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Finally, a good, solid action flick. I was very, very impressed in pretty much every way here, and you know I don't say that lightly or very often.
Gerard Butler really kicks some serious ass here. This is the type of role he is meant for. He's got charisma, screen presence, and seems to know what he's doing with weaponry as well as hand to hand combat.
What I liked most here, is that this is what I call old school, playing for reals movie making. It's downright brutal in its depiction of violence and many, MANY peeps get completely wasted. No holds are barred and no punches pulled. Excellent FX work, as far as I'm concerned.
This was made for $70 Million, and it looks great. I've read reviews saying it looked cheap or the big set piece action scenes looked poor, due to weak CGI work. I didn't see that at all. Sure, things can almost always look better, but I was completely on board all the way through.
There's alot of star power on display and everyone really performs well. There are some surprises with "main" characters that you don't usually see, which again, I like! This is not cookie cutter garbage like most of its kin.
My hat's off to Director Antoine Fuqua, as well as first time writers Katrin Benedikt and Creighton Rothenberger. At first glance, this may seem cliche and been there seen that, but trust me, it's not. It really isn't.
Kick ass flick, and most likely one of the top 10 of the year when all is said and done.
Please, Hollywood, give us more of these!!! God knows we need them!!!
To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
I want to begin by saying I REALLY REALLY enjoyed seeing this in a theater.
I did think the CGI was pretty bad. I also happen to know that it was done on the cheap side and on a TV schedule as opposed to a FEATURE schedule. The turnaround time was very quick in order to get this out before White House Down. It was adequate and didn't affect my enjoyment of the movie too much.
The one reason you can call this cookie-cutter a little bit is the fact that it's essentially Die Hard in the white house. Even some of the little twists were the same or similar. I think that's why it worked so well. I fucking LOVE Die Hard.
As one review pointed out, this was the best Die Hard movie to come out this year!
'Artist' is not a term you should use to refer to yourself. Let others, and your work, do it for you.
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Too bad Gerald Butler is becoming a Russian citizen soon. Agree with Dreamscale this movie really fitted for him. One thing I was thinking that didn't make sense that much in a plot. Is American that vulnerable in such attack like that? I don't think so.
A lie has traveled around the world while the truth is putting the shoes on.
Just rented this, having missed it in theatres. While I felt a little uneasy about The White House getting smashed up and the extreme body count - even the avearge passerby wasn't spared - there's that sequence after the gunplane crashes and you say, well, goddamn. That body count wiill give ol' John Woo a run for the hills! I forgot the film was directed by Faqua, who is a bit underrated (yes, he still gets cred for Training Day, but I have soft spots for King Arthur and Tears Of The Sun, what can I say?) Someone brought up Die Hard...but I think it's closer to Under Siege and...wait a second...did the bad guy just knock off the VP in this flick? Holy shit! That's ballsy right there! Usually in action-hostage flicks the baddies will talk and threat, they might knock off an aide or bodyguard but the VP! And they beat up the Sec. of Defense played by Melissa Leo I mean they smacked her around so much I said GODDAMN. I know they kind of made that announcement when Ashley Judd buys it in the first rell (car accident) and the terrorists make sure the secret service wounded won't get up ever again...
FX were very impressive. Once I got into the Die Hard/ Under Siege section of the film it started to get a bit routine even though they added the thing about the missle codes. That sort of thing can't really happen but it's an inventive stretch of movie logic. Bravo!!! Bravo!!!
Did I buy the traitor's reasons for his actions? Not really. (note: the actor also played a Secret Service agent in In The Line Of Fire) After two movies, the other being Deep Impact, would I vote for Morgan Freeman should he quit acting and run for office? More than likely.
I haven't seen White House Down yet. I understand BOTH scripts were specs totally unrelated to each other with exception of general plot.
Hahah this was great! Sad I missed it in theatres. Checks every Die Hard box that White House Down didn't, delivers the kind of body count we almost never get these days, and sports more gleefully deluded jingoistic U.S. nonsense than John Milius could shake a stick at.
The action's fast and delightfully brutal. Fuqua also keeps the suspense stuff firmly in hand -- he's better at it than half the people making actual "suspense" movies -- and happily slaughters a ludicrously unnecessary amount of innocent bystanders. Props, too, for the excessive hostage-executing antics. This is definitely Lerner/Lerner/Davidson territory.
Butler can't sell it 100% for me, but thank goodness for the attempt at a good old-fashioned action hero, anyway. He's got the muscles, the moves, and the grunts...just not quite the sense of personality. You can see him playing pretend a bit, I think.
Then again, the whole movie's playing pretend -- my particular favourite moment is the offhand gag where a radio announces that "people in the Middle East" are dancing in the streets or whatever because the White House was attacked. Lots of critics slammed this one for its aggressive xenophobia and its general flag-waving, dick-grabbing stupidity, but that's low-hanging fruit. Just because movies shouldn't be bad propaganda doesn't mean that it isn't awesome when they are.
The CG didn't look great to me, but that didn't really affect my enjoyment much. This one gets inside to get down and dirty quick, anyway, and the best stuff is the one-on-one fights and the small gunfights. And may I just say, thank goodness we're getting back to movies that end with hand-to-hand showdowns with the main bad guy.
