I have to say that this film was very entertaining, but I'm pretty sure not in the way the filmmakers intended.
Gary Oldman is to be commended for his grasp of the Russian dialogue he had to perform, he really wasn't half bad, and I was impressed. I rarely hear actors who actually sound like they have some idea of what they're saying, and it's a refreshing change.
Besides that, the whole thing was pretty laughable. I actually burst out laughing when they deployed the Presidential escape capsule (yes, really) and the jingoistic Americans rock, everyone else sucks tone throughout is so extreme it is also pretty funny.
Several pivotal moments happen on open hatches for no actual reason beyond the desire to up the jeopardy. Several scenes end up being pretty silly due to attempts to up the ante. The President actually ends up hanging on by his fingertips from an open cargo hatch at one point, as Secret Service dudes fly past him to their deaths.
There are some utterly transparent attempts to make sure you KNOW the Kazakh guys are Evil Men, such as a rather manipulative scene in which the captives all say how nice a woman is before she gets shot in the head in front of the First Lady and First Daughter, just in case you'd failed to notice that the Terrorists Are Evil Communists With No Conscience. Whereas on the other side, the pilots (some of the few actually admirable characters in the film, refusing to capitulate at the cost of their lives) die with no fanfare or regret, and the poor beggars who refuel the plane get their aircraft blown up messily and plummet to their deaths in a ball of fire and no one seems to give a crap.
The only villainous American is left literally standing at the door of the aeroplane roaring his displeasure just before it crashes into the sea and disintegrates.
What's sad to me is that there is a potentially interesting story here - what will a President do, after stating outright that there will be no negotiations with terrorists, when it's his family in the line of fire? It would have been more interesting if he WASN'T on board, and actually had to think about negotiating, rather than doing the whole unlikely action hero bit.
But the totally ridiculous aspects, including the fact that said President essentially saves the day nigh on single handed, pretty much turn this into a film of the brainless summer blockbuster variety, and not even a particularly good example of that. The entertainment value came almost entirely from disbelieving laughter at the more bizarre and far fetched moments, and a kind of horrified fascination with how unbelievably silly the entire premise and plot are. If you want to turn your brain off for a couple of hours, there are worse ways to spend your time, but I can't imagine actually having paid six quid for this or having any desire to watch it again. One to borrow, not buy.