Today’s post is a movie review. I don’t know why more of my posts aren’t movie reviews. In fact I watch so many movies I should have a job doing reviews. Maybe when I retire.
The movie I will be reviewing is Olympus Has Fallen, starring Gerard Butler as Mike Banning, a Secret Service agent guarding the President, Morgan Freeman as Speaker Trumbull the Speaker of the House and that guy that played Harvey Two Face in The Black Knight Rises and the guy who discovers that the world is about to end in The Core. You know – that guy. Anyway, he plays the President. Of the United States. Of America. In case you didn’t realize which President I was referring to.
Aaron Eckhart!!!! (The guy that plays the President, Benjamin Asher).
Overall I’d have to say that I would give the movie a thumbs up. There were no real painful moments of horrid dialogue and the acting was good so I would rate it as entertaining, although there are some parts where the American rah-rah was cloying. But what can you expect from an American made movie with actors running around in uniform.
So to get us to where the action starts the President is at Camp David with his wife and son. We see Banning sparring with the President showing that they have a relationship of some kind as I am assuming that not just anybody would be allowed to punch the President for any reason.
Then we see that Banning has a relationship with the President’s son, Connor, when the boy asks to ride with Banning in the motorcade taking the President and his family to a political function.
The first bit of excitement we encounter is when the Presidents motorcade comes to a bridge going over Chesapeake Bay. It has snowed heavily since the opening scene and the motorcade was ordered to slow just before getting to the bridge. The lead car starts over the bridge and hits a patch of ice. Slam on the brakes, show spinning vehicles, watch as the lead car breaks through the barrier and plunges into the Bay. The Presidential limo spins perfectly into the hole made by the lead car.
Drama ensues with Banning having to make the choice of saving the President or the first lady. Of course he makes the correct choice, the President, and is banished from the Presidents protective detail. (I know, it doesn’t make sense.)
My first problem with this movie occurs here. Sorry, problems plural. First, how is it that the President is going to be driven across a bridge and nobody thought to put salt or sand on it? Bridges naturally ice up first.
Second, with the limo hanging over the edge of the bridge and balancing precariously, only two agents go to the trunk and attempt to prevent the limo from toppling forward. But do they jump on the trunk and use their entire body weight to do this? No. That would make sense. Instead they put their hands on the trunk and try to manhandle the car back down. That’s right. They try brute strength.
Meanwhile there are up to three more agents standing around facing away from the limo as if they think this is some kind of terrorist assault. I’m thinking three more bodies on the trunk might have done the trick but apparently the agents didn’t think so. Result – first lady dies and Banning gets removed from the detail.
Fast forward. Banning now has desk detail in the Treasury building. (Just a side note here. As well as being responsible for the protection of the President, his family, the VP and visiting foreign dignitaries, the Secret Service is responsible for investigating counterfeiting.) Meanwhile the President is hosting the South Korean Prime Minister and his entourage at the White House.
This is where things start getting really crazy. A group of North Koreans manage to blow up the perimeter fence at the White House, pull fully automatic weapons out of their backpacks including RPG’s, drive 2 garbage trucks up to the fence, blow the tires and pop out 2 50cal machine guns.
The defending Service agents run right into this deadly barrage without giving a single thought to shooting from cover except Banning, who has now made it to the White House. Well of course he does. He’s the hero right?
While this is going on the American response team is racing to the White House at a leisurely pace. It is so pathetic that even with wide open streets they seem to be doing no more than the speed limit. I mean it’s only the President right? Maybe they didn’t vote for the guy.
So for dramatic effect we see the bad guys having taken over the White House and cutting down the American flag and throwing it to the ground and the good guys showing up late for the prom. Ooooh. You can cut the tension with a knife.
If the believability train hasn’t jumped the rails yet it is about to.
We find out that the head of the South Korean Prime Minister’s security detail is actually one of the most wanted terrorists in the world and is a North Korean who shoots the Prime Minister on camera while making his demands to the newly appointed acting President, Speaker Trumbull, aka. Morgan Freeman. (The Americans are using high-tech facial recognition software, biometrics, monitoring every phone-call on the planet, putting thousands of their own citizens on no-fly lists and feeling up air travellers but they not only drop the ball on this guy but put him in proximity to the President in the Presidents own bunker? “And you think a little head jiggle is supposed to make me happy – hmmm?”)
