, Glenn Close, Wendy Crewson, Liesel Matthews, Paul Guilfoyle, Xander Berkeley, William H. Macy, Dean Stockwell, Tom Everett, Jurgen Prochnow, Donna Bullock, Michael Ray Miller, Carl Weintraub, Elester Latham
Written by: Philip Baker Hall
Directed by: Wolfgang Petersen
MPAA Rating: R for violence
Running Time: 124
Date: 07/21/1997

Air Force One (1997)

3 Stars (out of 4)

A Wing and a Prayer

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Harrison Ford stars as U.S. President James Marshall in Air Force One, one of his best and most exhilarating post-Indiana Jones movies. After arresting a brutal dictator, Marshall gives a speech in which he announces a zero-tolerance polity toward terrorism. On his way home from Moscow, terrorists take over the presidential plane, threatening to execute the hostages unless the dictator is released. Fortunately, the president, a badass with military training, gets loose and is able to sneak around the plane, picking off the bad guys and hoping to save his wife and daughter.

Wolfgang Petersen -- an Oscar nominee for his submarine movie Das Boot -- directs, bringing a wonderful tension as well as a general lack of seriousness. As with his great In the Line of Fire he casts a great thespian -- in this case, Gary Oldman -- in the role of the bad guy opposite the movie star, giving the movie some weight and an interesting balance. Glenn Close plays the vice president.

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