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Air Force One

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US, 1977, 130 minutes, Colour.
Harrison Ford, Glenn Close, Gary Oldman, Dean Stockwell, J.T.Walsh, Wendy Crewson, Xander Berkely.
Directed by Wolfgang Peterson.

In the past, this might have been another episode in the Airport series but with political overtones. However, we are in a 90s disaster movie phase as well as a phase of seeking new villains for American action movies. Renegade Soviets are among the top contenders - as they are here. That said (and the fact that this is very American in patriotism and sentiment), it all works rather well and excitingly. Had it ended with the defeat of the terrorists, it might have had more impact because it does go on with the heroics in getting the President's plane out of the air.

Harrison Ford is intense and heroically resourceful as he President and Gary Oldman is yet another snarling villain (he does it so well). Glenn Close is the vice-president. Action, effects and tension are the main thing plus some moralising over policy concerning negotiating with terrorists. Action, politics and effects.

1. The immense popularity of the film in the mid-'90s? For the United States? Worldwide? The focus on political issues, policy issues, the end of the Cold War and collaboration with Russia? Rogue terrorists? Family focus? The tradition of the disaster movie?

2. The credibility of the plot, the action, the characters? The credibility of the technology on Air Force 1 and the techniques used for communication and rescue?

3. The plane itself, its interiors, vastness? The White House? The outside action, action in the air, the crash? The atmospheric musical score?

4. The title, the focus on the plane, the President of the United States? Harrison Ford and the aura of the President - and integrity and heroism?

5. The prologue and the activity in the Republic? The parachutists, the capture of the rogue general, American and Russian relationships and collaboration? Anti-terrorism? The transition to Moscow, the celebration and its lavishness, the tribute to the American President? His speech, his declaration of policy on non-negotiation with terrorists? The prologue for his own stance on negotiation and terrorism?

6. The set-up for the disaster: the group of journalists and their infiltrating the plane, the head of the Secret Service as a traitor? The brutality of their outburst, the violence of the shooting and deaths? Their cause, conservative communism, ideology? The leader and his embodying this ideology?

7. The portrait of the American President, Harrison Ford as President? The focus on policy, strong stances, his collaboration with his advisers - and yet dictating policy to them? His relationship with his family? On board, their replay of the game, the set-up for the attack?

8. The group and the takeover of the plane, the ruthlessness, the getting of the guns, the passengers and the staff and their fears, the hustling of the President away, going into the pod (and the suspense with its landing, the tracking devices, the finding of it empty)? The staff as hostages? Being terrorised, the executions? The First Lady and her daughter being taken into the central control room?

10. The White House and the response? Glenn Close as the Vice President, the woman Vice President, the collaboration with and the clashes with the Secretary of Defence? Power games? The generals and their advice? The control room, listening to the phone from the plane, the demands, the elaboration of strategies? The human concern and the uncertainty about the President? Protocols and orders? The President phoning and giving directives - especially for the missile to hit the plane? The phoning of the Russian President? His refusal? Playing for time? The President and the phone, the fax? The technique for refuelling the plane - and letting the hostages off by parachute? The constitutional question and the documentation, the signatures - and the Vice- President not signing? The reaction to the deaths? The final achievement? Glenn Close and her dramatising the Vice-President?

11. The Russians, their refusal to negotiate, the phone calls with the Vice- President, the President's phone calls, the capitulation, the exercise of releasing the general from prison, the reaction of the prisoners, his triumphant walk out, his almost being at the helicopter, the change of plan, his being shot, the Russian bureaucrats rejoicing?

12. The President and his skills, locked in the bottom of the plane, evading capture, confronting the men, releasing the fuel, finding the phone, giving the orders, the missile attacking the plane - but evading it? The escort and their attack? The fights, the hostages, his allowing himself to be taken?

13. The hostages and their fear, the national adviser and his death? The protocol adviser and her being taken into the centre, her being executed in front of the First Lady and her daughter?

14. Gary Oldman as villain? His henchmen, getting themselves on the plane, their cover? The attack, the violence, the shooting? Weapons? Killing of the pilots? The cause, past glories of Communism? The phone calls to the White House, the dialogue? Shooting the hostages? The confrontation with America? With the Russian President? The pilots and the attempt to land the plane, almost on the ground, the henchmen getting the plane up in the air again? The escorts, the missile? The issue of refuelling and his control? Confronting the President, the clash of ideologies, the accusations of killings and massacres? His treatment of the First Lady and her daughter? The anger at the President's hiding and being destructive? The final issues, control? Going down to the parachute hold, the final fight, melodramatic? The parachute and his being ordered off the President's plane? His death? The henchmen, their control, their deaths?

15. The fax, its effectiveness, the officer and her being able to send a message? The getting of the hostages out of the room, parachutes? The discovery of the open hold the people falling off the plane, the President hanging on and being rescued? The role of the traitor, letting the people on the plane, his having to go along with the parachuting?

16. The President and his decision to stay, negotiations? The control by the villain? The negotiations with the Russian President, the General and his being released? The villain and his thinking that the mission had been a success? With his death, the reverse phone call, the death of the rogue General, the rejoicing in Moscow?

17. The rescue link, the First Lady and her daughter? The plane and its control? The aide and his death? The confrontation with the traitor? The President and his final going across the link? The crash of the plane?

18. Issues of policy and negotiation with terrorists? Strong stances? Humane exceptions? Tough American stances, patriotism? The patriotic issues blended with the touches of American sentiment and cuteness? An effective combination for popular entertainment?

Created by: coffey last modification: Tuesday 16 of March, 2010 [23:31:42 UTC] by malone

Language: en