Fictional president in Air Force One (1997)
Portrayed by Harrison Ford
Age: Ford was 55 when the movie was released
PROS: Medal of Honor — We are told briefly that during the Vietnam War, Marshall flew a bunch of rescue missions, enough for him to earn the highest military decoration bestowed by the U.S. government.
Since more than half of its honorees were done so posthumously, living to get the medal shows a mix of heroics and survivability.
Granted, that was the Vietnam War. What about more recently?
Have you even SEEN Air Force One? — Marshall kicked ass for pretty much the entirety of the movie, and it’s a pretty insane storyline, too.
If you’ve yet to see this movie I should warn you that the following is pretty much going to be a spoiler alert a-go-go. Feel free to skip this section and take our word for it or just read and have the movie spelled out for you.
Three weeks after special forces from the U.S. and Russia apprehended the self-proclaimed leader of Kazakhstan, General
The First Family was still on board, as were major top advisers, so there was still plenty of hostage material for the hijackers. But what everyone on the plane didn’t know was that even with his own men getting picked off right outside of the pod, Marshall sneaked out of it before it launched, choosing "killing bad guys" over safety.
While hiding in the bowels of the craft, Marshall was able to pick off a few of the hijackers and get in touch with the White House. At which point, he ordered U.S. craft to fire a missile at Air Force One, knowing that the missile wouldn’t actually hit the craft, but would give enough of a jolt to give him an opportunity to kill more bad guys. He spoke Russian to bait one of the hijackers to the lower level, which allowed him the opportunity to free most of the hostages, including the new Postmaster General-designee.
|I told you there were going to be a lot of spoiler alerts.|
But at that point there was still about 20 minutes left of movie left, so there was still plenty of ass for Marshall to kick.
With all of the bad guys — that they know of — dead, as well as everyone qualified to fly the plane, Marshall took the helm at the cockpit. Remember, he had experience flying in the Vietnam War, but that was with flying helicopters and single-engine planes. Air Force One has four engines, and that’s an entirely different kind of flying, altogether.
|"It's an entirely different kind of flying."|
|In the words of Wilson Philips: Hold on|
I’d say the Presidential Gladiatorial Arena wouldn’t be much of a problem after that ordeal.
CONS: Impulsive — There’s a line between being heroic and being dangerous. Marshall blows past that line with such vigor, he probably didn’t even see the line, not that he would have cared about the line in the first place. There were plenty of times in the movie where Marshall could have easily been killed.
We learn early on that Marshall just doesn’t give a shit. Just before the hijacking, Marshall made an appearance in Moscow. Without telling anyone, he switched speeches just as he was about to make an address during a function in Moscow. In this new speech, he declared that the U.S. will no longer let its self-interests deter it from doing what’s morally right. In other words, if a nation starts dabbling in, say, ethnic cleansing, the U.S. will no longer play the weak hand and impose trade sanctions and things like that. No, the U.S. will go in and remove the genocidal maniac.
There’s no way Congress will go for this and this could totally screw with his chances for re-election, but he doesn’t care. He says it’s the right thing to do.
While I agree and it’s the way the world should work, I can't imagine if we adopted this policy today. You think our military is spread thin now? What if we took it upon ourselves to depose every dictator in the world or if we stuck our nose in every pro-democracy movement going on right now in Northern Africa and the Middle East — not just the ones with oil?
What if we got serious about telling China to knock it off with the human rights violations? Yeah, that's a whole mess waiting to happen.
Gary Oldman — Don’t get me wrong, Oldman is an excellent actor. However, if I’m in a movie and I see him, I’m going to keep an eye on him. I’m no enemy of civil rights, but c’mon. The dude usually spells bad news.
Oldman plays the bad guy so well, there’s no reason not to suspect him of being up to anything. Ever.
It has honestly been a long time since I’ve seen The Fifth Element, but the Wikipedia article tells me that he was the ally of Great Evil, so I’m going to go ahead and assume he was the bad guy. He played the bad guy in Léon. He even played Dracula in Dracula!
For crying out loud, if you’re on security detail for Air Force One, and Oldman shows up posing as a Russian journalist, make a mental note. If he later complains about having to have his bag searched again, keep on him for the entire flight.
|Sorry, Mr. Korshunov, but we're going to have to handcuff you to your seat. |
You were the pimp in True Romance.
Served from 1933-1945
Age during term: 51-63
PROS: Durability — Prior to FDR's presidency, there had been something of an unwritten rule saying that no president would serve more than two terms. The closest anyone had come was, coincidentally enough, FDR's distant cousin Teddy Roosevelt, who ran (unsuccessfully) for a third* term in 1912. In general, though, the "two terms" rule was a generally respected gentleman's agreement among presidents.
|Other gentlemen's agreements that were eventually discarded: not letting Nicolas Cage get any ideas.|
|Though some people seem to have missed that.|
Creativity — So, Roosevelt wasn't the first person to think up the idea of spending your way out of an economic catastrophe, but he was definitely the first person to apply those principles to something the size of, you know, the Great Depression. Roosevelt championed a policy of relief, reform, and regulation, which generally translated to "get people jobs, get the economy moving, and clamp down on shenanigans." This meant radically increasing the size of government to unprecedented levels. And whaddaya know, it kinda worked! The economy started to creak back to life, and started chugging back in the right direction... well, until 1937, when the wheels fell off again. Unfortunately, by that time, a bipartisan coalition of conservative legislators had gotten together to help thwart Roosevelt's continued reforms (because when you have someone with a track record of fixing the economy, the best thing you can do is throw a stick into his spokes).
