Written by Old Bluffer 13th Nov 2006
The plot of Executive Decision involves a hijacked passenger plane carrying enough DZ5 nerve agent to "wipe out half the Eastern seaboard".
It is headed straight for Washington DC and is of course filled with various interesting characters, meaning that the Americans need to make a token rescue attempt before blowing it out of the sky.
From the opening scene, Austin Travis is shown to be an archetypal, flint eyed, knife wielding, US military hero - in other words, he is pretty much the same character Steven Seagal plays in all of his films.
Just in case the sight of Travis gunning down terrorists and rescuing hostages at the beginning of the film isn't clear enough though, we have senior military staff expounding on his sheer studliness with lines like:
"I know you wrote the book on assaulting hijacked aircraft!"
The only problem is that Travis is normally used to attacking planes that have already landed, but this clearly isn't an option in this case.
Cut to a modified Stealth Fighter, with an amusing telescopic tunnel contraption fitted by a Boffin. This device, known as a remora, defies the laws of aerodynamics by attaching itself to the underside of a plane, allowing Seagal's hand picked squad to board the craft unseen.
A special mention should be given to this squad, as Travis clearly believes in ethnic diversity in the workplace - he has an Asian, an African American, a typical Caucasian jarhead and a Latino. Kurt Russell is also on board as a civillian expert on the terrorist responsible (he is also shown at the start of the film taking flying lessons, so it is 100% certain he will have to land the 747 at the end of the movie).
This politically correct force soon docks with the hijacked plane, and starts to crawl up through the tunnel.
Turbulence strikes at the worst possible moment though, and during the chaos, the pressure seal begins to fail, with Travis not yet with his squad.
Kurt Russell (who has of course contrived to go up the shaft, even though he was supposed to stay on the stealth jet) tells Travis "We're not going to make it!"
"You are" says Travis, and he does the only thing he can, closing the hatch with himself on the wrong side.
Cut to Steven Seagal's body being swept out at 30,000 feet without a parachute.
Yes, you read that correctly, Steven Seagal dies. And it's not even at the climax of the movie, it happens halfway through!
Anyone who is a fan of the Action Movie genre will know what an unprecedented death this is, especially as Seagal was presented with all the usual cliches that telegraph that he will be the film's hero.
For that reason, I've rated this death quite highly, simply for the sheer surprise factor.
IMDB report that Seagal objected to his character dying, on the grounds that "his fans wouldn't like it" and only consented when threatened with breach of contract. If this is true, then it makes the death even more amusing!