Comfortable and Furious

Olympus Has Fallen

I love America. My blood bleeds red, white, and blue. That might be a sign of a medical problem, but seeing as I don’t have insurance and haven’t seen a doctor in years, I can’t really do anything about it. But I love this country. For nearly 30 years, it has been my home. I would do anything to protect it from those evildoers that would destroy it. I don’t mean that I would join the military or anything. I might get shot! But I will write thousands of words about whatever shitty movie comes along because that is the true essence of American freedom. They won’t be great words, and they won’t be arranged in a grammatically correct order all of the time, but I shall try my best. The Founding Fathers would expect no less of me.

America, this is my love for you. I would gladly lay down (90 to 120 minutes of) my life and watch a terrible movie so you don’t have to. I don’t mean Plan 9 From Outer Space. That movie is actually pretty cool, with the paper plate UFOs and everything. I mean Overdrawn at the Memory Bank without the MST3K commentary. I would watch that film for America. And I have.

But every so often, I view a film with the expectation of it being a complete piece of shit, yet find myself in awe of its sheer, unadulterated insanity. I find myself transfixed by its pure awesomeness. Who would have known that the second chapter in Hollywood’s 2012-2013 North Korean duology, Olympus Has Fallen, would be a film that makes me feel like I am truly alive?

It isn’t just that this film was directed by Antoine Fuqua. This film exists on a plane beyond its cast, beyond its director, beyond its content. It transcends the limitations of its physical form and reaches towards the heavens. I did more than watch a film; I saw the face of God. Or at least the face of Morgan Freeman. By the way, Fuqua also directed one of the favorite films of every black-helicopter-fearing patriot, Shooter. He’ll never top Shooter, but this was pretty damn close. If only Rhona Mitra had a bit part in this film. If only.

So what is the plot of this new classic of American action cinema? Well, after their embarrassing appearance in the remake of Red Dawn, the North Koreans have regrouped and devised a somewhat more plausible strategy for overtaking our great nation. They will not invade the entire country, but only one particular house. The White House.

That’s right. You heard me.

They’ve planted themselves in both the security detail of the South Korean Prime Minister and as his aides. They’ve commandeered a USAF C-130 through means unexplained. They’re around every corner, their anger at the events of the 1950’s still simmering and palpable. The wounds have never healed. Now, America shall feel the vengeance of a nation whose previous leader was so cruelly mocked in Team America: World Police. America will pay for treating an unabashed movie fan in such a callous fashion.

The only thing standing between America and total oblivion is Gerard Butler, who plays ex-Secret Service agent Mike Banning. He is not the Dalton of the Secret Service, but the Wade Garrett. He was busted down to a desk job at the Treasury when he failed to save the First Lady after a car accident. He only saved the President’s life. Oh, the failure! Apparently, he then pulled a Casey Ryback and “told the Speaker of the House to go fuck himself”, but this point is not elaborated on at any subsequent point in the film.

The North Koreans consist of the usual assortment of unnamed madmen, madwomen, and terrorists bent on the total annihilation of all that is good and holy. The standouts are the hacker girl who speaks entirely in subtitles, Dylan McDermott as the turncoat former Secret Service guy now on the South Korean detail, and Rick motherfucking Yune! Who is Rick Yune, you ask? Well, none other than the actor who played the North Korean henchman with the diamonds embedded in his face in Die Another Day. He’s now graduated to playing the terrorist leader, “Kang”. That’s one hell of a lineup!

The July 5th takedown of the White House is truly glorious. Why is not July 4th? I guess the North Koreans don’t know how to count. I’m going to try to summarize this sequence and hit all the salient points. Bear with me for the next half dozen paragraphs.

So, the North Koreans start things off by interrupting a historic meeting between the President and the South Korean PM when they fly a C-130 into Washington D.C. airspace. When some fighter jets request that they update their flight plan, they unload their guns on both of them. They then open fire on civilians in the streets, causing all sorts of mayhem and panic. An anti-aircraft battery at the White House fires a couple missiles at the renegade C-130, but the North Koreans chaff the shit out of them.

