Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Guest Review: Air Force One (1997) vs. Executive Decision (1996)

By ScottDS. The success of Die Hard spawned a new genre: “Die Hard on a [blank]” with [blank] representing everything from a bus to a hockey arena. It was inevitable we would see “Die Hard on a plane” and two of the best examples are 1996’s Executive Decision and 1997’s Air Force One. However, while Air Force One is the more successful of the two, I believe Executive Decision is the leaner, more efficient film. Neither film is a work of art, however one is oblivious to its stupidity while the other is almost aware of it.

In Air Force One, Harrison Ford is President James Marshall, veteran Vietnam helicopter pilot and Medal of Honor recipient. We open with the capturing of Ivan Radek, a terrorist dictator in Kazakhstan. Three weeks later, Marshall delivers a speech at a Moscow state dinner. He reminds the guests that the U.S. will not sit idly by while atrocities occur halfway around the world. Meanwhile, a group of Radek loyalists posing as a Russian news crew is allowed to board Air Force One. Their leader is Egor Korshunov (Gary Oldman, a tad over the top).

Assisted by a traitorous Secret Service agent, Korsh and his men hijack the plane. Marshall is rushed to the escape pod (an ingenious, albeit fictional idea) while Korsh kills the pilots and sets a course for Kazakhstan. He calls VP Kathryn Bennett (Glenn Close) and demands Radek’s release from prison. Marshall, hiding in the avionics bay, calls the White House. Korsh has taken First Lady Grace and First Daughter Alice up to the cockpit area. Several hostages parachute to safety during refueling but one of Korsh’s men causes the parachute bay to depressurize. Korsh takes Marshall hostage and demands Radek’s release. Marshall acquiesces but eventually breaks free and kills Korsh while Radek is killed outside the prison. Marshall takes control of the plane but it's badly damaged during a firefight. An Air Force Pararescue plane evacuates the remaining passengers. The Secret Service agent reveals himself but Marshall escapes and the agent goes down with the ship.

This is an exciting movie! Wolfgang Petersen directs from a script by first-time screenwriter (and future Castle creator) Andrew Marlowe. This might be Harrison Ford’s last great action movie and he’s right at home playing a tough-talking Commander in Chief. The supporting cast is populated by familiar character actors like Paul Guilfoyle and Philip Baker Hall, and they all do good work. This film is also a great opportunity to explore Air Force One itself, an aircraft to which most of us will never have access. Editing, sound, and cinematography are all first-rate – this was the pre-shaky-cam era. The visual effects are top-notch (with one exception) and Jerry Goldsmith’s music score is heavy on action and patriotism (my local critic labeled it “cheddary”).

On the other hand, I feel Glenn Close overacts as Bennett. The Secret Service agent’s motive is never explained. There’s a useless subplot where SecDef Walter Dean (Dean Stockwell, channeling Alexander Haig) insists he’s in charge, despite what the 25th Amendment says. William H. Macy is fine as Major Caldwell but he tells Marshall he doesn’t know how to fly a plane… except he has pilot wings on his uniform! The script is full of the usual clichés, including a wire-cutting scene and a cell phone losing reception, and some of the dialogue is cringe-inducing, especially the Situation Room material where the overacting doesn’t help. The CGI shots of Air Force One crashing into the Caspian Sea are some of the worst effects seen in a major motion picture!

Executive Decision features Kurt Russell as David Grant, a think tank nerd. We open with a team of Special Forces operatives led by LTC. Austin Travis (Steven Seagal) raiding a Chechen mafia safe house on the hunt for a stolen Soviet nerve gas, DZ-5… but it’s not there. Cut to: David Grant learning how to fly. I can’t help but admire this blatant setup. Grant is notified that El Sayed Jaffa (the late Andreas Katsulas), one of the world’s most notorious terrorist leaders, has been taken into U.S. custody. Some time later, Oceanic Airlines Flight 343 departs Athens on its way to Washington D.C. It’s hijacked by Jaffa’s deputy director, Nagi Hassan (David Suchet), and his men. The film never explains how their weapons are already stored aboard the plane.

