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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday, August 21, 2014 - Edition No 911 
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AIR FORCE ONE

SYNOPSIS:
Terrorists hijack Air Force One and the President must stop them and save his wife and daughter who are also on board. A U.S. led commando raid in Kazakhstan captures a renegade Russian leader, General Radek (Jurgen Prochnow), and James Marshall (Harrison Ford), the President of the U.S., declares that the U.S. will no longer tolerate nor negotiate with any terrorist group. No sooner does he make that statement then a group of Radek supporters, led by Ivan Korshunov (Gary Oldman) and assisted by secret service agent Gibbs (Xander Berkeley), hijack Air Force One. Their demands are that Radek be released from prison or else they'll execute a prisoner every half hour. What they didn't count on is that Marshall didn't leave the plane in the jettisoned escape pod, but instead remained on board. Back in Washington, Vice President Kathryn Bennett (Glenn Close) must decide whether to deal with Korshunov's demands while thwarting Secretary of Defence Walter Dean's (Dean Stockwell) attempts at usurping executive power. As Marshall makes his way through the plane taking out the terrorists, he must deal with saving the lives of his wife Grace (Wendy Crewson), twelve- year-old daughter Alice (Liesel Matthews), other White House workers, and with the damaged executive plane that's heading for a crash.

"You may well enjoy an extended adrenalin attack watching this action packed and tension topped Hollywood-at-its-best entertainment, with Jerry Goldsmith composing suitable trumpets rampant and timpani-toting orchestrations. Ford’s the right guy to give this action hero President the depth for credibility, his morals and his jumbo-flying abilities all being well flagged as plausible. Petersen’s direction and his team’s stunt, effects and design work are outstanding; as is depth of casting. We suggest you ask for a discount on your ticket, ‘cause you won’t be using all your seat, sitting on the edge. However, there may be a touch too much patriotic Americanism in a couple of scenes for blokes and sheilas, but the jingoism is, by jingo, what this film is really about: a ‘YOU WISH!’ President of the US with morals that stand upright; with the guts to put human rights and peace before political opportunism; with family values that sparkle (and a likeable, under-cute, pre-pubescent 12 year old); with a sense of humour; with the ability to land a punch; with the ability to think on his feet in a crisis - by golly, this film will sell the Presidency for the Australian Republic Movement single handed. AND with the US model as model of choice. I mean, can you imagine Prime Minister John Howard in Harrison Ford mode? You need an action man – a President. And another thing: he has a female Vice President (Glenn Close). No contest."
Andrew L. Urban

"Air Force One is one of those star-powered action thrillers that Hollywood does so well. Harrison Ford is in top form as the super-hero President who is idealistic, patriotic and above all, human. I agree with Andrew: this is the President we all WISH we had. Ford is charismatic and every bit the mega-star who drives this exciting ride in the clouds. There is even a small reminder of Star Wars, as we see Ford in the cockpit of the jumbo jet, accomplishing the impossible. Wolfgang Peterson has made a riveting film that is all-involving from the start. The anticipation and build up of tension is masterful and greatly aided by Jerry Goldsmith’s magnificent soundtrack which combines influences of military precision together with soaring artistry. Music and sound together squeeze the excitement from the action sequences, which are as well paced as the script. While there is no question that Ford carries the film, he is supported by a stellar cast. Glenn Close is solid as the Vice President, delivering a calm, controlled performance hinting at hidden turbulence; Gary Oldman is convincing as the baddie of the piece. So what if it’s a bit far-fetched? The outcome is never in any doubt, but it’s great to jump aboard for the exciting ride and enjoy a couple of hours of top entertainment with Hollywood’s most charismatic star."
Louise Keller

"Harrison Ford is the perfect US President, the very antithesis of Bill Clinton, after all, this bloke fought in Vietnam, knows how to handle himself, and if anyone can get out of a pickle, Harrison is your man. Air Force One is rah, rah jingoism at its best, but putting that aside, it's also a nifty thriller that keeps viewers well and truly glued to the screen. This is the kind of film that director Wolfgang Peterson knows how to create with masterful precision. His films deal with authority figures under pressure, and some, in confined spaces. While this film lacks the wit or intelligence of In the Line of Fire, Peterson has taken a routine star vehicle and still managed to give it added depth and clarity. Ford is the perfect embodiment of American heroism, and he creates another interesting character, only to be matched by Gary Oldman as the villainous Russian who relishes this kind of scenery-chewing part and gobbles it for all it's worth. This is a well-staged, cat and mouse thriller, no profundities but classic good guy/bad guy entertainment. Peterson keeps his action moving briskly to the film's inevitable conclusion. Apart from one silly sequence towards the end, and some undue nationalistic speeches, Air Force One is a good yarn, a piece of Hollywood entertainment which truly soars."
Paul Fischer



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AIR FORCE ONE (M)
(US)

 

CAST: Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, Glenn Close, Wendy Crewson, Paul Guilfoyle, William H. Macy, Liesel Matthews, Dean Stockwell, Xander Berkeley, Bill Smitrovich, Elaya Baskin David Vadim, Tom Everett, Splencer Garrett, Philip Baker Hall, Donna Bullock, David Gianopolous, Don R. McManus, Glenn Morshower, Jurgen Prochnow

DIRECTOR: Wolfgang Petersen

PRODUCERS: Wolfgang Petersen, Gail Katz, Armyan Bernstein, Jon Shestack

SCRIPT: Andrew W. Marlowe

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Michael Ballhaus

EDITOR: Richard Francis-Bruce

MUSIC: Jerry Goldsmith, additional music by Joel McNeely

PRODUCTION DESIGN: William Sandell

RUNNING TIME: 124 minutes

 

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 20, 1997

Video Release: March 3, 1999
Video Distributor: Buena Vista







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