Making the Grades
Which wire should he cut? It's the classic Hollywood scene -- and the US President (Harrison Ford) must make the decision. The man on the phone tells him to start with the green one, but now his cell phone has died, and he must choose the other wire from the selection of red, white, blue, or yellow. With all the flag waving in this movie, it's easy for the president (and us) to figure it out.
Besides the violence, that's the biggest problem with Air Force One: You can figure it out. From the word go, you know who the hero is, and you also know the bad guys will be dismissed in a slow and steady fashion with killings evenly distributed over two hours. To make matters worse, the predictable story's key plot points have been widely exposed in previews and talk shows, and that's not accounting for the fact that we have seen this same scenario umpteen times before.
The most amazing thing is how Harrison Ford still pulls us into this road-mapped plot, and keeps you on the edge of the couch. Even with questions of doubt going on in my mind (Is there really an escape pod in Air Force One? Could people really transfer from plane to plane? Can you parachute out of a plane moving at 200 knots? And why doesn't the First Family wear seat belts during take off?), Ford is riveting as he and the special effects crew save the day and make the audience yearn for a politician with this much bravery, loyalty, humility, and good old common sense.
With the theatrical popularity of this movie, I'm sure many older teens will be anxious to rent it. It's unfortunate, but with a few less bullets and profanities, this film could easily reach a PG-13 classification. However, in it's current form, parents would be well advised to view it first and decide if the violence is outweighed by the positive message of an honorable politician and the excitement of the impressive airplane sequences.