Welcome to my movie blog, containing reviews and articles. I've been writing since 2004 - with a short break during 2009.

God bless Hollywood America, everyone!

Last night I watched Air Force One. It was utter rubbish. Worse than Snakes on a Plane. Honest. Below, I dissect the plot in grusome detail. I'm issuing a general spoiler warning, I'll black out anything vital but basically read at your peril...after all, it's not as if this is an obvious plot railroading to a natural, I mean no disrespect to the American or Russian people down there. In fact, I don't mean any disrespect to anyone. Don't be insulted...unless you wrote the script...or the which case change your names and leave the country now.

I'm not criticising Bush here, honest. He's doing a hard job far better than I ever could...but what America really needs is president like Jack Marshall, aka Harrison Ford. Why, he can both fly and rewire aircraft, kill people with wheely stools and wingle handedly liberate beleagured aircraft!

Anyway, from the first instant of credits the music sets the tone - God bless, everyone. Listen hard to that tune, because you'll be watching it come down the corner minutes ahead of time for the rest of the movie. It starts with a bunch of paratroopers - dressed in black,with their faces blacked out so nobody sees them at night - floating down on bright white parachutes which only an idiot could miss. They kidnap someone, escape by helicopter and then there's an explosion. Because people like explosions; it makes them buy more popcorn.

Then we meet the hero. You can tell he's a good guy because he's American, looks like Harrison Ford and concerned about refugees. He gives a speech which would, say, justify a war in Iraq (cue stirring music) before flying home on his uber-snazzy airplane. He goes inside and we meet Alice. Alice is the president's sweet little daughter, who would just love to accompany her daddy to see refugee camps because she's a big girl now. Gee, you don't think she's gonna be placed in any danger later on, do you?

Heroguy goes and confides in his wife, who obviously isn't one of Harrison Ford's fans. If she was, she'd know that unpleasant things tend to happen to his on-screen partners and he has a cinematic history of rescuing them. She tells him Alice can't be his little girl forever, she has to grow up sometime. I think this means Wife approves of rich-spoilt-first-daughter ogling disadvantaged refugees...

While the president relaxes, some baddies get on board. You can tell they're baddies because they're Russian, they all have funny accents and one of them is Gary Oldman - on terrifically scary form, may I add. In fact, he is this film's sole redeeming feature - he actually looks SAD when comrades get killed and HAPPY, GENUINELY HAPPY when things go his way. Not many baddies do that. It's a joy to watch the man act...

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, mocking the plot. Riiiight...while the pilots prepare for takeoff and security mistakenly lets Russians onto the plane in their zeal to check for snakes, we are introduced to a number of nameless, non-vital cannon fodder, all of whom will perish heroically in the next 90 minutes.

The pilots start countdown - cue stirring music (PS -"What's the vector, Victor?" "Rodger, Rodger" "How's our clearance, Clarence?") Surprise surprise, when the plane is ten minutes in the air it is hijacked by RUSSIANS! Wow! There are Russians on the plane! Baddie Russians! Nobody saw that coming! Lots of people get shot at but it's ok becase they're not important. All you need to know is the president gets away in the escape pod, and his family dont. They're busy being threatened.

It is at this point, the baddie talks to the White House and utters the best line in the film - "When you talk to the President, you might remind him that I am holding his wife, his daughter, his chief of staff, his national security advisor, his classified papers - and his baseball glove!" That's the way to do it!

The Vice President, sporting facial expressions #2 and #6 (grim resiliance and fragile strength - cue stirring music whenever she speaks), sends out a rescue mission to pick up the escape pod, open the doors when...shock horror he isn't there. What a surprise. Gee, nobody expected him to stay on the plane, did they? I certainly wouldn't.

For the next, oooh, fourty minutes he skulks in the basement and randomly kills whoever goes downstairs. A bit like the snakes, really. I kept getting the urge to shout "don't go down there you might be got by the snakes!" when I remembers there were no snakes on this plane.

He then searches through the suitcases and finds a mobile phone. All hail the mobile. This small device is an anchor to reality. The strange laws of logic which operate at altitude has no effect on the mystic device. Which is why when he phones to White House, they assume he's a prankster. Thank goodness for the sense of the thing.

