March 15, 1996 in Seven

Decisions, Decisions - And All At 36,000 Feet In The Air

Michael H. Price Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Weigh the safety of the populace of Washington, D.C., against a “mere” 400 lives aboard a doomed airliner, and you’ve got the elemental quandary that sets “Executive Decision” in motion.

This one feels considerably more real than all those other Steven Seagal movies - mainly because it’s the first Steven Seagal movie to relegate the action star to a supporting role.

Kurt Russell, a talent of more serious dramatic credentials, actually has the top-lining honors here, and he’s a generous enough player to let Seagal show off. Halle Berry plays an in-flight attendant who helps Seagal and Russell take a stand against airborne terrorism.

Russell is an intelligence analyst who determines that a hijacked plane - originally offered in trade for an imprisoned terrorist leader - is actually loaded with a nerve toxin and set on a collision course with Washington.

Although a pretty nervy sort despite his introversion, Russell aligns himself with Special Forces tough guy Seagal in a scam to dock with the captive jet five miles over the Atlantic. Everything goes wrong that can.

Amid all the noise and explosive hoo-hah customary with this variety of picture, screenwriters Jim Thomas and John Thomas have gone to some character-development pains. The terrorists represent convenient stereotypes, but the rescuers are a varied and intriguing mix. First-time director Stuart Baird puts to good use all the pacing experience that comes with his film editing background.

xxxx Locations: Newport and Coeur d’Alene cinemas Credits: Directed by Stuart Baird; starring Kurt Russell, Halle Berry, Steven Seagal Running time: 2:15 Rating: R

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