Grant is summoned to the Pentagon where SecDef Charles White (Len Cariou) is running the show. (The president is never named; the VP isn’t mentioned at all.) They listen to a message from Hassan, who wants Jaffa released. Grant believes Hassan himself arranged for Jaffa’s capture and that Hassan has the DZ-5 aboard the plane and wishes to detonate it over D.C., but how will they prove it? Travis has them contact Dennis Cahill (Oliver Platt), an engineer who has developed an aircraft called the Remora, which will allow a team to transfer mid-air on board the hijacked airliner. Travis wants Grant to tag along, even though he's out of his element. They’re met at Andrews AFB by Cahill and Travis’ team: Louie (B.D. Wong), Baker (Whip Hubley), Rat (John Leguizamo), and Cappy (Joe Morton). Once docking begins, things get bumpy and Cappy is knocked unconscious. Grant climbs up the docking sleeve to help but the stress is too great. Travis sacrifices himself, closing the hatch as the sleeve is blown away. Hiding in the avionics bay, the team has no way of contacting D.C.

Louie discovers a bomb, with DZ-5 canisters and a barometric trigger. Bomb expert Cappy has been rendered immobile but Cahill assists in its dismantling. After Jaffa is released, Hassan kills his second-in-command after the man asks if they’ll be diverting the plane from its course now that their mission is complete. Grant determines that Hassan’s men can’t know about the bomb, but the bomb’s computer had run a diagnostic: there must be a separate trigger man on board. Rat and the men kill the lights and storm the cabin. The trigger man and all of the terrorists are killed but Hassan kills the pilot and co-pilot, so guess who has to land the plane? Rat kills Hassan and, with the assistance of flight attendant Jean (Halle Berry), Grant manages to land at Frederick Field.

I’ve always liked this movie and I believe it’s unfairly overlooked. First-time helmer Stuart Baird (an Oscar-nominated editor by trade) directs from a script by action vets Jim & John Thomas. Baird and his crew get the job done as efficiently as they can. It may sound backhanded but when it comes to the action genre, efficiency is a good thing. Like AF1, editing, sound, and cinematography are all first rate and we’re never confused. The actors mostly do a good job and we get a sense of the team’s camaraderie. Russell is his usual likable self and I like that the bookworm saves the day, not to mention the idea of all the heroes using their gifts: Grant, Cahill, Travis' team, and even the Air Marshal who gets the first shot at Hassan. The flying effects are excellent though the landing features some shoddy model work. Jerry Goldsmith is on autopilot, but that’s better than most composers on their best day!

Both films are a lot of fun and treat their subject matter seriously. However, while AF1 tries to ratchet up the tension with forced melodrama, ED has no time for such things. It’s nine minutes longer but it’s lean: there’s no traitor, no romantic subplot, no kids, no third act surprise. It’s inevitable that Harrison Ford would turn into, as one critic put it, “President Indiana Jones,” but again, I have to admire the scene in ED featuring Kurt Russell learning how to fly, as if the filmmakers are telling us, “Yeah, we know!” Neither script is Oscar-worthy but I would almost prefer no memorable dialogue to Ford’s hammy “Get off my plane!” (but it is satisfying!). The Pentagon scenes in ED are much better than the Situation Room scenes in AF1. Both films feature dependable character actors, but the ones in ED manage to exude the right amount of professionalism and grace under pressure; the ones in AF1, not so much.

While neither film is a masterpiece, ED comes across as slightly more authentic – perhaps because it’s aware of what it is – while AF1’s obliviousness causes it to come across as… almost too “cinematic” with plot developments that happen because we expect them to happen and characters spouting clichés: “Five more minutes!” “There’s no time!” I also find it interesting that one film is directed by a veteran director working with a first-time writer… while the other is directed by a first-time director (albeit a seasoned film professional) working with veteran writers. I guess this proves the old adage: if it ain’t on the page, it ain’t on the stage, even if the stage is a plane.

