"I hope there's a good movie on this flight."
The above is said by a U.S. commando as he secretly boards a hijacked civilian plane. (Two flight attendants on this plane are played by Halle Berry and Marla Maples Trump, former wife of "The Donald.")
This is what this movie is about: a group of commandos attempting to take back control of an Oceanic Airlines Flight 343 Boeing 747. Actually, it's a bit more complicated.
You have to get anti-terrorist commandos secretly onboard a hijacked plane that's in flight and make sure all 406 passengers are not harmed. As well, the Islamic terrorists have a sophisticated and deadly nerve gas ("DZ-5") bomb on the plane that will explode if there's an attempt at landing. Detonation is controlled remotely by a terrorist disguised as one of the passengers. (This person is known as the "sleeper" or "trigger man.")
The leader of the terrorists is the ruthless Nagi Hassan (David Suchet, taking on quite a different role from his excellent portrayal of Agatha Christie's Inspector Hercule Poirot).
A plan to save the plane and passengers is concocted by government officials with the help of Dr. David Grant (Kurt Russell) who is a "consultant to U.S. military army intelligence," commando leader Lieutenant Colonel Austin Travis (Steven Seagal without his ponytail), and engineer Dennis Cahill (Oliver Platt).
Everything does not go according to plan. Four commandos (one played by John Leguizamo as "Rat" and another one played by Joe Morton as "Cappy") get secretly onboard the hijacked plane that`s in flight. By accident, Dr. Grant and engineer Cahill also wind up on this plane.
Steven Seagal fans will be disappointed. He only appears in the first 45 minutes of this movie. (As well, his name is not even mentioned in the opening credits.)
This movie has a lot of action that keeps you involved. In other words, adrenaline junkies won't be disappointed. As well, there is good drama.
All the acting in this movie was quite good (even though Steven Seagal was nominated for a "Razzie"). But I have to give special kudos to both David Suchet and Kurt Russell for their fine performances.
This movie presents a lot of hi-tech. But it's low-tech Morse Code and engineer Cahill's low-tech "magic wand" that turn out to be lifesavers.
The background music adds to each scene.
I liked the singing of Frank Sinatra over the end credits. I thought this was a nice touch.
This is somewhat of a unique movie. It could not be made today in light of 9/11.
Oh! Incidentally, "executive decision" means a decision made by the President of the United States.
Finally, the DVD (released in 2010) has two extras. One of the extras are "Production Notes" and I found that the information they provided to be interesting.
In conclusion, in reference to the quotation that begins this review, I don't know if Flight 343 had a good movie. But I DO know that this is a good, exciting movie!!
(1996; 2 hr, 10 min; wide screen; 36 scenes)
<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>
on November 3, 2007
i had watched Executive Decision maybe 5 years ago and i remember
enjoying it then.however,i was more impressed this time.Kurt Russel
does a good job as on of the heroes of the piece.a great supporting
cast surrounds Russel.Halle Berry is very convincing in her role.
Steven Seagal makes an appearance,giving another one of his usual
wooden performances.thankfully he is not the star of the movie.there
are some great action sequences,but the film's focal point is more one
of dramatic suspense.and there are some nail biting moments.these are
handled very well by both the director and the actors.The bad guys are
well represented,all giving fine performances.The main villain is
played by brilliant actor David Suchet,who really inhabits his
character.you really hate this guy.There is not a lot of character
development,but that does not detract from the quality of the film.the
script is very tightly written,which helps to overcome the very
unlikelihood of the plot.the only other minor complaint i have is that
in some of the flying scenes,it is apparent that the scenes are
simulated.but this is a minor issue.overall an above average
suspense/action flick 3.5/5.
on June 1, 2004
Director: Stuart Baird
Cast: Kurt Russell, Steven Seagal, Halle Berry, John Leguizamo, Oliver Platt, Joe Morton, David Suchet, Len Cariou, B.D. Wong, Marla Maples Trump.
Running Time: 135 minutes.
Rated R for violence and language.
Although it is a formula that has been used time and time again, "Excecutive Decision" succeeds just as well, if not better, than the "hostage-takes-over-plane-so-action-hero-has-to-come-to-rescue" genre predecessors because of wonderful performances, an in-depth and enjoyable script, and top-tier direction from rookie Baird. Very simliar to 1992's "Passenger 57" staring Wesley Snipes, but with more emphasis on the supporting cast instead of one central star.