President-dude decides to force a landing by dumping the fuel. Here's the basics - you've got to snap two of five wires and cross them. Easy, eh? Unfortunately, as he's relying on the Realism Mobile, the battery fails while a good electrics guy explains which wires to cut. So he's there with a broken green wire and a 3/4 chance of screwing up and killing everybody. What do you do? Well, you certainly don't look at the bundle and say "red, white and blue...I'm counting on you...", dismissing them as lucky and cutting the yellow wire.

It appears that probability is not acting as a factor...against ALL THE ODDS the plane does not crash and all is well. My my. Cue stirring music.

Then we go back to killing whoever enters the basement. Meanwhile, the Russians are randomly killing hostages to prove they're bad guys and the audience is screaming WHERE'S AGENT FLYNN WHEN YOU NEED HIM?!

I think it's here they activate the autopilot. I can't find a picture of Otto from Airplane!, but it'd be a lot funnier if I inserted one here instead of telling you I wish I could don't you think?

I've got to admit the plan to get the hostages off the plane is pretty clever. Well done everyone. Though I laughed when Hero ran through the door, handing one of the guns to a traitor. Absolutely great. Though the president refuses to go without his family. Again. And some of his friends say "We stay with the president". Cue stirring music!

Finally, Head Baddie realises THE PRESIDENT IS STILL ON THE PLANE! Then comes a pretty fun scene where Hero and Villian share the screen, and they snarl at each other for a bit.

Meanwhile on the ground, the Vice President (cue stirring music) tells the people to pray for him (cue stirring music) and a candlelit vigil takes place outside the White House (cue stirring music).

Quite frankly I blanked the next bits out. But I think the President decided he'd had it with these m********** Russians on his m********** plane, and killed them all. Cue stirring music.

Now all the bad guys are dead! All is well! Only it's not, because there are Migs! Oh no, more danger! But luckily, someone has been watching their Top Gun and knows all a plane has to do to avoid being hit is keep them off your tail. Even if you're flying a massive three story jet. And heroguy has already said it's ok if the plane gets hit. Anyway, they dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge until the F-14s come to the rescue. But oh no! The Migs have fired a missile and this time, the jet can't dodge it. Why?! This is never satisfactorily explained, nor does it matter because one plucky fighter pilot is ready to do His Duty for His Country and dives in front of the missile.

I kid you not.

The loss of that man was a serious blow to the world. He decided he'd give his life for the plane AND managed to undertake a complicated manouver AND judged it perfectly, in under a half second. He's a total genius. The remaining pilots salute the Hero, who salutes back. Cue stirring music.

And all is well. Only it's not, because OH NO the aircraft is damaged. So they have to get people from AF1 to another airplane via a zipwire. Easy, eh? Only it's not, because OH NO the plane's getting too low and it's going to crash! So the Hero tries to get someone else across in his place (cue stirring music), but OH NO traitor dude wants the last trip and he's just shot someone and this is taking up time in which all three of them could have escaped. But don't worry, as AF1 crashes, Hero-guy grabs the wire and is hauled to safety! THE ANGST! THE DRAMA! THE THEME TUNE! Credits roll. Wasn't that fun...

Not that I'm saying it's a bad film. Well ok I am sayng it's a bad film, but it could have been worse. I can forgive any amount of idiocy, but never boredom. If this is your type of thing, then you're going to love it - tense, exciting...just don't think about it too hard, and don't watch it with someone who hates America because they'll have a field day. I found a nice post on imdb from an American pointing out that they hate cheesily obnoxious films like this as much as the rest of the world.

The best way to view this film, methinks, is as a piece of Communist propaganda. Because obviously there's a lot of outrageous patriotism from the American quarter, but try watching it as an anti-American celebration of plucky terrorists in a desperate fight for the motherland and it certainly takes an interesting shade.

In other news, today's Film Studies was the best lesson ever. We had the last three presentations - No 1 discussed Mel in the cornfields in Signs (yay! Good choice, great film), no 2 the scene on the road in Constantine (when they end up next to the glowing Mary statue - love that bit, and the way it all flickers and dies), no 3 Somebody's overdose from Pulp Fiction (I'm not complaining, but it was an odd choice. Good, but I certainly didn't spot any stagy-cinematics I could have commented on. You really need someone like Brian de Palma, or M. Night where it's really obvious.)


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