“These things almost land themselves, don’t they?”

59 comments:

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Thanks another excellent article. I shall return soon to comment. :)

rlaWTX said...

I prefer ED to AF1 now - when they are on TV, I'll stick around for ED and skip AF1 usually.

A funny cross-over: in the pilot of NCIS, Gibbs (Mark Harmon) uses AF1 to know something is up. [W is president.] (loved that show since the beginning...)

ScottDS said...

rlaWTX -

What's interesting is a friend of mine, who likes to make fun of me for enjoying ED so much, agrees with me, too. And AF1 has been on TV a lot lately, which gave me the idea for this article.

I've seen a handful of NCIS episodes but I'm not entirely clear what the gag is. Can you elaborate?

Doc Whoa said...

Scott, I like ED better as well. I always feels like a shark jumping moment when they include the president in films and Ford strikes me as too hammy to be the president. Plus, as you note, all the fluff.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I got a chance to watch both recently, which is good as I hadn't watched them in years. I agree entirely with your analysis.

AF1, while the bigger film, strikes me as less believable, more cluttered, and melodramatic. ED strikes me as more streamlined and more interesting.

I think it's fascinating seeing these two films side by side to see the similarities and the differences, especially with two films beigns o narrow in terms of what is possible within the film because there is only so much you can do on the airplane. It's almost like these are remakes of each other.

Now, all that said, I think both films ultimately think too small. Compare this film to Flightplan. I think Flightplan had a better, more tense story than either of these and I wonder if that isn't because Flightplan made a decision to focus on the characters more than the plane itself?

ScottDS said...

Doc -

Presidents don't bother me per se but I see what you mean. I only thought the dialogue was hammy; if the script had been given a polish, I don't think Ford's acting would've been a problem. Besides, he was less president and more "generic action hero."

ScottDS said...

Andrew -

I agree with your assessment of Flight Plan though I only saw the film once and I recall thinking of it as "Panic Room on a plane."

There's a bit in AF1 where one character asks how long till X happens and another character answers, "30 minutes." I swear three characters on screen all look at their watches at the same time - that's what you call overdoing it!

Oddly, in the ED trailer, there are a few melodramatic moments that aren't in the film: "You have your orders! Fire!" and so on. It's possible the filmmakers decided those moments weren't needed and I'm glad they chose wisely.

(And look at that trailer - you'd never see a trailer like that today.)

Speaking of planes, I was thinking the other day about all the things films can't do today, what with the TSA and post-9/11 fears. You can't just get up and walk around a plane anymore! You can't hide something in an airport locker - there aren't any lockers anymore. Little things like that.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott and Doc, With rare exceptions, I feel that using presidents is like blowing up a city -- it's the film version of the nuclear option: if your story isn't strong enough, just make the good/bad guy more important... and nothing is more important than the President.

In fact, a film I really lament is Absolute Power because it pushed thrillers to the nuclear level by having the president commit the crime. And once that genie was out of the bottle, all the other thrillers followed. Suddenly every single thrilled involved a corrupt president. Stupidity.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I am a huge believer in subtlety. If there's one thing I have learned from extensive reading and writing, it is that people respond so much better when they are forced to do a little work to "earn" the story. That's why hints are better than reveals, why subtle schemes which may or may not be real, and which even the characters refuse to believe at first are so much stronger than the blunt force so many films use to tell stories.

That's what Flightplan has going for it. You spend half the film not even sure if what is going on is real or if she's just imagining it. And then she has to convince people, which adds so much conflict. By comparison, in AF1 and ED the conflict is all action scenes with brief fake moments of betrayal added in.

It would be interesting to re-write AF1/ED as something more subtle and see what we could produce using more brains and less action.