Kurt Russell stars as a United States government expert on Middle East terrorism who finds himself out of his office and on a die-or-die mission with gung ho commando Steven Seagal and Co. when an American airliner is taken hostage while in midair. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), Seagal is killed about a half an hour into the film, allowing Russell to take full command of the film. With the help from gorgeous flight attendant Halle Berry, Russell is able to learn about the situation and guide his great supporting players John Leguizamo, Oliver Platt, and Joe Morton as to how they need to approach the dangerous situation.
If there is one major drawback of the film, it is that "Executive Decision" is fairly fairfetched and predictable at the same time--the anti-terrorist crew actually gets onto the plane while it is in the air and without the terrorists knowing--come on! But despite some of its logical fallouts, it is a film that makes up for it with a superb lead role, fine performances from Platt as a brainiac and Leguizamo as a rough-and-tough go-getter, and a gut-wrenching, thrill-ride (literally) of a finale. A nice directorial debut. One of the better action films of the mid 1990's and is on par with other plane thrillers such as "Con Air".
on November 17, 2003
There are few topics more relevant today than that of Islamic terrorism, as the free world fights back against this demonic evil. And this film was made 5 years before the 911 massacre.
Palestinian terrorists hijack a Flight 747 en route from Athens and Washington D.C, and it is discovered that they are carrying on the plane, a deadly nerve toxin, in quantities that can destroy half of the USA.
Kurt Russell plays a US Intelligence whiz kid who discovers the whole evil plot, and Steven Seagal, the air force colonel, in charge of the operation.
David Suchet plays the terrorist killer, who leads the band of vicious skyjackers.
And the gorgeous Halle Berry plays the heroic airhostess, who helps to foil the plan by the terrorists.
The sexy Marla Maples Trump plays a cameo role as another airhostess.
The tension and fear is palpable, and the difficulty, which the anti-terror team pulls off the operation against the terrorists, is shown in its full realism and difficulty, in contrast to the surrealistic ease of a 007.
It is always good to steal ourselves for the titanic fight ahead of us between the free world and the Satanic Islamic/Palestinian terror network.
on May 22, 2003
Even though Executive Decision today would remind the viewing audience of the tragic, if not cowardly attacks made by Islamic terrorists on September 11, 2001 AD, it is still an entertaining and enjoyable action/suspensful/political thriller. I mean, if any film has Steven Segal killed off within the first 40 minutes of the picture (mirroring Roy Thinnes's demise in Airport 1975) and British actor David Suchet playing an excellent heavy, then it has to be worth watching.
Released in 1996 by Warner Brothers, Executive Decision was the directorial debut of British film editor Stuart Baird (Superman - The Movie and Outland). With the material he had been given by screenwriters Jim and John Thomas, Baird does an excellent, if not remarkable job in film direction. Especially when it comes to the staging and filming of the action sequences.
The plot of the storyline centers around a group of Islamic Terrorists from the Middle East who hijack a 747 en route from Athens to Washington DC. The Islamic extremists main plan is to force the release of a known terrorist leader, who had been captured and imprisoned by British and American military forces.
Unknown to some of the terrorists, their leader has smuggled a Soviet nerve toxin gas left over from the Cold War. A nerve gas hooked up to a bomb, which is controlled by an al-Queida sleeper agent. The real purpose of the terrorist leader is soon revealed. His plans are to use the 747 as a weapon and detonate the nerve agent over Washington, killing all citizens there and those living along most of the East Coast.
Enter into the picture a group of U.S. Army anti-terrorist commadoes, along with a intelligence analyst/field operative from the Pentagon and an aircraft designer. Their mission is to transfer from a U.S. Air Force stealth fighter onto the 747 in mid-air, locate the nerve toxin, deactivate the bomb, kill all of the terrorists and sleeper agents with extreme prejudice, re-take the plane, and ensure the safety of the passengers and flight crew. Easier said than done. With the help of a courageous flight attendant/stewardess and a U.S. Sky Marshal, it becomes a fight to the death five miles above the Earth, with the fate of the U.S. Capitol and the eastern seaboard hanging in the balance.
Better than Air Force One, The Delta Force, The Die Hard Trilogy, and the Under Siege films, Executive Decision pulls all the punches and the stops when it comes to high flying action and high octane political thrillers. With a cast that consists of Kurt Russell, David Suchet (in a non-Hercule Poirot role), Halle Berry, Whip Hubley, Oliver Platt, B.D.Wong, Joe Morton, John Leguizamo, Andreas Katsulas, the late Charles Hallahan and J.T. Walsh, it is an ultimate winner in explosive action and political thrillers. Even the soundtrack by veteran composer Jerry Goldsmith is explosive and excellent. One of his best soundtracks since the 1968 version of Planet Of the Apes.
