James Marshall (Harrison Ford), the President of the United States, has just put into place a tougher national policy on dealing with terrorism when he, himself, becomes its victim. Six Russian extremists, posing as a film crew, are allowed to accompany the leader of the free world and his staff from the former Soviet Union to Washington, D.C. aboard his personal plane, Air Force One. Midflight these terrorists reveal their hostile intentions by taking control of aircraft, killing several people in the process. The leader of this radical group, Korshunov (Gary Oldman), intends to hold the President hostage in return for the release of General Radek (Jurgen Prochnow), a military leader intent on returning Russia to its former glory, paranoia, and warmongering position.
The President, who was though to be onboard the escape pod launched when the fracas was taking place, remains on the plane to protect his wife (Wendy Crewson) and daughter (Liesel Matthews), who have accompanied him on the flight. Before he is discovered, President Marshall is able to thin out the terroristsí ranks a little and help some of the dozens of hostages to escape their deadly fate. Korshunov, meanwhile, submits his demands to Vice President Bennett (Glenn Close), who has to deal with a Secretary of Defense (Dean Stockwell) who wants to sacrifice the people on Air Force One for the greater good. Further complicating the situation is the fact that one of the Presidentís own men is helping the terrorists without revealing his contribution to the mayhem.
An action/suspense film, very much in the "Die Hard" tradition, "Air Force One" is a rousing thrill ride, not unlike Harrison Fordís "Indiana Jones" movies. Ford, as always, is great fun to watch an lends an air of authority to the film. Gary Oldman, a proficient character actor, melts seamlessly into, and fleshes out, his role as a Russian terrorist. The supporting cast, led by Glenn Close and William H. Macy, is likewise up to the challenge. Although not laden with special-effects, "Air Force One" does have top-notch visuals and Wolfgang Peterson deftly directs the almost non-stop action. Do yourself a favor and latch onto this great film at your earliest convenience.