Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.
Released on March 22, 2013
Directed by Antoine Fuqua
Written by Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt
Cast: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Dylan McDermott, Rick Yune, Angela Bassett, Melissa Leo, Radha Mitchell, Cole Hauser, Finley Jacobsen, Phil Austin, Ashley Judd, Robert Forster, Michael Dudikoff
A Die Hard retread with a Presidential slant, as North Korean terrorists invade and overtake the White House, taking the President and a handful of other officials hostage, and slaughtering anyone who gets in their way. Former Secret Service agent Gerard Butler, now working at the Treasury, infiltrates the White House and, knowing the ins and outs, systematically begins taking care of business, hoping to stop the intruders from coercing the U.S. military into withdrawing from Korea, from self-destructing nuclear missiles across the United States, and lord knows what else.
This action thriller from Antoine Fuqua, who directed Tears of the Sun and Shooter, is so similar in construction to Die Hard, you might think it was an attempt at rebranding. Whether or not that’s the case, you can’t fault Fuqua for at least keeping things moving at a brisk pace, and delivering on the mayhem and weapons fire; hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of good guys, bad guys, and innocents were mowed down at an alarming rate as both sides battled for possession of Aaron Eckhart’s captive President.
Unfortunately, I didn’t believe one minute of it. For the most part, I can suspend disbelief like anyone else, but here, you’d have to set the time frame of this story in the past—and I do mean the 1800s—for me to accept what I considered a preposterous set-up. I would hope that the White House and our President would be better protected than this; the terrorists bragged that it took them 13 minutes to get inside, secure the building, and lock the President in a safehouse bunker. After 9/11, or even before, I’m supposed to believe it would be this easy to do so? If that was the case, it would’ve been done a hundred times over by now.
And yes, I know it’s just a movie, but at least make an attempt at realism, for chrissake! Thankfully, I had Butler to keep me interested, playing his one-time U.S. Army Ranger character with an easy-going charisma, a tough demeanor, and a penchant for giving the slaughter right back to the enemy…but even his interactions soon stretched credibility a bit thin. If you must, see it for Butler—who’s quietly becoming one of my favorite actors working today—and the extensive palette of bullets, missiles, and explosions. Otherwise, I’d say you’re better off re-visiting a particular Bruce Willis actioner from 1988. (5/10)