|"Because the opposite of 'progress' has gotta be 'Congress,' amirite?"|
CONS: Oh, right, he was paralyzed — No real way to sugar-coat this one, but... yeah. While vacationing in Nova Scotia in 1921, FDR contracted a mysterious illness. Initially diagnosed as polio (though it probably wasn't), the end result was that the future president became paralyzed from the waist down.
|"Remember, child, no one must ever know about this."|
However, you have to assume any opponent born after FDR's reign is going to know the truth of the situation, and Marshall is definitely born post-FDR. Once FDR goes down, he's not getting back up.
And, the rest of his health wasn't so hot, either — Starting around 1940, a mounting series of health problems started to besiege FDR. And when we say "health problems," we mean diseases including chronic high blood pressure, emphysema, systemic atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease with angina pectoris, and myopathic hypertensive heart disease with congestive heart failure." (Thanks, Wikipedia!) Things were so bad, one doctor, upon seeing Roosevelt in a newsreel in 1944, remarked "It doesn't matter whether Roosevelt is re-elected or not, he'll die of a cerebral hemorrhage within 6 months." Sure enough, five months after being sworn in, FDR made that guy look like a real asshole.
|Not that his colleagues were surprised.|
Tony: Okay, I'll be the first to acknowledge that this might not seem like a fair fight. But you know who knows a bit about unfair fights? Franklin Delano Roosevelt. After all, dude managed to pull off a succession of difficult elections, conduct the greatest war in human history, and go toe-to-toe with Joseph Freaking Stalin, without spilling the beans that he couldn't stand up long enough to sing the national anthem. Dude's been through his share of unfair fights, and if Marshall doesn't recognize, he's going to be left face down in the arena while FDR steams onto the second round.
Doug: Succession of difficult elections? In his four elections, he never received less than 80% of the electoral votes. Oh, I suppose he was really given a challenge in 1944 when Republican nominee Thomas Dewey racked up 99 votes... almost triple digits... oooh!
I sound like I'm arguing for FDR, but really, I'm pointing out that these were political battles.
I don't want to seem like the lesson of The Tortoise and the Hare was completely lost on me, but you really can't get around the wheelchair factor.
Tony: First, I would think that ANY election, especially one for national office, would be difficult if you were trying to hide the fact that you couldn't really walk. But I digress. What you're discounting is that Roosevelt went through two post-paralysis election cycles running for Governor of New York. Given that he only won election in 1928 by 1% of the vote, I'd call that tough, thanks. He did much better in 1930, but there was quite a lot of mudslinging and corruption accusations for that match. Just because he breezed to four terms as president, doesn't mean he didn't know how to scrap in the trenches, as it were.
Doug: Oh, it most certainly will be a cake walk, alright. It will be much like Claude Debussy's Golliwogg's Cakewalk — only less racist.
Tony: Anyone who drags Debussy into this argument is a Clair de Lunatic. Goodness.
Doug: Look, I'd call shenanigans on FDR being allowed to wear leg braces, since it was argued that Kang wouldn't be allowed a breathing apparatus, but I'm not going to. I'll leave that for The Chief or for the voters to do. Marshall can take care of FDR, even with FDR's leg armor. An unarmed Marshall beat up armed terrorists — multiple times.
The leg-braced FDR that Marshall would be fighting would be Tin Man-esque at best.
|Only with a heart|
Tony: No, we're clearly going to have to defer to the readers on this. Isn't that what we did with Kang? And Kang won. So, I guess I can see why you'd want to keep the voters out of it, as their precise and focused judgment spells doom for your boy Marshall.
Doug: I find you referring to me as a lunatic oddly ironic.
Tony: Ironic? Okay, this I'd like to hear explained.
Doug: You're calling me a lunatic, yet arguing that FDR — who couldn't even stay standing for the lengthy of the national anthem — has a chance against Marshall — who has killed a Gary Oldman character. Not only are you implying that FDR has a chance, you're making it sound like FDR would turn the Arena into an almost literal "Temple of Doom" for Marshall.
|While terrible, another Harrison Ford character survived Temple of Doom|
And I never said anything about wanting to keep the voters out of it. No, believe me, I want voters to tell us who they think will win: the paralyzed man (with or without the leg braces) who led us through our Nazi killing period or the guy who fought terrorists. Like, literally. Hand-to-hand. And won.
The only thing that might stop Marshall from obliterating his opponent is that he might take pity on FDR. Marshall probably doesn't want to beat up FDR, it's not the right thing to do. Is that why you think I said I didn't want to take this to voters? Because I was afraid the pity vote would come out?
Get off my plane! (That's my Air Force One equivalent to "Get out of town.")
The Chief: As always, polls close 9am on Friday. Vote and comment!