Executive Decision

Hollywood's favourite villains of the 1990's, Islamic terrorists again!

What looked like a run of the mill thriller though turned out to be a fairly mature, nail biting suspense flick. One thing it wasn't, however, was an action film – apart from the climax (and short introductory sequence), no violence takes place, the story is about secrecy, concealment and trickery. It was made an even nicer surprise because I wouldn't have bothered seeing it apart from it being part of a movie marathon.

Another interesting point was that Steven Seagal enjoyed top billing with Kurt Russell, but his character gets killed off early on – John Leguizamo takes his place as the leader of the commandos. What's more interesting is from then on, Leguizamo acts in the role that was obviously written for Seagal's character – it looks like there was some sort of contract wrangle or scheduling problem that caused Seagal to drop out.

The garden variety band of Muslim extremists take control of a 747 bound for Washington DC that happens to be full of some sort of chemical superweapon, intending to wipe it out.

When the government gets wind of it, they send in a team of crack midair commandos to board the plane. In one of the most memorable sequences in action movie history, the squad board the liner by flying a stealth bomber along its underside and extending a pressurised gangway up to an emergency hatch.

Once inside the plane's innards, the squad, accompanied by an intelligence analyst (Russell), sneaks around, forming a desperate alliance with a stewardess (Berry) on the quiet and trying to picture their predicament before making their move.

It grips you from the astounding boarding sequence onwards and doesn't let up until the desperate explosion of action in the very end. Slick storytelling that doesn't fall back on gratuitous action.

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