Ed said...

Scott, Nice analysis. I enjoyed both movies enough when I saw them, but haven't rewatched them. I think the whole "Russian terrorist" feels like a cop out. And films which start with a cop out lose me.

rlaWTX said...

RE NCIS: the guy holding the "football" dies on Air Force 1 after being invited to eat BBQ with the Pres (W). Death is investigated as attack on Pres. President has been removed so plane isn't AF1 anymore, and Gibbs gets to look around it. He makes comments about what is different in the plane's design than in the movie AF1. He is told that it is a new model of plane. Because first one's a crime scene, president uses an older plane as AF1. Gibbs cages a ride on that one and realizes that the new updates would make an attack harder than on the old one. Figures out that the "football" holder was killed so they'd go back to old model. Thwarts attack by vetted member of press corps who is really a sleeper terrorist. YAY! The End.

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, A member of the press as a terrorist? Unthinkable! ;)

ScottDS said...

Andrew -

In the commentary for Armageddon, Michael Bay says he hates seeing presidents in movies and, as an example, cites the (then recent) film Contact in which Robert Zemeckis inserted Bill Clinton. Obviously, he wasn't a main character but I could see where his presence would take you out of the film (and the effects weren't great to begin with).

In Bay's case, he later ate his words and put W. in Transformers. :-)

I saw Absolute Power for the first time just last year. It was okay and I didn't have a problem with the president as a character, especially with Gene Hackman playing the role. I can see where having a president as a main character limits the story because there are only so many things a president is capable of.

ScottDS said...

Ed -

Yeah, I guess "Russian terrorists" are more PC than "Islamic terrorists" though I believe there is still good material there. And AF1 was made in the 90s when you could still do Islamic terrorist villains.

Andrew and I briefly discussed this once: basically, what good villains are left? Between Islamic terrorists, Russians, homegrown terrorists, North Koreans... what's next? I guess we haven't seen a good eco-terrorist film but I doubt we will anytime soon. :-)

ScottDS said...

rlaWTX -

Ah, I see. Thanks for clarifying. :-)

ScyFyterry said...

Scott, Nice comparison. I have to say, when they came out I actually confused the two. I saw the first one and then saw the ads for the second and I thought they had re-released it. So it took me a while to see AF1. I liked it better for the simple reason that I'm a huge fan of Han Solo. But in terms of sheer movie, ED is the more fun experience.

ScottDS said...

ScyFy -

Thanks. I, too, am a fan of Han Solo (and Indy) but at this point, Harrison Ford was simply playing "Harrison Ford" (I say that as a fan - some actors just get into that mode). I'd love to see him do a big action movie today without the words "Crystal" or "Skull" in the title. I know he's getting up there in years but I still buy it. :-)

Yeah, it's weird to have two hijacking movies in as many years but we've had two asteroid movies in the same year, along with two animated bug movies, two volcano movies, and just last summer, we had two movies about friends with benefits (one of which was titled Friends with Benefits).

For me, it's a little closer than I imply in the review but I agree that ED does a little better in the "fun" department.

ScyFyterry said...

Scott, That seems to happen a lot the more I think about it. I guess one studio gets wind of an idea and someone else decides to copy it/

I think ED is more fun.

ScottDS said...

Considering how many writers are out there, it's entirely possible that the same ideas come up now and then. As for the studios, it's always a horse race.

Oddly, I prefer Antz to A Bug's Life - the only time where I prefer Dreamworks' film to Pixar's. :-)

rlaWTX said...

RE NCIS:
Scott, I love the show, so no hardship on me...
Andrew, I believe he was a terrorist THEN a press member...
(W was played by an impersonator - pretty good one)

rlaWTX said...

And, speaking of multiples - I'm trying to decide if I'll see both Mirror, Mirror and Snow White. One has Julia Roberts and the other has Kristin Stewart (Twilight's Bella) [who they think is prettier than Charlize Theron - puh-leaze!]

