Thursday, October 03, 2013

Olympus Has Fallen and It Can't Get Up

OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN: So some North Korean bad guys want some prisoners released, so they manage to put together a cargo plane equipped with enough weapons (defensive and offensive) to fend off fighter jets and surface-to-air missiles (!) and launch an attack on Washington D.C. and the White House. Meanwhile, semi-disgraced secret service agent Mike Banning (great hero name! Wasn't he the tough guy on Jonny Quest?), played by Gerard Butler, winds up being the last man standing inside the White House after the really suicidal terrorists manage to capture the President and his top aides.

Look, this sort of movie is what it is. I'm a big fan of 80's style style action movies so in the immortal words of George W. Bush, "bring it on!" But a couple of things:

First, this movie is amazingly blood-thirsty.  The filmmakers wanted to make the attack feel dangerous and visceral, so when the magical Korean gunship bears down on the Washington monument and opens fire, tourists and guards and hapless acres of sod are blown apart in an orgy of CGI blood spurts and dust pops.  That's followed by a ground assault where dozens of secret service agents (and bad guys) are blasted. This is not the "war is heck" version of a White House takeover. 

Second, as much as I love old style action movies, I find myself more fascinating post-viewing by contemplating the logistics involved.  There's an entire movie in showing these North Korean bad guys recruiting a disgruntled American secret service agent, buying a cargo plane and amassing the high tech arms used in the attack.  I have no idea if the missile defense system aboard the cargo plane exists or would actually work, but the planning and devising that went into building it would be compelling.  And there's a whole 'nother movie in how the bad guys managed to insinuate themselves into the Korean delegation, gathered their suicidal forces and got them into the United States.

But watching Mike Banning kick a lot of ass is fun too... 



Anonymous Iain said...

Hey, Mark. I watched 'Olympus Has Fallen' a few weeks ago on iTunes, and I was amazed at the laziness of the writing. There was no explanation of how the villains got all their gear, or what that 'next-generation' anti-aircraft system was, or how it was stolen, or why the Whitehouse, a supposedly impregnable building, appeared to be made of balsa wood and tissue paper.

Really, it made movies like 'Die Hard' and 'The Rock' look like marvels of exposition to me.

8:28 AM  
Blogger Mark Verheiden said...

Well, there is that! And yes, I would like to assume that the White House has been structurally reinforced... that military help wouldn't be "14 minutes away" in the event of a full scale attack... and that even with super-duper anti-missile gear, American jet fighters could take down a rickety cargo plane jury-rigged with what must have been many tons of weapons and ammunition... but what the heck. Suspension of disbelief is sometimes required...

9:41 AM  

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