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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Action Movie: Air Force One

Watching this movie in a hall is an incredible pleasure. With some great air action and excellent effects (audio and visual), you get an incredible feeling. In addition, I am somewhat of a Tom Clancy fan, and even this movie is not based on anything that Tom Clancy has written, it feels very similar to something that Clancy would have written. And Harrison Ford suited the character to a large degree. Movie was released in 1997, and also had some good parts by Gary Oldman and Glenn Close.
Movie is very simple, although the plot is a bit long, with individual parts being excellently depicted. It starts with a joint operation by US and Russian special operations troops to capture the dictator leader of Kazakhstan, General Ivan Radek. 3 weeks later, while visiting Russia, the President gives a resounding speech proclaiming that the US will pursue terrorists wherever they be. His own advisors were somewhat apprehensive about this speech.
In a plan, terrorists trying to free Radek kill some Russian journalists and take their place in the President's plane, Air Force One (hence the title of the movie). (Note: It would not be so easy for people to enter the President's plane). Once on board, they get weapons meant for the secret service and use these to take over the plane in a short gun-battle.
Their main objective is to get the President, but they see him escaping in his special pod. However, he has not escaped, but like the former soldier and Presidential Medal of Honour winner that he is, he has elected to stay on board. There is a thrilling episode when the pilots attempt to land at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, but the terrorists manage to get into the cockpit and take off again.
In the meantime, the terrorists are threatening the hostages on the plane, and have already started executing them one by one. In this duration, the President fights a battle inside the plane, manages to get most of the people off the plane, but is then caught. When faced with the execution of his family, he asks the Russian president to release Radek. There is a nice sequence when Radek is being released and the way he is walking out of the prison, and this is being watched by the Russian President for whom this is a disaster.
In a fight-back, Ford manages to over-power the terrorists, and in the nick of time convey this to the Russian President. Radek is killed at the gate of the prison, and this would seem like a happy ending. However, they are very close to an air base where the commander of the base is Radek's man, and he sends his Mig's to get Air Force One. American fighters are mobilised from a Turkish airbase, and arrive just in the nick of time, not enough to prevent some damage to Air Force One, but enough to drive away these rebels (with one American plane sacrificing himself in front of a missile).
The last episode of the movie now happens. There is a C-130 Hercules nearby and that is sent to get the people abroad Air Force One through a mid-air transfer. Air Force One is losing height and speed and time is of the essence. After a final fight with the Secret Service traitor, Ford just manages to make it in the nick of time.
Overall, this was a nice movie. Nice effects, not very complicated story line, enough to make admirers of action movies feel nice.

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