If you enjoy films that deal with politics, the U.S. Government's policy of not negotiating with terrorists, and the right-winged, if not the best way, to eliminate Middle Eastern terrorism, then Executive Decision is the film for you. Civilian, veteran, any patriotic citizen who wants to stop terrorism dead in its tracks!
on April 3, 2003
I don't watch a lot of "contemporary action" flicks, but this one is really good. To me, its scenario of a jetliner being used as a weapon of terror has an eerie prescience that lends a touch of horror and plausibility that its makers, back in 1996, probably didn't anticipate. Kurt Russell plays Dr. Donald Grant, a think-tanker who, through a series of plot twists, finds himself, along with a technical engineer (Oliver Platt) and a special-forces team (John Leguizamo, Joe Morton, B. D. Wong, Whip Hubley), secretly boarding a 747 that has been hijacked by a fanatic Islamic terrorist (David Suchet) and his band--most of whom don't have a clue about his secret agenda, a nerve-gas bomb whose presence Grant has deduced from his studies of the perp. Their mission: find and disarm the bomb and take down the terrorists before they can slaughter the entire East Coast. With the help of a stewardess (Halle Berry) and a plainclothes air marshal (Richard Riehle), they do both, only to find that the pilots have been killed and Grant, who's never flown anything bigger than a single-engine Cessna, must get the damaged liner down safely. The tension keeps ratcheting up steadily as complications are tossed into the Americans' path: the loss of their leader (Steven Seagal) and much of their equipment, an injured team member (who happens to be its bomb expert), the discovery of failsafes on the bomb and a sleeper agent aboard who can set it off manually, and a flight of combat jets prepared to shoot the plane down. Even after you've viewed it once, you'll still find yourself jamming your foot on the brake in the last few minutes as the crippled liner makes a long terrifying slide through ranks of parked small craft and into an earthen berm. A wild ride and one that any lover of nonstop action should enjoy.
on March 7, 2003
executive decision was a very fine movie.i saw it in the theater three times. so i remember every thing and every scene. especialy the one's with halle barry. oh what a woman but!!!!.
wait a minute isn't the director supposed to say cut when the movies being filmed not when it's already been shown in theaters all around america. this is the most chopped up film i've ever seen! it's a shame. there are about five key scenes cut out of this movie shortening it's lenth by about 12 to 16 minutes.they are very important ones.like when they setup the infrared lighting system. that's cut. or when they have to move the leader of the team "joe morton' after his back is injured and they have to carry him on a strecher through the plane to get to the device they cut the part out where they actually move him. all of the sudden he's at the device.there are too many cut's in this film to justify a purchase but if they do come out with a full lenth version of this film i will for sure be inline to get my dvd.
on October 6, 2002
It is ironic that after 9/11 Hollywood shies away from directly dealing with Islamic terrorism. So much so, that the very recently released The Sum of All Fears based on Tom Clancy's novel changes the identity of the evil doers from fervent Islamicists to ultra right-wing Nazis. The earlier Executive Decision was filmed in 1996. It addresses forthrightly, without fear of politically correct reprisals, the menace of Islamic radicalism. A few scenes even have the terrorists speaking Arabic to each other. In many ways, Executive Decision, warned us about the possibility of the attacks of 9/11. The actor who primarily makes this film work is David Suchet who portrays the diabolical Nagi Hassan, a dedicated Islamicist who hates the United States with an unrelenting passion. He ultimately plans to use a hijacked airplane as something of a heavy duty bomb to murder millions of American citizens. This fiendish individual is committed to sacrifice his own life, but hides the final aspect of the scheme from his fellow terrorists. The latter believe that they are merely participating in a plot to free a fellow Islamic radical. Hassan fails to inform them that they are on a suicidal mission. Does this not remind one of the hijackers of 9/11? Osama bin Ladin also did not tell most of those 19 hijackers that they were going to die on that fateful day.
