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Friday, June 17, 2011
Air Force One
While cleaning out the basement, I found a VCR of Air Force One. This movie came out in 1997, a handful of years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Here's a quick synopsis of the story:
The President, James Marshall (played by Harrison Ford), over enormous political pressure has coordinated the capture of the dangerous dictator of Kazakhstan. Ivan Radek is waging a civil war with the newly liberated Russian bloc countries and has nuclear weapons. In Moscow Marshall states a new, strong, "no tolerance" policy of the USA for any terrorists because "it's the right thing to do."
On the way home, a pro-Radek team of terrorists hijacks Air Force One and herds the hostages into a locked conference room, demanding the release of Radek. Marshall escapes capture and sabotages many aspects of the terrorists' plans, including the parachuting release of most of the hostages.
Marshall eventually defeats the terrorists, but since the pilots are all dead must now fly the damaged plane with low fuel out of the enemy region before another attack by air commences...
Let me say first that this is a violent movie, so watch it at your own risk. However the violence is not gratuitous but represents a realistic portrayal of how terrorists might deal with their mission, which I find instructive and a good reminder of what "bad" people are willing to do to get their way. It raises some thoughts: how might I behave in that situation? Would I be able to stand up to that evil?
It was refreshing to watch such a positive portrayal of strength and goodness in the United States and with the military. I've missed that. Marshall, we're told, is a Medal of Honor Winner and "flew more rescue missions in Vietnam" than anyone else under a high-ranking officer's command. Marshall was brave. Marshall was strong. Marshall held to the good despite enormous pressure to bow to the easy.
The military pilots and others who assisted with the rescue showed amazing feats of training, discipline, and selfless courage. Glenn Close, who played Vice President Catherine Bennett, was another strong leader. There were many heroic acts from the nameless characters -- the secret service men and other staff who stood in gunfire to guard safe passage for Marshall and others, others confronting and fighting the terrorists to protect the hostages. It was inspiring.
Wow, wow, wow. It seems lately that there is so much negativism and corruption permeating our country, leading to fear and despair in the American people.
James Marshall, where are you?