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As soon as a man gets married and begins his family, a certain protective instinct takes over. No matter what situation presents itself, a man’s first thought is that of protecting his family from harm. The theme, although a man’s job may be very important, his main concern in life is to protect his family, is shown in both of the movies Air Force One and Patriot Games. In both movies, a man and his family encounter terrorist actions in which the man has to put his family’s lives before his own.
The movie Air Force One begins with the President of the United States of America boarding the aircraft, Air Force One with his wife, daughter, and staff. Just after liftoff from Moscow, the plane is attacked and taken over by terrorists, who were smuggled onboard by a member of the president’s staff. As soon as this happened, the secret service put the president into a small pod, which was designed to get the president off of the plane in case of an emergency. As they forced him into the pod, his only concern was for his family. He yelled out “Where’s my family? What about my family?” (Air Force One). Secretly, the president got out of the pod to stay behind and save his family. The terrorists demanded that one of their former leaders be released from jail. If he was not released, they were going to start killing the presidential staff, including the first family. The president remained hidden and secretly plotted how to get to his family and defeat the terrorists. It finally came down to the president against the terrorists. The terrorists wanted the president to call the prison that their leader was in and have him released. If the president did not want to make the call, he had to choose to kill either his wife or his daughter. In the end, he decided to call the prison and release the terrorist over killing his family. This showed that the only thing that mattered to him was his family.
This same theme holds true for the movie Patriot Games. In this movie the main character is CIA agent Jack Ryan who, while on vacation in England, stops terrorists from killing a member of the Royal Family.
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The common theme between both of these movies is the man’s role to protect his family beyond anything else no matter how important his job may be. In Air Force One, the main character is the President of the United States; yet, when faced with the dilemma of whether to save himself or stay and help his family, he chose his family over everything else. In the movie, the president was meant to get off the plane so that he could deal with the terrorists from land. Instead, he chose his family’s life over the safety and dignity of his country. He had just made a speech to the world that the United States would not negotiate with terrorists; however, when faced with either releasing a man from jail or killing his family, he immediately chose releasing a terrorist from jail. His main concern through the whole movie was his family’s wellbeing. The same goes for the movie Patriot Games. After his family is shot at on the freeway, Jack Ryan goes to work hunting the terrorists so that his family is never harmed again. He makes public statements against the Irish Republican Army, which could have gotten him killed. Then, when the terrorists come to his house to kill him and his family, he put his family’s life above his own by hiding his wife and child in a closet while he takes on the terrorists alone.
Although both of these movies are fictional, they depict the idea that when a man has a family, they come first in his life. A father and husband will give his own life to ensure that his family will remain safe. In both movies, the man is triumphant against his attackers and keeps what matters to him the most unharmed.
Air Force One. Dir. Wolfgang Peterson. Perf. Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, Wendy Crewson, Paul Guilfoyle, William H. Macy, Liesel Matthews, Dean Stockwell, Glenn Close. Columbia Pictures, 1997.
Patriot Games. Dir. Phillip Noyce. Perf. Harrison Ford, Anne Archer, Patrick Bergin, Sean Bean, Thora Birch, James Fox, James Earl Jones, Richard Harris. Paramount Pictures, 1992.