I saw this on my flight back from Rome. I tried something new, a review in real time, where I watched and typed, watched and typed.
Big trouble early. The First Lady is Ashley Judd and she telegraphs where we may be going when she tells our hero, Secret Service agent Gerard Butler, that the president (Aaron Eckhart) can get the country off its dependence on foreign oil but cannot pick her earrings. I think I know who the bad guys are.
President Eckhart and wife leave Camp David in a motorcade in brutal, snowy weather, they hit black ice, and as the car totters on a bridge, Butler must make a tough call. Goodbye Ashley.
18 months later, Butler is haunted. And cashiered at the dreaded desk job at Treasury. Martial music portends trouble and Butler is dressed for it. Unshaven, dark on dark, like Christopher Moltisanti.
A massive unidentified military plane gets in near spitting distance of the White House before receiving a final warning from the two, and only two, jets hawking it. When it shoots the jets down, and starts shooting up the White House, no worries. We send one, as in the loneliest number, other jet to intercept. The threat is seemingly neutralized at the expense of the top of the Washington Monument.
As this goes on above ground, the President is hurried to his bunker beneath the White House with the VP, the Secretary of Defense (Melissa Leo), the South Korean prime minister and a boatload of aides and security personnel. The president is apparently a sexist, because it is Leo to whom he says, “Ruth. Where is my son?” Sadly, she did not respond, “I’m not the fu**ing nanny.”
Meanwhile, Butler is out in the street in front of the White House, which is suddenly overrun with Asian ninja-skilled terrorists. He’s killing a boatload and it is on, on like Donkey Kong.
Oh snap. The president gets jumped by the South Korean prime minister’s security team. They’re really North Korean! [insert joke here] And the White House has been overrun above ground and below . . . Hey, wait. Olympus HAS fallen!
Luckily, Butler is in Olympus. He’s John McClane! I’m intrigued. Forget the play by play. I watch uninterrupted. This experiment has failed.
LATER: I was wrong about the bad guys. Not big oil. Former Secret Service agent Dylan McDermott went traitor and snapped at the president about “globalization and Wall Street” and the $500 million necessary to buy the presidency. I smell Tea Party, who as we all know, have a natural affinity for the North Koreans.
Regardless of its politics, this is the most anti-American film I’ve ever seen. Not so much philosophically, but competence-wise. As noted, the Secret Service takes the President on icy bridges at night and the skies around D.C. have become a lot friendlier 12 years after 9-11.
Also, Morgan Freeman is Speaker of House and thus, acting president. Freeman is also a total puss. He actually started withdrawing troops from the Korean DMZ and the Seventh Fleet after the terrorists killed the VP and threatened to kill the President.
President Eckhart makes Freeman seem like Teddy Roosevelt. It seems the U.S. has a nuclear failsafe system. 3 people can provide numbers to defuse our nuclear missiles in case of a rogue launch, making us defenseless in the process, which seems to be the aim of the terrorists. So what does Eckhart do? He orders two of the code handlers to give up their codes so they won’t be killed. Eckhart has the third. But it turns out the terrorists didn’t need the third code. Because they intended to blow the missiles up in the silos. Which required only one code.
Nice system. Good choices. Bad movie. Impeach Eckhart.