Olympus Has Fallen
There’s so much wrong with this movie that I won’t even attempt to list everything. There’s the usual stuff, like suicidal Secret Service agents coming out of the White House and standing there shooting their handguns for a few seconds before they’re mowed down by Korean terrorists with AK-47s, or whatever. Did they not think of standing behind the walls and popping off shots through the windows? They could have held the invaders off a lot longer that way. But no, they present themselves as easy targets. Then there is our hero, Gerard Butler, who naturally is just impossible to hit, no matter how much you shoot at him.
Worst of all is the bad guys themselves, led by Kang (Rick Yune) who has managed to coordinate around a hundred suicidal Koreans in this attack, with our security never getting a whiff of what was going on. (I know, we didn’t see 9/11 coming, but I just don’t believe this could have been pulled off in secrecy.) He starts off with an AC-130 gunship, one of the most fearsome weapons ever developed, chewing up much of Washington. Where did he get such a thing? Pulled it right out of his yellow ass, apparently. The pilots manage to take out not two, but four F-22 Raptors with simple heat-decoy technology that has been around for 50 years. Oh, please, the Raptors would have chewed their asses off. Later, after that plane has crashed (destroying the Washington Monument—and that’s a great big no-fucking-way, to me), they set up this giant missile array they have brought in with them, something so top secret that most of the generals trying to re-capture the White House have never heard of it. It takes out five of six helicopters full of Navy SEALS before they even get there. And where did the miraculous Kang get THAT? Pulled it right out of his yellow ass, it would seem. Guy’s got a capacious ass.
There’s much, much more, but most of it is standard thriller-movie bullshit that we’re all used to. I want to get to the heart of this story, and what is wrong with it. The terrorists have taken the bunker under the White House, and have the president (Aaron Eckhart), and others, including the secretary of defense and the chairman of the JCS. What Kang wants is the codes that can be used to blow up a nuclear missile after launch, if it has been launched in error. Only those three people know parts of the code, and the missile can’t be destroyed without all three. Kang puts a knife to the throat of the JCS general and demands his part of the code. The man, as is only proper, is ready to die rather than surrender … and the president tells him to give it up! This is so, so wrong I just start to boil when I think of it. The man was ready to do his duty, and the fucking president blinked. Not long after they start kicking the sec-def (Melissa Leo) around, brutally, and AGAIN the president tells her to give up the second part of the code. She was also quite willing to do her duty and die for her county. But no. The stupid wimp of a president wasn’t willing to watch her die.
What the asshole prez was thinking, I guess, was that they would NEVER get part three out of him. He would manfully shoulder the burden himself. I guess he never heard of hacking. Kang’s computer whiz (every thriller these days has a computer whiz who can pull anything out of his—in this case, her—ass) ALREADY has solved part three! Oops! Now they are gonna blow up all our nuclear missiles in their silos. Estimated loss of American lives: something like thirty-five million. Because the prez couldn’t bear to see his friends sacrificed. Good work, asshole.
Then we get part two of the total surrender of America by its elected representatives. In the war room, House Speaker Morgan Freeman is told he must do two things, or Kang will kill the prez. One, withdraw all troops from the DMZ in Korea. Two, take the Seventh Fleet out of the Pacific. AND HE AGREES! He orders the fleet to skedaddle, and the soldiers to leave.
Am I the only one who is bothered by this? I am not a super-patriot, nor a warmonger. But there are lines you do not cross. Surrendering those codes—or ordering your people to do so—was an act of treason, and allowing a maniac terrorist to dictate foreign policy was an act of treason. The speaker’s rationalization was that the life of the president was more important.
NOT FUCKING TRUE! When the president dies, we’ve got a spare. We’ve got a whole list of spares, starting with the speaker and working down to the head of the EPA, or some damn thing like that. Our soldiers are expected to lay down their lives for their country if circumstances demand it. Can we apply any lesser obligation to the commander in chief? The president’s duty when it was clear that rescue was not in the cards (he didn’t know about Rambo Butler, who in the Real World would have been toast before he ever set foot in the White House), his moral obligation was to order the complete annihilation of the White House and everyone in it. That was also the obligation of the acting president. It’s a tired old line, but it’s true: YOU DO NOT NEGOTIATE WITH TERRORISTS IN A HOSTAGE SITUATION. You don’t wheedle them on the phone, you don’t send in pizza, and you do not surrender the Seventh Fleet. You obliterate them.
I am appalled that the writers and producers of this film thought we would accept what these fictional characters did. Have we sunk that low in our endless, cowardly quest for complete and total safety, willing to debase our society and our freedoms? We have already set up our American Gestapo (AKA Homeland Security) and the CIA and secret courts and incarceration without trial … oh, the list is long. If I had been in charge, the first thing I would do if the prez HAD been rescued would be to put him and the speaker on trial, and then before a firing squad. What they did was that bad.