Fun review of Air Force One! I haven't seen it in a long time; you've made me want to give it another look.
You mentioned Jerry Goldsmith's generic score. Originally, Randy Newman wrote a really fantastic score for the film. Alas, it was thrown out at the last minute (rumors abound regard the reason, one of which is that Petersen felt Newman was attempting to slyly satirize his movie), so Goldsmith was hauled in to write a replacement score. Unfortunately, he only had about three weeks to do so, so he frantically put together some all-American bombast and hired Joel McNeely to write some of the less interesting passages (McNeely scored about 1/3rd of the film). So, that would be the reason for the less-than-inspired nature of the score.
- Your Friendly Neighborhood Jerry Goldsmith Apologist