What about Kurt Russell, Steven Segal, Halle Barry, and the other very fine performers? I will be blunt: the primary focus should be on the Nagi Hassan character. It is a very accurate depiction of the extremist Islamic terrorist mindset. Did the fast paced action thriller Executive Decision unwittingly provide a few ideas to those Islamic radicals who almost certainly viewed this film? The answer must be a reluctant yes. Should anyone therefore involved in the production of Executive Decision feel guilty? Not in the least. Artists usually cannot be blamed if the malevolent inclined interpret their work in a manner not to their liking. This is a must see movie. The Nagi Hassans are not merely the figment of a creative writer's imagination, but real live threats to our American values and freedoms. Executive Decision earns five stars.
on August 4, 2002
A group of fanatic middle east terrorists hijacks a US-bound airliner, holding its crew and passengers hostage and demanding the release of their leader - a fearless mastermind of terror brazenly seized by US special forces in a daylight raid. We soon learn, from a brilliant civilian analyst named Grant (Kurt Russel) that the hostage bid is actually a clever smokescreen - that the airliner is actually loaded with a highly potent nerve gas, perhaps enough to end life as we know it on America's east coast. Without any proof, the US government has the choice blasting the plane into oblivion to end a threat it could never prove, or allowing the plane to reach US airspace, where it will disperse its deadly cargo. Instead, a tricky plan is chosen - use a stealth transport with a special airlock to insert a team of special forces onto the plane, to retake it and disarm the bomb.
Up until then, "ED" is content to be a generic, enjoyable yet eventually forgettable action movie involving airplanes and "reel bad arabs" (Hey, I didn't make that up - some guy wrote a book about stereotyping arabs, and somebody else recommended that instead of this flick, as if the audience of one and the other's readership overlap that much). This flick came out in March - not quite the time when people are lining up at the box office. Though not a bad movie, it somehow manages to approach what we all love as the "so bad, we love it" category. Something funny happens midway through though - you realize that you're watching a parody (probably unintentional, but why spoil the fun?) with plenty of violence, but still one that isn't quite right enough to take seriously. Steven Seagal plays the intrepid head of the special forces, but he's dispatched early on, leaving his team to shoulder the task of ending the flying seige. You really know something's wrong when, while describing the plan, Seagal suddenly but calmly tells the military brass and the political heads involved that what he really wants is Kurt Russel's character (tuxedo and all) to come along for the trip. The script suggests he's laughing inside at Russell who'll have to face these bloodthirsty terrorists alone, but he's more likely laughing at us. The flick lards it up further in its choice of miscasting - adding BD Wong and John Leguizamo in as footsoldiers in Seagal's crack outfit. Finally, in what may be a nod to all of those "Airport" flicks of the 70's (okay, so there were only 3 of them), the flick climaxes in the single least-convincing airplane crash-landing ever depicted on the modern screen. (This is perhaps the strongest proof that the flick was intentionally parodying action movies: years earlier, a cosmetically altered 707 was used to brilliantly and chillingly simulate a crash landing 747 in "White Nights"; another 707 was dispatched in speed - certainly they could have done more than used models ala something by Sid and Marty Croft) I'm conservative, but ED hadn't had me scamper around frothing about "arab terrorists", nor did I look at this flick in a new light because of September 11. (I've seen far worse arabs in other films, while this one hints that most of the hijackers were out of the loop about the plan to dump nerva gas on the east coast.) Instead, it's a welcome diversion from more self-conciously serious action movies, even if you'll forget most of it (even Donald Trump's ex, Marla Maples as a flight attendant, or the late JD Walsh as a senator) the next day.
on August 2, 2002
First of all, there is absolutely no question about the entertainment value of this movie. When I received it, I watched it twice two days in-a-row! It is an excellent action movie if you like hostage/terrorism themes.
Although there have been complaints about Seagal's early demise, I am neutral about it. He played a great part and his role/performance was effective.
Mostly, I review the quality of the DVD so here we go:
"Widescreen review" must be crazy with their 5.0/picture, 5.0/sound, or I didn't receive the same DVD. The picture is pretty bad for a 1996 film (released on DVD approx. two years ago). The picture is grainy with various spots and blurs. At times, there are blue lines around the actors' faces, and it's not from anything glowing, either. It is just poor quality. The DVD starts right away without going to the menu.
The best sound comes at the beginning of the movie with some cheesy words typing across the screen and the effect follows the typing from left to right. Was that necessary?
My picture rating: 1.5 at times, 3.0 maximum in the best shots.
Sound: 3.0 overall
I hope that they remaster this movie in the near future. Clearly, this film was slopped to DVD just to make hasty sales. If you don't mind the [bad] picture, by all means purchase this DVD and enjoy! But I would wait another year or so. It doesn't look like it has a lot of sales so a new release may never happen.
Oh, entertainment rating on a scale of 5: my vote = 6.0!