This Is a Blog: Great Scenes From Bad Movies: Executive Decision

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Great Scenes From Bad Movies: Executive Decision

Calling "Executive Decision" bad is a matter of taste. At the very least, it's not very good. It's a basic genre pic: terrorists on plane, someone on the plane must stop them. The whole getting commandos onto the plane using a technique similar to how they got Alec Baldwin onto the Red October was a neat, little twist, but overall this movie is run of the mill. Kurt Russell plays a scientist, but since he's played by Kurt Russell, we know he can kick some ass. The terrorists are Arabs, so we know they won't succeed. Steven Seagall's in it, so he's going to fight some people. Been there, done that.

What makes this movie even remotely memorable is one good scene.

This movie was billed as the great coming together of action stars Seagal and Russell. In the trailers, the big moment was always Seagal closing the hatch on Russell, locking him on the passenger jet and putting him in charge. We all thought Seagal was hanging up his action spurs and handing the reigns to the [slightly] younger Russell. We all imagined Seagal kicking ass on the ground while Russell took charge in the sky. That didn't so much happen.

Because Steven Seagal fucking dies.

In a move they could never pull off in the days of the internet, the studio managed to keep it a secret that Steven Seagal gets sucked out of the plane right after he closes that hatch. Movie studios couldn't lie to us, right? Seagal must have landed somewhere coincidentally useful, right? The audience didn't know what hit them. They had spent the last few minutes wondering how everyone was going to get out of this unscathed. Maybe some lieutenant would die, but when Seagal was the last one through the hatch, we sat at the edges of our seats waiting to see how the great Steven Seagal would get back safely into the stealth fighter. When he didn't, we were shocked, but more importantly, we were hooked.

This movie whose basic premise is interesting enough to keep us watching but not memorable enough to make us care pulled off one of the most stunning tricks in film history. You'd expect that kind of adept manipulation from Alfred Hitchcock (Psycho) or Wes Craven (Scream) but not from the guy who did Lethal Weapon (Stuart Baird). Those who saw the movie just for Seagal might have been disappointed, but for the rest of us, it was the one shining moment in a vanilla sort of movie.

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