Olympus Has Fallen

I took some time out to see Olympus Has Fallen, which is basically a Die Hard/Under Siege/Air Force One mashup, only without Bruce Willis, Steven Seagal, or Han Solo.

If you like big gunfights, big explosions, and the destruction of familiar landmarks on the big screen, this movie offers all that. Sadly, it also offers plot holes alongside the portrayal of horribly laid plans and institutional incompetence, except we're supposed to believe the holes aren't there and the plans and institutions are actually world-class.

Where to start? I'm just going to make a list, complete with spoilers:

SPOILERS, I say. You have been warned.

  • The goal? Set off all of America's nukes at once using the system designed do disarm and destroy them in flight. There's so much wrong with that system I don't even want to begin trying to pick it apart. It violates good engineering, actual physics, and military doctrine on more levels than I can count.
  • American air defense? A pair of jets that conveniently line themselves up to get rotary-cannoned by the AC-130 entering the no-fly zone.
  • White House ground defense? Secret Service agents who stand in the open and fire pistols through a smoke screen while advancing soldiers hose them down with automatic fire. 
  • Visiting Dignitary Security? TOTALLY INVITED into the President's secret bunker. Someone says "this isn't standard" and then they're in.
  • When your one man on the ground tells you they can shoot down helicopters? Tell him to shut up and send in the helicopters.
  • After your helicopters are gone, don't bother using your satellite to see if that thing on the roof is still able to shoot. In fact, don't use the satellite at all for the rest of the movie.

It may sound heartless, Mister Speaker-of-the-House, but when you are the Acting President, and you learn that the President is being held hostage under the White House, and is going to be tortured for information that could kill millions of people, including (but not limited to) Americans, using a system in that same bunker, you have a two-step course of action, to be embarked upon immediately, with no hand-wringing. You may shed one tear:

  1. Drop a bunker-buster on the White House. 
  2. Resign as Acting President of the United States (you did just kill the sitting President) and hand the reins off to the President Pro Tempore of the Senate.

I couldn't get past how many logistical, technological, political, and common-sense flaws this film had. Did I have fun? Sort of. The film ALSO suffered from shaky-cam and lots of running around in the dark. Olympus Has Fallen comes in at #6 for me this year.

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