ScottDS said...

rlaWTX -

I've seen a few episodes of NCIS. My mom likes the show - then again, it airs on CBS so I think everyone's mom likes it! :-D (I appreciate DiNozzo's movie references.)

Perfect example of what I was talking about with the Snow White movies. I'm not really interested in either... but I'm sure I'll rent them later.

rlaWTX said...

Scott, I think you just called me old... hmmm.

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, Kristin Stewart always looks constipated, angry and stoned. She's not a good looking person.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, My problem with Absolute Power isn't the film itself, which wasn't anything special. The problem is that thrillers (like action movies) have become about one-ups-manship. Once one thriller uses the president, then all thrillers must use the president or something bigger thereafter, the same way as when you blow up a city in a disaster flick, then every other disaster flick to come thereafter must blow up at least a city. It eventually leads you to the point that all thrillers become the same thing, just like all disaster films or all action films become the same thing.

ScottDS said...

rlaWTX -

I wasn't calling you old. :-) If anything, it was a joke at CBS' expense (or my mother's).

ScottDS said...

Yeah, the need to one up the last big film is a huge problem and I don't see it ending anytime soon. Sooner or later, they stop making that type of film and a decade goes by and then someone tries it again.

T-Rav said...

rla, I think us Twilight-haters should all be extremely grateful for the success of The Hunger Games. Because you just know that Jennifer Lawrence is going to snap up at least half the roles Stewart would have gotten.

ScottDS said...

T-Rav -

Miss Lawrence is also waaaay more attractive and talented than the aforementioned Miss Stewart.

I haven't seen any of the Twilight films and couldn't care less. I only saw Kristen Stewart in Panic Room where she played Jodie Foster's tomboyish daughter.

T-Rav said...

Scott, they're all bad. I have only seen the first one (though I shall watch the second one this weekend, with friends and RiffTrax attached), but I have no qualms whatsoever about making such a blanket statement.

Miss Lawrence was not at all on my radar until I watched HG, but I can say with certainty that all the good things being said about her and her acting are absolutely true. And then I read this last night and instantly got a crush on her.

ScottDS said...

Re: Jennifer Lawrence, I heartily recommend Winter's Bone which is available on Netflix Streaming. I watched it last year not knowing what to expect and I enjoyed it very much.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I think the one-upsmanship is the reason so many film stink today -- because they've decided all they really have to do is be "BIGGER" than the last one rather than better.

I would be happy to see Lawrence replace Stewart as the new go-to "young chick." Lawrence even sounds like a decent, grounded girl. Stewart, apparently, is the little troll she appears to be.

ScottDS said...

Andrew -

I think it's worse with comedies. At least in an action movie, I can enjoy a good car chase. It can still be good if they add vehicles and other things, as long as the basic laws of physics are followed (obviously, this doesn't always happen).

But with comedies, especially of the gross-out variety, it gets worse and worse. Someone puts a bodily fluid in their hair, then the next film features someone drinking it, and so on and so forth. I'm no prude but many times it's done as a crutch. It can be funny but few filmmakers know when to reign it in.

Speaking of Stewart :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Nice. Being described as "tired" is not a good thing.

It is worse in comedies, but again that's because Hollywood isn't doing anything original right now -- they are using a formula and simply trying to make each scene a little bigger than in the last film.

Hopefully, at some point the bubble will burst.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with everyone and say great write up and I always preferred ED over AF1. Though AF1 was great in places ED was a better and as someone else has said a more streamlined movie.

One of the things that I really liked about ED that no one has mentioned is that Stephen Segal was advertised as one of the 'stars' and they do the (at the time) unthinkable and kill him off in the first third of the movie. It was such a surprise and kept me guessing about what else they might do.

I'm also surprised that you didn't mention Passenger 57 staring Wesley Snipes which was made in 1992 which predates both movies by at least 4 years. It was made only a few years after Die Hard, the only reason I can think you didn't mention it was that you didn't see it, didn't like it or left it out as Wesley didn't spend enough time on the plane.

