Executive Decision is an action-thriller from 1997 starring Kurt Russell, Steven Seagal and Halle Berry. When Islamic terrorist hijack a 747 jetliner, a daring plan is hatched to transfer U.S. soldiers onto the 747 and regain control of the plane and its deadly cargo of nerve gas.
This film is like trip to McDonald’s in that you know what you’re going to get. Executive Decision is a good, taut thriller with some nice action sequences that unfolds with a couple of nice surprises, one of which is the early demise of Steven Seagal’s character.
In places the movie is a little workmanlike. The musical score from Jerry Goldsmith is one of his lesser efforts, though it’s passable enough, and the direction by Joel Silver is derivative of his other movies such as Die Hard. Also, the ending, where our hero has to land the plane is a laugh out loud movie cliché.
What stands out for me is that it’s a fairly realistic depiction of how such a scenario might unfold (the mid-air transfer notwithstanding). It’s not overblown like the bigger budgeted Air Force One and is more believable. It’s also fairly thoughtful in places and is certainly not a mindless shootem up. It’s great that this film celebrates the civilian’s (played by Kurt Russell) intelligence in dealing with the crisis as much, if not more, than the commando’s killing skills.
When this film came out it may have seemed unrealistic for terrorists to hijack a plane for use as a weapon. Sadly such a situation became a terrifying and real scenario, one that may make parts of this film hard to watch for some.
In summary though, Executive Decison is a quite an enjoyable – if dated B movie.