Was 1997 the greatest year ever for blockbuster action cinema? If you ignore Speed 2: Cruise Control and Batman & Robin, then it might well be.
In the space of one calendar year audiences were gifted all-time greats Con Air, Face/Off and Men in Black, cult classic The Fifth Element, fun disaster epics Volcano and Dante’s Peak, solid sequels The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Tomorrow Never Dies, along with underrated gems Conspiracy Theory and Breakdown, to give you an idea of the quality on offer. Additionally, one of 1997’s finest big-budget efforts was Wolfgang Petersen’s Air Force One, which is coming to Netflix next month.
Yes, the concept is essentially Die Hard on the titular aircraft, but that hardly matters when you’ve got Harrison Ford in prime grizzled hero mode as one of cinema’s most engaging commanders-in-chief—if only for the sheer amount of ass he kicks. Petersen directs a series of action sequences that mix close-quarters combat and nail-biting tension with massive effects-driven spectacle, all tied together by Gary Oldman in phenomenal form as a Russian villain that doesn’t so much chew on the scenery but completely inhales it.
The bombastic and spectacular Air Force One was a critical and commercial smash hit, drawing in widespread praise from critics and earning $315 million at the box office on an $85 million budget. There’s been talk of a sequel every now and then over the following decades, but sadly it hasn’t come to anything as of yet. However, in just a couple of weeks you’ll be able to check it out at the push of a button, whether it’s for the first, fifth, or fiftieth time.