One of the few modern action movies that actually shoots enough people in the head. Two thumbs up from me.
EDIT: Also forgot to give a shout-out to one of the greatest bad guy motivations ever:
"Globalization, and fuckin' Wall Street!"
I really, really hope that this is an intentional jab meant to subtly align the U.S. traitor character with (semi-)satirized Occupy Wall Street/"far left" talking points, because that is friggin' awesome.
Sorry, but I thought this was terrible. Brutal, yes, unusually so, but unpleasant and dumb. And not in a 'hey, it's disengage-brain-action-film-time' way, but in a 'these filmmakers don't actually give a fuck' way. If you consider the two films you could say it's a fusion of - Die Hard and Air Force One - then it underlines just how little this really has to offer. Bloody carnage isn't a substitute for tension. Swearing isn't a substitute for memorable dialogue. 2d cut-outs - no matter how many bad / 'cool' things they do - aren't a substitute for well-drawn, fleshed-out characters.
Gerard Butler's Mike Banning is fine. He's tough, not particularly charismatic (as a screen presence, I know he's supposed to be a gruff character), but has a sort of relentlessness that keeps the whole thing just about moving. I mean beyond his name, and a wife who's even less of a character than he is, you never learn anything about him. I didn't really care if he lived or died.
Aaron Eckhart's President spends almost the entire film tied to a railing. How does that make him an interesting secondary protagonist? HE DOESN'T DO ANYTHING - apart from wait for people to be savagely beaten, and then say 'give them the code', rather than just saying that at the start (he does exactly the same thing twice). He doesn't save his own son, he doesn't help Banning take the White House back. He doesn't try to negotiate, or out-think the terrorists. He just clenches his jaw and sits there quietly. Similarly, Morgan Freeman spends almost the entire film sitting down. Their primary character traits are their lack of movement. The main antag - Kang - is deadly dull. Again, compare him to Hans Gruber or Gary Oldman's Boris, both really interestingly drawn people. What does Kang want? Generic Bad Guy Stuff. There's one line at the end where he says 'now you Americans will know famine and suffering, too'. But unlike in AFO, where Boris has that great speech about 'on that great day of deliverance', Kang's motivations are never fully fleshed out. That'd take too much effort.
The dialogue is just 'fuck this' and 'fuck that', nothing memorable or clever about any of it. The plot is the absolute bare minimum required to put the action sequences and shootouts in some sort of vaguely coherent order. The opening attack goes on for ever and ever and ever. There's no artistry to it, really, no sense of something building to a climax, just BANG BANG BOOM for twenty monotonous minutes in which extras are mowed down and other extras attack people. Once things settle down, the President is immediately taken hostage, thereby neutralising his character, and anything interesting he might get to do, for the rest of the film. 'Rescue the President's son' is a decent next step, but that's resolved very very quickly, thereby snuffing out another potential avenue of interest or suspense. That Cerberus device - you create a system where three keycodes can self-destruct every nuclear missile in the USA, and then don't stop to think 'wait, what if those three people were in the same room?' Ridiculous. A desparate attempt to construct some vague sort of 'ticking clock' in the second half, although again the interrogations to get the codes, rather than being carried out all at once, are spaced out for no other reason than narrative necessity and convenience.
Perfect example of how little this film is trying: about two thirds of the way through, Banning runs into Forbes, his former colleague who is now working with the bad guys. 'Ooo', we think, 'interesting. They'll agree to work together, Forbes will perhaps kill a few Koreans to earn Banning's trust, and we'll be watching, tensely, waiting for the moment when he finally reveals his true colours.' But naaah. That'd be too much effort. What we get is perhaps half a page of generic dialogue, then Forbes makes an unlikely mistake and says the main antag's name, and after a brief fight, Banning kills him. Why try and create tension when you can have VIOLENCE!!! Similarly, when the helicopter supposedly carrying the President is shot down. Everyone grieves for about two seconds, before Banning magically works out the President is still alive, everyone immediately agrees with him, and off he goes to the equally dull showdown. We literally end on an actual computer screen countdown, which stops with three seconds left. That's the level of originality we're operating at here.
And I know people will say 'chill out, it's just an action film, what's the problem? Not everything can be Citizen Kane!' But I think my main problem here is that nobody appears to be having any fun. Neither the screenwriters, nor the director, nor the actors. Beyond brutal action, this doesn't really have anything else to offer. If you're into that, okay. But I don't think it's unreasonable to want more.
One star for me. Maybe just about two for the admittedly unusually gritty action. It's a big-budget Steven Seagal film with the brains to match, the only difference between this and anything other straight-to-DVD, instantly forgotten action flick is they somehow attracted big names.
[EDIT: I will say, that as a non-American, the emotional significance of seeing the White House destroyed didn't affect me the way it might others. And I can see how the chest-thumping patriotism might have worked for American viewers, and that might have elevated the whole film and infused it with a kind of emotional urgency that I didn't get. Just a shame you needed a Brit to come and save you. Ha.]