Executive Decision - * * * 1/2*

Executive Decision is a tense and suspense filled action film starring Kurt Russell and Steven Seagal. When terrorists who seize control of a trans-Atlantic 747 are suspected of possessing unknown amounts of chemical weaponry, the U.S. government is left with a dilemma. Should they risk Washington D.C. and the east coast by letting the plane land, or should they destroy the potential hazard over the Atlantic, thus killing the 400 civilians aboard? Special Operations officer Lt. Austin Travis (Steven Seagal) comes up with a third alternative. An elite team can infiltrate the airliner in mid-air via an experimental plane, and proceed to neutralize the bomb and the terrorist threat. Joining the elite team is David Grant (Kurt Russell), an intelligence expert who has unparalleled knowledge of the terrorist leader and his potential motives. But when things start to go wrong, the team faces danger from all fronts. It is refreshing to see a location based action film that breaks the Die Hard mold of a determined vigilante vs. the flamboyant villain and his colorful cadre of henchmen. It is even more refreshing to see that Executive Decision works, and works wonderfully. The good guys (including John Leguizamo, Joe Morton and Oliver Platt, in addition to Seagal and Russell) are a highly skilled team and interesting to watch in action. David Suchet as the lead terrorist is suitably menacing, though he doesn’t chew the scenery as has become the villainous custom. Most of the film concentrates on building suspense, and it does build, keeping your interest and quickening your pulse as you watch. Executive Decision even takes several of the cliched staples of airplane disaster films and makes them exciting to watch. The film is well done, well executed and the best action film to come along in a long while.

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