Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Household reviews of the White House takeover movies: a difference of opinons

Image result for white house downImage result for olympus has fallen

Back in 2013, the same movie came out twice in the theaters. Okay, not exactly the same, but basically the same. White House Down and Olympus Has Fallen were both about terrorist takeovers of the White House, in which one intrepid guy has to save the President and the country's honor. (This is hardly a novel plot, having also come up in season 7 of "24" and the Vince Flynn thriller "Transfer of Power.")

My favorite adult person in the world and I eventually got around to watching both of them on DVD, White House Down last year, and Olympus Has Fallen just recently. And while we have similar tastes in movies, we ended up disagreeing about which was the better of these dopplegangers.

[Spoilers for both flicks to follow]

My favorite adult person thought Olympus Has Fallen was more suspenseful and preferred Gerard Butler's ex-Special Forces/current Secret Service agent Mike Banning to Channing Tatum's wannabe Secret Service agent. She also thought it was more believable that North Korean commandos could takeover the White House than yet another traitorous American storyline. (Perhaps this is "24" mole-fatigue....)

Meanwhile, I thought Jamie Foxx's President in White House Down was much better than Aaron Eckhart's President Asher in Olympus Has Fallen. In Olympus, the terrorists are trying to get the Cereberus codes, one each in the heads of the President, the Secretary of Defense, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. With all three, the terrorists will be able to remotely destroy all American nuclear warheads. Yikes! The terrorists threaten to slit the Joint Chief Chairman's throat if he won't divulge his code. The courageous and patriotic officer is willing to die, but the President can't stand seeing this, so he orders the general to turn over his code, reassuring the officer, "They won't get my code." This, even though the President's son is still in the White House, ready to be captured and used against the President! Next, the terrorists brutally assault the female Secretary of Defense, but she too refuses to give up her code ... until the President orders her to do so.

Wha?????? Sure, the President again says he won't give up his code, but we already know that he'll give in to save his people! What's to stop the terrorists from going back to beating the hell out of the Secretary of Defense?

Okay, so as far as Presidents go, Asher does nothing useful in the movie and ends up helping the bad guys by getting his people to give up their codes. Foxx's President Sawyer, on the other hand, is threatened with seeing the main antagonist murder a child (Tatum's daughter), and Sawyer calmly explains to the girl why he can't give up the nuclear football codes. Who do you think is the better President?

Then there's the question of how the terrorists gain control of the White House in each movie. In Olympus Has Fallen, they are North Koreans posing as South Koreans with the South Korean Prime Minister. Dylan McDermott's ex-Secret Service agent is the mole helping the bad guys. In taking over the White House, the terrorist delegation is helped by a bunch of other North Koreans outside the White House, posing as terrorists. The Secret Service prove to be a bunch of idiots who come running out of the White House into machine gun fire.

In White House Down, the terrorists are mercenaries hired by the retiring head of the Secret Service. I am thinking that the head of the Secret Service (whose motivation for unleashing this plot is adequately explained) is going to be in a much better position to breach security protocols than are a bunch of foreign terrorists.

In the end, they are both popcorn action movies and I did enjoy watching both. I just thought Olympus' weaknesses were more glaring. Of course, Hollywood seems to have agreed with my favorite adult person in the world, not with me, because Olympus is getting a sequel next year.

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