Meanwhile, the President and the South Korean PM are rushed by the Secret Service into the secure bunker 120 feet underground. At the same time, Gerard Butler sees the C-130 shooting everyone when he looks out the window at the Treasury. He runs over to the White House to help as the C-130 finally takes a hit and crashes on the South Lawn. On its way down, its wing slices off the top of the Washington Monument. The Washington Monument is America’s penis. The head of America’s penis is cut off. It’s absolutely terrifying. I mean, what the fuck? Are these guys terrorists or something?

Shortly thereafter, Gerard notices that there are some guys by the front gate of the White House acting strangely. He shoots one of them, but the other one successfully suicide bombs the gate, leaving a wide opening for a bunch of North Koreans to storm through and subsequently engage in a gunfight on the North Lawn. Where did the North Koreans come from? They were posing as Asian tourists with cameras. I shit you not, one gentleman puts down his camera and whips out a machine gun.

I can’t believe this is a real movie. This was actually made. Oh my God, it’s fucking awesome and hilarious.

But it gets better! At some point, other North Koreans in garbage trucks parked outside the White House open up the side doors to reveal floor-mounted machine guns, or something. They signal the North Koreans on the lawn to duck and open fire on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, gunning down most of the Secret Service remaining at the house. God, I can’t even put into words how fucking amazing it is because I am laughing so hard. Meanwhile, Gerard, who has been sneaking around the lawn behind the North Koreans in broad daylight, takes a brief break from shooting them in their heads to commiserate with the dying men on the front steps. Their intimate moments are cut short by the siren song of terrorist action movies everywhere: “RPG!”

With that, the North Koreans blow up the front door of the White House, and proceed to enter the house and systematically eradicate the remaining non-Gerard resistance inside. Back in the bunker, the terrorists have long since revealed themselves and have taken control, with the President, the VP, the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and the South Korean PM held hostage. The terrorist leader playfully remarks to the President that it takes the military 15 minutes to respond to an attack on the White House. They took it down in only 13! Meanwhile, Papa John’s knocks shit out in 10. What are we paying these guys for? Stop getting your dicks sucked by the endless parade of base sluts and defend the fucking country already. If I made any money, and paid any real taxes, I’d be furious.

So yes, Olympus Has Fallen. Shit just got real.

I think it would be prudent to take a moment to state that everything that I have just described comprises only about twenty minutes of this two hour long movie. No, seriously. What I just described contained more ridiculous bullshit than most Hollywood films in their entirety. How did they fit so much bullshit into one movie? My mind is just reeling.

This is movie of the year material. No joke.

Things really heat up as the North Korean terrorist leader starts conference calling the guys in the Pentagon control room and antagonizing them. In attendance are Morgan Freeman as the acting President, Robert Forster as a General, and Angela Bassett as the head of the Secret Service. Again, what a lineup! Gerard finds the President’s satellite phone and joins the party, while the terrorist leader starts shooting everyone from the South Korean PM to random Presidential aides in the head. It’s just riveting stuff.

The terrorists demand that America withdraw its forces from Korea by dawn, or they will execute the President. Meanwhile, they work to extract the three passwords for the “Cerberus” system from the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Hey, it’s three passwords, just like Cerberus has three heads! I think somebody graduated from college! But, just in case you didn’t get it, at the end of the film when Cerberus gets activated by the bad guy, Morgan Freeman states, “He’s just opened the gates of Hell.” Hollywood films are so educational!

What is Cerberus? Well, apparently it is a self-contained failsafe that allows any warhead in America’s nuclear arsenal to be self-destructed. Oh shit, bro! They’re going to disarm our nuclear capability so we can’t nuke Pyongyang! I am just quaking in fear right now. Also joining the mythological weapons party is something called the “Hydra-6”, an advanced sentry gun that the North Koreans mount of top of the White House. When Robert Forster gets tired of sitting around and orders six helicopters of SEALs to storm the house, the Hydra destroys all but one of them. The last one is only saved because Gerard blows up the Hydra with an RPG, shortly after shooting at least four terrorists in the head, splattering their brains across the walls.

