One of the first action films I remember seeing where one of the big name leading heroes bites the dust very early on in the film, this was actually quite surprising at the time as you would have never suspected Seagal to die...at least not so early! As it stands this one 'action' in the film gives it real bite above so many others as you really are not so sure what will happen next and who will get blown away.
Obviously Russell won't kick the bucket, that you can put money on but the tension in this film is still feverish as you watch, even after all this time it still holds its own and packs a good solid punch. The plot revolving around Muslim terrorists taking over a passenger airliner with the aim of using it as a weapon of destruction is quite close to the bone these days after all the horrific things that have happened since this film was made, this does make you think and actually makes the film quite haunting and more realistic.
As it goes the film is pretty darn realistic anyway, the special forces unit all proceed in a believeable way, at no point is this film a shoot em up, its actually pretty tight and well thought out. The inner plane sets, aerial shots and bomb sequences all work really well and look good, looking at this film from the posters you would think its a mindless action fest but that is far from the truth, it really is a very good well made thriller.
Add to this a top notch cast with quite a few big names including Platt and Leguizamo in very likeable roles, Berry on ultra cute form and top British thesp David Suchet showing us that he's actually a really good movie actor as well as TV drama star and gives Rickman a run for his money as top well spoken villain.