Movie Review: Executive Decision (1996)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the action movie starring Kurt Russell and Steven Seagal.

Synopsis: Terrorists hijack an airliner and an intelligence analyst accompanies a group of commandos as they sneak on board the plane in an effort to save the passengers. When communications are lost, they must find a way to overpower the terrorists and disarm a bomb loaded with a nerve agent before the military shoots it down as a last resort.

Who's In It?


I first watched this movie some time ago, but didn't remember much about it. So, when I had a chance to watch it earlier today, I decided to do so. I wasn't really sure what to expect from it, but it turned out to be a good choice.

The thing I really liked about this movie was the way the commandos faced what, at times at least, seemed like an impossible mission. Right off the bat, their commander (Seagal) is killed, their bomb expert is severely injured and a variety of other mistakes nearly results in them being discovered before they had a chance to do anything. And, as the movie progressed, more challenges kept popping up to keep them from making any real progress.

The Pentagon decision to shoot down the plane as a last resort added a whole new element to the movie because, in addition to their other challenges, the commandos were working against the clock and, thanks to the communications being cut off, the decision makers in Washington D. C. were working on the assumption their mission failed.

Of course, along these lines, I was honestly a little disappointed by the decision to kill off Seagal's character so early in the movie. He is such a well-known actor and had the potential to bring a lot of energy to his character. Yet, he didn't even make it on the plane. It just seemed like such a waste, especially since I could see his character and Russell's character having some personality clashes.

I also had a bit of a mixed opinion of Berry's performance as the flight attendant, Jean. She played her role well. But, her character seemed to have a few too many limitations and, because of that, I'm not sure if she reached her full potential. It would have been better so see her a bit more involved at times, especially toward the end, when plenty of action was taking place at once and she just faded into the background and contributed very little.

Final Opinion

This is a decent action movie. However, I feel the film wastes some of its biggest names by either not giving them enough to do or simply killing them before they had a chance. It was good but, had it done a better job using the talented cast, I think it would have been much more memorable.

My Grade: B

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Updated: 11/07/2015, StevenHelmer
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