Monday, March 7, 2016

Olympus Has Fallen

Year 8, Day 67 - 3/7/16 - Movie #2,268

BEFORE: So, I made a decision about the films leading up to big #2300.  I couldn't find 7 films to add or 3 to delete, so I'm going to compromise - I'm going to add 3.  This will make some form of sense in about a month, I assure youAnd after reviewing my links, and realizing that in order to not disrupt the chain, I can only add a film starring someone I'm already planning to use AS a link, I'm going to move one film from the end of the list up to March, I'm going to add one film to March that's about to premiere on cable, and I'm going to go out to the movies.  

I would really like to start going out to the theater more often, after all if I'm ever going to really catch up on movies I'm going to have to start buying a lot more movie tickets, I sort of have to pick the right time to draw a line in the sand, and everything before that point I'll see as soon as it's on cable, and everything after that point, I'll go see in the theaters.  With movies like "Deadpool" out now, and with "Captain America: Civil War" and "X-Men Apocalypse" coming out in May, I think that point is rapidly approaching.  

Robert Forster carries over again from "Supernova", and maybe I'll finally find a film that he's in for more than five minutes. 

FOLLOW-UP TO: "White House Down" (Movie #2,058)

THE PLOT:  Disgraced Secret Service agent (and former presidential guard) Mike Banning finds himself trapped inside the White House in the wake of a terrorist attack; using his inside knowledge, Banning works with national security to rescue the President from his kidnappers.

AFTER: I'm giving this one the same score I gave to that other film about terrorists attacking the White House - part of me wishes that when there are competing Hollywood films that are essentially on the same topic, that perhaps one of them would step aside and allow the other one to flourish.  You know, like plants competing for the same sunshine, if they were to partially block each other's light for a portion of the day, then they might both die.  But I know that's ridiculous, it's never going to happen.  Instead each film rushes to the market, trying to get there first so they can claim that the other film is the copy - when the truth is, they were both in production at the same time, so who can tell who's ripping off who?

There's nothing really wrong with this film, just as there was nothing really wrong with "White House Down" - but they're destined to be compared with each other, simply because they got released in the same year.  Do I think one is better than the other?  Well, what does "better" really mean, anyway?  I enjoyed them both, to the extent that I was capable of doing so on the day that I saw them, which is just going to have to do.  

"Olympus Has Fallen" sort of pushes the boundaries on what ONE man can do, up against an army of well-trained North Koreans with a detail-oriented plan.  But nearly every action movie is like that, it comes down to one guy against the bad guys, because Hollywood doesn't think that the average American can keep heroic characters straight when they number more than one.  

The two films share more than just the concept in common - in both cases, the hero is not a fully successful oneIn "White House Down", the hero is a Capitol police officer who wants to join the Secret Service, while in "Olympus Has Fallen", the hero is a Secret Service agent, but one who was on the scene during a disaster, so he ends up pulling mostly night shifts at the Treasury.  So we like our heroes to be noble, but not too successful, because then they'd be too intimidating to the audience.   
Both films make use of child characters - in "White House Down", it's the hero's daughter, and in this one, it's the President's son.  Both films have current or former government agents secretly working with the terrorists - and both films have terrorist organizations that are concerned with acquiring nuclear codes.  Oh, there are many more similarities, but a few key differences - like, do you prefer the terrorists that come from within the U.S., or from Korea?  

Beyond that, I'm just not an expert on guns, or helicopters, or explosives - generally I accept that these things work (or fail to work) the way that they do in the movies.  And even though this film is about the U.S. President, it's got very little to do with our current election (unless you take the hijacking of the White House as a metaphor, I suppose...) so I don't feel the need yet to comment on the 2016 election or our political process in general, though I suppose there are some films coming up later in the year where I could probably work something in.

Also starring Gerard Butler (last seen in "Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life"), Aaron Eckhart (last seen in "Your Friends & Neighbors"), Morgan Freeman (last seen in "Dreamcatcher"), Dylan McDermott (last seen in "The Perks of Being a Wallflower"), Angela Bassett (also last seen in "Supernova"), Rick Yune (last seen in "Die Another Day"), Melissa Leo (last seen in "Prisoners"), Radha Mitchell (last seen in "Melinda and Melinda"), Cole Hauser (last seen in "Transcendence"), Sean O'Bryan, Ashley Judd (last seen in "Frida"), Finley Jacobsen, Phil Austin.

RATING: 6 out of 10 Secret Service code names 

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