While Russia is a shadow of its former superpower self, the United States and its President are more than confident. So confident, in fact, that President James Marshall (Harrison Ford) travels to Moscow to deliver a powerful yet somewhat controversial speech about terrorism and the hard stance America will take against it. This new position is tested immediately when a group of Russian nationalists take control of Air Force One as it begins its journey home and demand the release of General Alexander Radek, a tyrant looking to turn the country back into the evil Cold War Russia it once was. Before the terrorists can grab him though, the President flees in the escape pod.
The terrorists aboard the President's plane are led by Ivan Korshunov (Gary Oldman), a true son of "Mother Russia" who makes his terms clear: bow to their demands or, every half hour, someone aboard the plane will be executed. The President's own wife and daughter are aboard the plane, but unbeknownst to the terrorists, so is the President (who launched the pod empty). This places him in the awful position of choosing between the lives of those he loves and ignoring the important anti-terrorist policy he just put forth. Of course, President Marshall is a former Medal of Honor winner and can kick any man's ass. The Prez decides to kick some and fight back against these terrorists.
All the while, Korshunov terrorizes the hostages by threatening them all and personally killing the National Security Advisor and the Press Secretary. With hidden parachutes, he helps most of the hostages escape, but the President is eventually captured. When the gun is placed to the head of the First Daughter, the President finally relents. He places the call to the Russian President to ask for Radek's release. Korshunov then reveals he has lied: he won't be letting anyone go. This leads to the President's dramatic fight back and his eventual order to Korshunov in the cargo bay to "Get off my plane!" The terrorist eventually does escape the plane in his own parachute, but not before his neck is broken by the President in the process.
During the hostage situation on AFO, Korshunov was incredibly vile. When killing a hostage, he'd put the cabin speakers on so everyone could hear the person die. Then threatening the lives of the First Lady and Daughter pushed the President over the edge. He may be a nationalist - some might say, a patriot - but his methods and actions weren't about to be approved by Americans or Russians.
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