Rakesh's movie talk
Executive Decision (1996)

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Directed by Stuart Baird
Written by Jim and John Thomas
Starring Kurt Russell, Steven Seagal, John Leguizamo, Oliver Platt and Halle Berry.


Executive Decision is indeed a very bold film. It succeeded, after the first quarter, to make critics applaud and even draw a drop or two of happy tears from them. Why? Simple. They killed Stevan Seagal's character. You see, 9 out of ten critics hate, hate Seagal's gut, which has been swelling these days anyways. I fall into the remaining one percent of the group, though I ain't no critic. I like his Aikido moves and more than anything else, glad that he usually does his fighting on ground. He breaks bones or even kills quick and methodically. Otherwise, he is convincing with weapons. It is known that he is one of the very few in Hollywood who can handle real weapon, and currently also runs bodyguard service. Of course, he is a lousy actor.

Anyway, the movie begins with what seems to be a suspiciously Seagal movie. He plays a commando chief. We are shown a silent ambush in an enemy territory. All the commando cliche are intact. Seagal slits a couple of throat, leads his team inside a home, shoot a whole bunch of inept bad guys, goes to a room and sees that what they are seeking is not there. They lose one of their teammate. We see frustration in Seagal's face. Of course, that expression could also mean anger, pain, happiness, anguish, pleasure. Who cares? With Seagal acting, you got to make up your own mind. Anyway, mission fails. Cut to, Kurt Russell, taking a pilot lesson. And the movie takes a whole new track.

This is not a Seagal movie. Its a hostage-on-the-plane movie. There would be a different feeling watching this movie nowadays. The terrorist on board of the plane are Muslims. They carry an some explosion device, and one military guy remarks that with that aboard, they could turn the plane itself as a weapon. I must now withdraw my preconception that even Hollywood wouldn't have drawn a plot like what happened on Sept 11.

The movie probably contains the longest 'red wire or blue wire' sequence'. To me, it bogs down the movie a lot. In some scene, almost all the main cast gets involve in it. And I hate that 'close your eyes, take a deep breath' sequences the characters has to go through before they do crucial thing like cutting the wire according to the script. Damn them! Can't they find other relaxing method? In the older day, the character (probably Bogey) might pull out a flask of whiskey, take a gulp, and beat the crap out of the mechanism. Well, things are more complex and sophisticated these days. That's why you don't see Eastwood playing computer technician, I guess.

What I loved about this movie is that it tells team work is worth more than one guy against the world. Kurt Russell's character is no Rambo and the rest of the commando crew are no superheroes either. They are all dependent on each other to solve the issue out.

I have not revealed much of the plot, because they are very easy to follow. Standard action with a lot of heart and a bit of brain. Performances are great all around. Russell and John Lequizamo are reliable actors and they pull of their job well. I am a bit impressed with the bad guy played bu David Suchet, only the part was not written that well. Check out also Halle Berry's eary performance. Says some good thing about stewardess.

Anyway, the movie is great. Its fast paced, has plenty of suspense filled moments (except for the irritating red wire, blue wire scenes) and good enough characterisation to keep you riveted throughout the flight. Dang, I think the sentence can be used to promote this movie in reissues. .

Oh, before I forget. Don't be fooled by the climax. Flying plane ain't that easy. Just check with the producers of Airport movies.