Scott.

Tennessee Jed said...

Scott - thanks for your review. Sorry to be so late to the party. I liked both films and agree. We are talking good popcorn action/thriller movies here, not Shakespeare. Having just watched the Blu-Ray of Tinker, Tailor, I'm going to give a totally subjective nod to Air Force One. Gary Oldman is the real deal, even if this one was melodrama. Harrison was made for these kind of movies.

As for Executive DEcision, knocking out Segal was borderline false advetising. Halle Berry is, well, Halle Berry.

ScottDS said...

Anon/Scott -

I did mention Passenger 57 originally but I had to cut a good half-page from the article before it was posted. I saw the film for the first time just last year and it was... okay. I still laugh at the big dramatic moment when Snipes tells the bad guy, "Always bet on black!" :-)

I also elaborated on Seagal's death in my earlier draft. Yeah, he was in the trailers and TV spots but I don't think the film was ever advertised as "A Steven Seagal Movie!" By the time I saw the film (it was a rental), I already knew what would happen. But, man, what I would give to be in that theater on opening night. From the IMDb trivia, Seagal was unhappy about the way his character was to die (I think it was to be a little more graphic). Eventually, they settled on an idea and that's what's in the movie.

ScottDS said...

Jed -

No problem. And I know we're not talking about Shakespeare but I think action films get overlooked in the review/critique department and there are some cool books out that examine the action genre in greater detail, like this one and this one.

As for Oldman, I'm a huge fan... and not just because three friends back in high school told me I looked just like him in The Professional. :-) He's definitely one of the best things about Air Force One; he and William H. Macy are almost too good to be in the film!

Joel Farnham said...

ScottDS,

Of these two movies, the only thing I liked is Steven Segal gets killed. The rest......I do like Goldie Hawn's boy-toy winning the day.

Anonymous said...

ScottDS,

Yes Passenger 57 was not bad but not as good as either film mentioned, I just bought it up as it predated both. And yes "always bet on black" was corny but very memorable.

I saw you mentioned Seagals death but but only as a plot point. I saw it on video with friends, but we didn't know what was going to happen and were really shocked as his death. We argued over why they killed him off, if they didn't like him and killed his character, if he had another movie to make or if they had that in the script from the start.

But at the time Seagal was still a credible action star and to kill him off that early was very different.

Scott.

ScottDS said...

Joel -

Fair enough. Lots of people seem to like Seagal getting killed! And I wish Kurt Russell would do more movies. His presence is missed.

ScottDS said...

Anon/Scott -

I assume it was always in the script and Seagal signed on to do the film, obviously knowing his character's fate.

Sadly, the film is just another catalog title for Warner Bros. so I doubt we'll see a Special Edition with bells and whistles anytime soon. I'd love to listen to the filmmakers talk about their process (and problems with Seagal), not to mention their opinion of the film now, post-9/11.

T-Rav said...

I have never been able to take Steven Seagal seriously. He just seems like a parody of an action star to me. I know that's probably unfair, but hey--it is what it is.

ScottDS said...

I'm actually indifferent to Seagal. I think the only major film of his I've seen is Under Seige. For whatever reason, I never got into him the same way I did with Arnold, Sly, and the rest of the gang.

AndrewPrice said...

I like Seagal getting killed. He's a jerk and should always get killed. Plus, as Scott says above, it does lend a certain credibility to the film that they are willing to kill off main characters early on.

United Citizens Council said...

I noticed that AF1 was on television on some channel just today. I was flipping channels and saw Harrison Ford looking helpless as a terrorist played Russian patriotic music over the intercom on the plane.

That's no super-secret Remora, that's an F-117 and it's not nearly big enough to carry those people! heh.

ScottDS said...

