Over his nearly six-decade movie career, Harrison Ford has given us many memorable characters from Indiana Jones to Han Solo to Rick Deckard and to Jack Ryan (twice). His star is without question when it comes to leading franchises. But Ford has also graced fans with movies and characters not franchise-related and one of those, perhaps considered underrated but classic nonetheless, has made its way to Netflix.
In Air Force One, Harrison Ford plays the President of the United States, James Marshall. A few weeks after American and Russian Special Forces capture General Radek, leader of a rogue terrorist group possessing stolen nuclear weapons, President Marshall and his family are attending a diplomatic dinner in Russia. Afterward, Marshall and his family, along with certain cabinet members and invited members of the press onboard Air Force One to head back to America.
Disguised on board as journalists are Radek loyalists, led by Egor Korshunov (a wonderfully creepy Gary Oldman). Also on board is Secret Service agent Gibbs (Xander Berkeley), who is actually a mole for Korshunov. It is Gibbs who allows the loyalists to obtain the weapons aboard Air Force One.
As the chaos breaks out aboard the plane, Harrison Ford, as President Marshall, is whisked away, without his wife Grace (Wendy Crewson) and young daughter Alice to an escape pod in the cargo hold. As the escape pod is released, Korshunov is able to breach the cockpit before the plane can make an emergency landing.
Korshunov demands Radek’s release and steers the plane toward Radek-loyal airspace. Korshunov now has hostages to include President Marshall’s wife and daughter, threatening to kill a hostage every half-hour unless his demands are met. What Korshunov doesn’t know is that President Marshall never got in the escape pod and is now slowly making his way to rescuing all hostages on board.
President Marshall (Harrison Ford) now begins to use the training he received while in the Vietnam War, taking out loyalists one by one. He is able to make contact with Vice President Bennett (Glenn Close) letting her know he is still on board and his plans to rescue his family and the others on the plane.
Nothing goes as planned, as is often the case in these types of action thrillers, so when Marshall and Korshunov finally meet face-to-face, it is what audiences have waited for.
Air Force One is a taut, exciting, well-paced, action thriller made all more believable by Harrison Ford’s ability to turn his role as president into an action movie hero. Gary Oldman is very much over the top, but in a way that makes Oldman always fun to watch on the big screen. The remaining cast, to include Close, Crewson, and Dean Stockwell as the smarmy worm Defense Secretary Walter Dean add to a film that definitely delivers on edge-of-the-seat thrills.
Wolfgang Petersen directed Air Force One and he is no stranger to big, action thrillers having directed such movies as Das Boot, The NeverEnding Story, Enemy Mine, the highly underrated Shattered, The Perfect Storm, Troy, and Poseidon. Petersen was given an $85 million budget for his heroic President and didn’t fail on the returns, bringing home a little over $315 million at the box office. The script was written by Andrew Marlowe (End of Days, Hollow Man, Castle).
Harrison Ford plays like a who’s who when it comes to movie-famous characters. One of his first notable characters was in the 1973 hit American Graffiti where he played Bob Falfa, the rogue searching for Paul Le Mat’s John Milner to see whose car was faster.
From there, we know the biggies – Jones, Solo, Deckard, Ryan, but Ford has played more memorable characters in highly regarded films. There was Detective John Book in Witness. There was Jack Trainer in the romantic comedy Working Girl. There was Rusty Sabich in the Scott Turow novel-turned-film Presumed Innocent. And, of course, there was Dr. Richard Kimble in the tense feature film remake of the 1960’s TV series The Fugitive. We could go on and on, his resume is that stacked.
Amazingly enough, for all the great work he’s done on the big screen, Ford has been nominated for only one Academy Award, and that was for his portrayal of John Book in Witness. He has worked with the biggest of bigs when it comes to directors to include Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Ridley Scott, Francis Ford Coppola, Peter Weir, Mike Nichols, and Roman Polanski.
Harrison Ford has had such a great career financially he even made it in the 2001 Guinness Book of World’s Records as the richest male actor in the world.
The big news lately surrounding Harrison Ford is his return to the whip and fedora as Indiana Jones for the fifth time. After 13 years and a less than favorable reception with his last turn as Indy in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Ford, at 78 years young, is back at it.
Unfortunately, fans may have to wait just a bit longer for the new, as yet untitled, Indy adventure. Harrison Ford suffered a serious injury on the set while filming a fight scene. Initially, it was felt the delay wouldn’t be a long one, but now reports are saying that it will be at least three months before the cameras roll again as Ford is scheduled to have shoulder surgery.
What this does to the movie’s release date is unknown at this point. The movie finally had a premiere date of July 9, 2021, but script delays caused the movie to be pushed back to July 29, 2022.
For now, head on over to Netflix and check out one of Harrison Ford’s classic action thrillers Air Force One. You won’t be disappointed.