Executive Decision (1996)
Reviewed on 2007 September 13
Entertaining yarn with a couple of twists, a few things swiped from Die Hard and some all-around decent acting.
Dr. Phil. David Grant (Kurt Russell) is a Pentagon intelligence analyst who finds himself swept from a formal dinner, tuxedo and all, when his services are needed. A hijacked 747, filled with innocent passengers, crazed terrorists, and enough chemical weapons to decimate a city, needs to be intercepted before U.S. airspace is breached. Grant is a long-time student of Nagi Hassan (David Suchet), a vicious Middle Eastern goon clamoring for the release of fellow thug El Sayed Jaffa (Andreas Katsulis).
Grant joins a team of commandos, helmed by the truculent Lt. Colonel Austin Travis (Steven Seagal, and it’s ok, he doesn’t ruin this). Travis doesn’t think much of Grant, and neither do the other men, once they see him in his tux. They have to come up with a way to get onto that plane and “neutralize the situation” before it’s too late.
Director Stuart Baird paced this thing like he was banging out the Peer Gynt suite: slow, deliberate beginning and going faster and crazier as it progresses, until at the end he’s just dumping on the tension with a snow shovel. And you know, it works. Towards the end with every new interruption and obstacle the men face, you’re inwardly screaming “now what?” Halle Berry does a good job as Jean, the terrified stewardess who resolutely helps the men. Some of it is formulaic, but it’s still good action flick, and I think Russell and all the commandos are convincing.
Two chocolate morsels and a drink with lots of ice served in a little clear plastic cup.