Yeah, I had more info about the Remora in my rough draft but I had to cut it. They don't explain it in the film; they only refer to it as "the Remora." I expect certain liberties to be taken with this sort of thing and as long as it's done well, I (and the rest of the audience) accept it.

United Citizens Council said...

I guess most people had no problem with it but I couldn't accept it. I tried. lol.

Backthrow said...

I didn't see EXECUTIVE DECISION in the theater, but I recall reading/hearing at that time that audiences generally cheered enthusiastically when Seagal got killed off so early; remember, this wasn't very long after Seagal's ill-advised eco-wacko vanity project/bomb, ON DEADLY GROUND.

I liked both AIR FORCE ONE and EXECUTIVE DECISION, though I can't say which one I like better now, as I haven't watched AF1 in several years, but caught ED a year or so ago. Ford was still cruising along after the success of THE FUGITIVE and the Jack Ryan films, though starting to stumble slightly with the SABRINA remake and THE DEVIL'S OWN (neither film is particularly bad, just numbingly mediocre)... but SIX DAYS SEVEN NIGHTS was waiting in the wings, a downward spiral from which he still hasn't recovered.

I saw FLIGHT PLAN when it first hit DVD; I remember generally liking it until the climax, where it became too unbelievable to me, for the type of suspense story it had been up to that point. Maybe it became too much of an action film all of a sudden, although I'm hazy now on the details that bothered me. RED EYE, with Rachel McAdams and Cillan Murphy, was guily of the same, but I liked it better overall, maybe because it was more of an unabashed 'B' movie, compared to the A-level FLIGHT PLAN.

rlaWTX said...

Seagal's character's early death was/is a positive for me...

ScottDS said...

Backthrow -

(I love your avatar.)

I'd totally forgotten about Six Days, Seven Nights. I think Anne Heche's relationship with Ellen Degeneres didn't help either, unfortunately (as far as the media was concerned). And it was also another nail in the coffin of Ivan Reitman's directing career. He hasn't directed a really good movie since Dave.

I still think Ford has another kick-ass action movie in him, as long as George Lucas stays the hell away from it! :-)

I haven't seen Red Eye.

ScottDS said...

rlaWTX -

Join the club! I don't follow Seagal's life but I wonder what he thinks of his character's death now. Would he do it again? Who knows?

AndrewPrice said...

Backthrow, I agree about Flightplan I thought it was an excellent film until near the end where it kind of ran out of steam. I like Red Eye largely because I like Cillian Murphy a lot. And you're right, that one doesn't take itself as seriously.

I think there is a great film to be had with this premise, but I suspect it need more creative thinking than these films have provided.

Witchfinder68 said...

And here I thought I was the only person who liked Executive Decision. It was a fun, well done, little action movie. I found AF1 too be a bit absurd.

ScottDS said...

Witchfinder -

Nope, you're definitely not the only one! And like Andrew said to me in an e-mail when I proposed the idea:

"Whoever would've thought the Steven Seagal movie would be the better of the two?" :-)

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Excellent reviews Scott!

I also liked ED better than AF1. The supporting actors did a better job and there was no manufactured melodrama...bad melodrama, and bad writing like there was in AF1.

I did like the action scenes with Ford, but other than that I pretty much ignore the other parts of the movie.

ED OTOH I like all the way through.

I thought Ford did okay in Cowboys And Aliens.
It was clearly his best work since AF1 although CAA overall wasn't a very good film.

ScottDS said...

USS Ben -

Thanks! I'm glad you agree. The manufactured melodrama was, to an extent, evident to me back when I first saw the film when I was 14.

I still haven't seen Cowboys and Aliens but a friend of mine saw it and was very disappointed with it.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Scott: It wasn't horrible, IMO (at least not ScyFy horrible). Mediocre to fair I would say. But Ford did a decent job, I think.

rlaWTX said...

way late but - I enjoyed Cowboys and Aliens. It was a don't-think-about-it-too-hard, popcorn movie.

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