We also find out that said terrorist got his intel about the White House defenses and the military response from a traitorous ex-Secret Service agent played by Dylan McDermott who got his big start in the movie Hamburger Hill. What this doesn’t explain is how the terrorists got the information for the top-secret Hydra 6 defense platform which the terrorists not only got their hands on but were able to set up underneath the White House roof, complete with an hydraulic lifting device, but also how they came upon the knowledge of the Ultra secret Cerberus system whereby a nuclear missile could be destroyed in flight, since not even Banning knew about it and he was the in charge of the President’s security detail.
Now ever since Banning got into the White House he’s been running around finding hidden cache’s of weapons and communication devices. He’s been isolating the bunker from the outside world and kicking the shit out of every commando they send after him, treating us to a brutal but slightly amusing interrogation of 2 captured commando’s. Oh, and he also got the Presidents son out of the White House. Just another day at the office.
Now back to the bunker.
The head terrorist dude has made his demands to the acting Pres. Recall the 7th fleet and remove the 28,000 U.S. troops from the demilitarized zone along the North/South Korean border. So what would any good,loyal, acting American President do who is sworn to act in the best interests of the American people and knowing that those American forces are the only thing stopping the North Korean’s from invading the South? Hell yes!!! Capitulate to the terrorist of course. I mean what are the lives of millions of South Korean’s compared with 20 or so American lives. It’s not like they can’t get another President. They appointed your sorry ass to the job didn’t they?
This sets the stage for the always dramatic attempt to regain the White House by the military who believe they are so superior that when they are informed by Banning that the terrorists are in possession of an operative Hydra 6 weapon the General advising the Acting Pres. states that they will get around it.
So this Ultra secret weapons system that is specifically designed to counter the exact thing that you are attempting is going to pose no problem at all? Well then why the hell did you develop it in the first place?
What happens? The American forces get their asses handed to them by their own weapon. I guess on one level they should be happy that it worked. Then General shit-head orders Banning, who has somehow survived a 2 story fall from the roof to the ground floor when he jumped out-of-the-way of a helicopter exploding into the White House roof, to stand down. Banning then gives one of the better lines in the movie when he says, “Well here’s a newsflash. I don’t work for you asshole.”
The acting Pres. then shows he’s got a pair by rather forcefully telling the General to sit down and only speak when he’s asked a question. A rather satisfying moment.
Back to the bunker.
The reason for the attempted incursion by the American’s was because 2 of the 3 Cerberus codes had been entered into the computer. “How is that possible?” you ask. Well not without a little violence and a lot of treason.
Now this is my biggest problem with this movie. It’s my personal pet peeve and might not even register on your ethical radar but it bothers me. The Cerberus system is based on 3 passwords that must be entered to activate the system and it just so happens that all 3 people with the codes are in the bunker. What are the odds? Well it’s Hollywood.
The 3 people are the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the Secretary of Defense and the President. Kang, (terrorist dude), takes the Chairman and places his head on a chair in front of the restrained President. Kang then puts a knife to the General’s throat and orders him to give up his password. He refuses dramatically but then the President, in a glaring act of treason, orders him to tell Kang his password. The President’s thinking is that he won’t give up his code so it won’t hurt for the General to give them his.
Time passes. Then the Secretary of Defense, in this case a woman, is taken behind the President and when she very patriotically tells Kang to, “Go fuck yourself!,” Kang then proceeds to try and convince her by repeatedly punching and kicking her liver. Well between the screaming and the wheezing the President orders her to give up her code, which she reluctantly does.
Then we find out Kang’s motives. While he was busy getting the first 2 codes his associate was hard at work trying to crack the Presidents code thus making him unnecessary. So we see the intent all along was to get the Cerberus codes and the people in the war room finally realize that Kang doesn’t want to blow up just one missile but ALL of them killing millions of Americans in the process.
This sets up the classic scenario where the protagonist and the antagonist have their inevitable showdown, the protagonist winning of course, as well as saving the President, but not before he justly gets shot, and then saves the day by entering the abort code and stopping the countdown 3 second before American doomsday.
Did I say that I liked the movie? Well I did but it required an almost unhealthy dose of suspension of disbelief. I mean the American military are presented as impotent misfits but they’re running around boasting about how bad-assed they are while one guy saves the day.
They really do need to come up with a different template for these movies. Even Nostradamus could predict how these things will end.
There’s a name for creative movies in Hollywood. They’re called Indie films.