I’m just going to say it. I had an erection throughout large portions of this movie. All the headshots, and the blood splattering on the walls, and the men in nice suits, and the terrorists fucking up America. There were two separate instances where I found myself confused because I had an erection when the woman who played the Secretary of Defense was onscreen. Was I attracted to her? Of course I was. I also had an erection when the terrorist hacker girl did her Hollywood hacking magic, but that was self-explanatory.

God, I love this country.

But the best part of this entire movie comes when the terrorist leader, who has obtained two of the Cerberus passwords due to the President ordering the other two people to give them up, drags the Secretary of Defense out of the bunker and up to the front steps to (unsuccessfully) try to execute her. As she is being dragged away, she screams, “I pledge allegiance! To the flag! Of the United… States… of America!”

I’ll admit, I had to pause the movie at this point. It may be difficult to understand without viewing this scene yourself, but the delivery of that line was sublime. My laughter just could not be controlled. I think I also had Chris Matthews’ fabled tingling sensation in my leg as she said it. To make it even more hilarious, the North Koreans take her fancy business attire off, leaving her in a white tank top or camisole or something as she is dragged away. Oh, the humanity!

The only thing that comes close to topping that scene is the finale. Here it comes, folks. Brace yourselves.

The terrorist leader and the hacker girl activate Cerberus by hacking the President’s password. They’ve had the cracker software running on his password the whole time, since they only had time to crack one of the three. The terrorist leader uses Cerberus to tell all of the nukes in America’s arsenal to explode in the silos. He claims that the explosive force of the self-destructs within the hardened silos will cause the nukes to detonate, turning America into a barren, irradiated wasteland. Well, ok. I’m not a physicist, but if you say so. Far be it from me to question Hollywood’s scientific knowledge.

Back in the control room, Morgan Freeman realizes that the terrorists are going to detonate the nukes. When Angela Bassett asks, “How many?”, one of the random guys in the control room states, “All of them.” All of them. All of the nukes. I would have laughed at that if I wasn’t already laughing at everything else.

So, Gerard marches in to the bunker and beats the shit out of the bad guy. The President is shot during the struggle, but survives. The terrorist leader is killed when Gerard gets him in a headlock and stabs him in the brain with a knife. He doesn’t throw the knife-laden head through a computer monitor like Casey Ryback, but in his defense, there wasn’t one in the immediate vicinity. But remember: Cerberus is still counting down! After tending to the President’s wounds, Gerard has about a minute to enter the abort code being read to him from the Pentagon control room. For no apparent reason, the abort code contains both a backslash and a hashtag. What in the fuck? Even Gerard is dumbfounded by what a hashtag is; Angela Bassett has to yell “Shift-3! Shift-3!” at this climactic moment in American history.

Jesus. Fucking. Christ!

Seriously, though. Why can’t all movies be this awesome?

In the end, we learn that America, as always, prevails. The terrorists cannot break our spirit; they can only break our buildings. They cannot infringe upon our freedom; that’s the NSA’s job. Only Americans can destroy America, and we’re doing a perfectly fine job of it ourselves, thank you very much.

Let’s conclude by thanking Hollywood for providing us with quality, well-written entertainment such as this. I can’t think of the last time I watched a film at such rapt attention. It was a beautiful film, and not just because it wasn’t a remake, a sequel, a comic book adaptation, or a lame romantic comedy. No, this was a great movie because it understood America better than any other film released so far this year. It was a classy film that analyzed America, her institutions, and her ideals quite thoroughly. It was a historic document of this time in our cherished history.

Also, Ashley Judd was in this movie (for like five minutes)! And she’s still got a GREAT ASS! I’m not sure if Val Kilmer’s head would still fit up it, though.



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