PLOT: Disgraced former Presidential guard Mike Banning finds himself trapped inside the White House in the wake of a terrorist attack; using his inside knowledge, Banning works with national security to rescue the President from his kidnappers.
REVIEW: Is this Die Hard at the White House or Batman at the White House? The basic story is that Scottish Batman (Elite Secret Serviceman Gerard Butler) wants to stab a bunch of League of Shadows (North Korean) terrorists in the brain. Harvey Dent, America’s White Knight (President Aaron Eckhart), has lost the love of his life and is struggling with how to move on. When Bane (Kang, Rick Yune) takes over Gotham (Olympus/White House) and threatens to blow up the city (the country), only Scottish Batman can stop him. Meanwhile, since Harvey Dent is captured, only Lucius Fox (Speaker of the House Morgan Freeman) can run Wayne Enterprises (the country) while Scottish Batman and Harvey Dent are under siege.
Antoine Fuqua directs this action opus. I have to say, it is somewhat enjoyable. It is well directed for this type of film, but it just doesn’t break any new ground at all. It really is a paint by numbers action film. As a director, Training Day was certainly his high point. Shooter was okay. King Arthur was not horrendous, but was pretty darn bad. I think we should see better films from him, or maybe not. Maybe it was just the power of the Denzel that made his one great film…. great. That doesn’t mean this film is bad, it just means it isn’t great. It’s an action film that served it’s purpose.
Gerard Butler was meant for this genre. I have never been his biggest fan, but he was great in 300 and is meant for the action genre. Sticking him in so many stupid romantic comedies is a waste of his talents and also sticks a rough and rugged square peg into a smooth and unfunny round hole.
The rest of the actors are all pretty good in the movie – especially Aaron Eckhart and some of his senior staff members.
My biggest take away from this film is the violence. It is pretty extreme. And I am not a squeamish type when it comes to violence and most of the time love a good ass-whooping on film. But there was something about this film that made me really uncomfortable. I have to say, in this day and age, with the amount of real, horrible gun violence out there, mass shootings and all that… this film made me queazy. An assault on the White House, in a very realistic manner made me feel vulnerable and I really didn’t like it. I am still fine with “heightened violence” or swords and shields or great big fantasy gun violence like Django Unchained, or even stupid Transformers, etc. But something about this realistic violence, especially of mass destruction of innocent people… I just don’t think I can watch anymore. This films trailer had me worried about this, and it was a legitimate fear. I am definitely not a guy who believes in censorship and think artists (even on a commercial film like this) should be allowed to do what they want. BUT, I do think it is worth filmmakers sitting back and asking themselves, “I know I CAN do this film – but SHOULD I do this film?” While I don’t believe is mass censorship, I do believe in personal censorship. And I think maybe it’s time we each look at films like this and wonder if something this realistic is right to be shown in such harsh glorification.
That being said, it was hilarious to hear Gerard Butler repeatedly say and follow through with the phrase, “I’m going to stab you in the f&<%ing brain.”