DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

Air Force One, Blu-ray (1997)

While the politics and special effects are now a little dated, the film is still a lot of fun with plenty of action and a first-rate cast.

Published on March 13, 2010

Air Force One, Blu-ray (1997)

Air Force One, Blu-ray (1997)

Starring: Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, William H. Macy, Glenn Close, Dean Stockwell  
Directed by: Wolfgang Petersen
Studio: Columbia Pictures
Video: 2.40:1 anamorphic/enhanced 1080p HD
Audio: English or French Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, English, French
Special Features: Director’s commentary; preview trailers; BD-Live
Running Time: 124 minutes
Movie Rating: ****          Video Rating: ****
Audio Rating: ****1/2        D-BOX Motion Rating: ****

“Air Force One” opens with the capture of General Alexander Radek, the leader of Kazakhstan and a man widely known to support terrorism.  The film then cuts to James Marshall (Harrison Ford), the President of the United States, as he is giving a speech in Moscow.  Marshall declares that under his direction, the United States will have a zero tolerance policy for terrorism.  After the speech, Marshall, along with the first family and several cabinet members, boards Air Force One for the return flight home.  Unfortunately, a group of Russian terrorists posing as a news crew are also on board.  The terrorists, led by Ivan Korshunov (Gary Oldman), hijack the plane and demand that the imprisoned General Radek be released.  It’s then left to the heroics of President Marshall to try and save the day.

I’ve heard others refer to “Air Force One” as “Die Hard” on a plane, and that’s actually a pretty accurate description.  Harrison Ford plays the charismatic good guy opposite Gary Oldman’s maniacal bad guy, and all the action takes place in an isolated location (in this case, a plane).  The formula worked well for “Die Hard” and it succeeds here too.  While the politics and special effects are now a little dated, the film is still a lot of fun with plenty of action and a first-rate cast.  Recommended.  
The overall high definition video quality of this Blu-ray DVD is very good.  Images are clean with sharp detail.  Black levels are consistently dark throughout the movie.  Colors are vivid and bold with well-saturated hues.  Picture defect mastering is solid with no major flaws or compression artifacts other than some light film grain. 

The overall audio quality is excellent with the English Dolby Digital 5.1 track.  The soundtrack aggressively incorporates all of the discrete channels into its mix.  Dialogue is always intelligible and properly positioned in the center channel.  The surround channels are very active and utilized for the ambient sound effects and Jerry Goldsmith’s music score, plus include several split rear effects.  The low frequency effects channel is deep and powerful.

“Air Force One” is compatible with the “D-BOX” Motion Code System, meaning that if you have the necessary equipment, your movie viewing experience will be enhanced by adding both motion and vibration to your chosen seating.  This is one of the better D-BOX movies that I have experienced.  There are motion effects and vibration present throughout the entire film.  The climatic in-air rescue mission and subsequent plane crash are bolstered by some well-constructed, up-and-down and side-to-side movements.  Also, the shoot-out and hand-to-hand combat scenes greatly benefit from potent D-BOX impact and vibration.  “Air Force One” is a title worth owning and I rate its overall D-BOX Motion/Vibration quality as very good.

— Calvin Harding Jr.

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