I’m a terrible critic. Being constructive and considerate by nature means I place less weight on flaws, and far more weight on achievement. Unless if the flaw sits in a narrow band called “common sense” (and/or “nobody’s that stupid”).
Olympus Has Fallen was a great movie. Modern-day politics with cutting-edge terrorist paranoia, with Butler playing a great Willis 2.0 (seriously, I couldn’t un-Die Hard my perspective of the movie), Yune’s performance as a North Korean terrorist in this movie really outdid his performance as a North Korean terrorist in Die Another Day, and the fight scenes were simply spectacular. When the mounted machineguns pulled up outside the White House and let loose, with Butler hiding behind a low wall, it was a terrifying cross between a Call of Duty game, and severe claustrophobia. Not to mention the C-130 that managed to dodge everything the Andrews AFB could throw at it, while simultaneously ripping into a terrified city with some ridiculous firepower.
The movie did (in my opinion, anyway), break some new cinematic ground. The opening made the Secret Service seem like plain old people (which, they are), it made the US Military look like a somewhat bumbling apparatus (which they do seem to be), it had the lead antagonist actually torture a defenseless woman on camera (McMillan, for her Cerberus code), it put a young child in the middle of a plot to start the third world war, there were some completely no-nonsense confrontations, and right up to the end, had me hoping, finally, that the US would get their asses kicked in a movie for once.
Not that I have anything against the United States, and everyone loves a heroic happy ending, but real life isn’t always like that – and this movie looked very real, right up until the point where (spoiler alert), Kang drops a bombshell (almost literally) by announcing he intends to detonate every siloed warhead in the US, by using the US’ own failsafe system against them. So, to be clear, this well-written, well-thought out movie uses, as it’s final, epic plot twist, a failsafe system which is capable of plunging the continental US into a nuclear winter.
Just to restate that, because I feel this is an important element that may be overlooked: They built a system to self-destruct warheads in flight, but forgot to put in the condition that the warheads actually had to be in flight. This must mean that at some point, whatever corporation did the install, had a conversation like this:
Defense Co: It’s all set up to order, but there was a flaw in the design.
Homeland Security: What flaw?
Defense Co: The missiles can be detonated inside the siloes, and that can cause the warheads to go nuclear without being primed. If you use Cerberus on an unlaunched missile, it will go nuclear and destroy everything for hundreds of miles.
Homeland Security: Oh, that’ll never happen. We’ll give the 3 sets of 7-digit alphanumeric codes to 3 people, then keep them in close proximity to eachother so that they’re all nearby if we ever need to use it.
Defense Co: You should also know that by opting for the cheaper encryption standard, anyone with a sufficiently powerful laptop can crack one of these codes within 8 hours.
Homeland Security: That’s not a problem either, since they only place they can do it is inside a sealed bunker that nobody can get into from the outside.
Defense Co: Well then, if you’ll just sign this liability waiver absolving us of any responsiblity in event of a nuclear catastrophe, we’ll start moving our US operations abroard, since you just put the fate of the continental US in the hands of a 21-digit alphanumeric password.
Homeland Security: I think you’re being paranoid. Sure, it may take a 21-digit alphanumeric password to kickstart total nuclear distruction, but you built in that disarm code, right?
Defense Co: If by that you mean the 14-digit mixed-character password, that takes longer to enter than the entire activation sequence, yes, we did.
Homeland Security: There, see? Nothing to worry about!
It was rather endearing, and human, to see Butler get really worked up about not being able to find the “hashtag” button. Equally endearing that the people in charge of protecting the United States needed someone else to translate “hashtag” into a language Butler could understand. I wonder if Twitter sponsored any part of this movie – because that cultural phenomenon might have ended up killing hundreds of millions of people. Maybe they did it to target the youth market – nothing sells advertising like the threat of total nuclear destruction.
All-in-all, a very entertaining movie, and in my opinion should rate at least a 7.5 on IMDB.