Archives for posts with tag: Gerard Butler

Grade B-

With so many plot holes that Swiss cheese manufacturers would be jealous, “London Has Fallen” is saved by tight pacing, numerous action sequences, and a short running time.

 The plot: the U.S. attempts to assassinate an arms dealer with a drone strike; the bad dude escapes with his sons; but the enormous explosion kills his daughter and her wedding party.  Two years later, bad dude gets his revenge by killing the heads of dozens of countries during a funeral for a British politician, with the President of the U.S. (played by Aaron Eckhart) as the main target.  But bad dude, bad dude’s sons, and bad dude’s hundreds of terrorists/mercenaries didn’t count on one thing: super Secret Serviceman played by Gerard Butler!  Nevermind he’s outgunned, outnumbered, and not in his home turf.  Butler is a bad-ass American, and in this movie, that’s all that’s needed to win!  Surviving the massive, bloody attack during the funeral, Butler and Eckhart are on their own, hounded by terrorists who plan to take Eckhart alive so he can be executed live on the internet where billions can watch.

Okay, enough of the cheerleading.  Let’s talk shenanigans.  1) How did bad dude and his sons escape the drone strike?  After all, one of the sons looked up as he heard the engines of the drone closing in — that missile was probably seconds away, and somehow he and his brothers and father (but not the sister) left the compound in time? 2) It seems that half the London police force were terrorists/mercs in police disguise.  With so many fake police, no one noticed, not other cops, or British secret service or DSS personnel?  Identification for everyone there is checked, double checked, triple checked, and so on, by their own units and by other security departments…and no one noticed any of the fake cops?  3) Only one field agent from MI6 noticed that the security cameras in London was hacked and quickly got it working correctly.  So the dozens of workers in that command center were completely oblivious to a possible hacking, and didn’t bother to try to figure out how and work on a solution?  4) Butler inflicts so much damage to bad dude’s number one son that it would have killed him ten times over; but the son runs away and keeps fighting?  The list goes on and on but I will stop as I’m sure you get my point.

“London Has Fallen” is sure to infuriate the English because of how incompetent they are made to look for most of the movie.  But to be fair, the SAS (British Special Air Service) had a lot to do with rescuing Eckhart and Butler.  The beginning of the rescue scene in the third act of the movie is my most memorable moment of this movie.  Knowing where the bad guys took the President to be executed, Butler and a team of SAS — and possibly U.S. Delta — storm the terrorists’ hideout in London.  The first minute or two of the scene is done either in one shot or made to look like it was done in one shot through use of CGI.  Whatever the case, it is one of the best action sequences I have seen in a long time, and it will leave you breathing hard due to excitement — unless you are so angry about the politics of this movie that nothing about “LHF” will please you.  If the first minute or two of this scene was done in one shot, my deepest respects to all those involved in the shoot, as it is great filmmaking.

At second place for my most memorable, movie moment of “London Has Fallen”: the scene when Butler is beating the hell of number one bad son, and Butler says “You know what you guys don’t get?  We’re not a fucking movie, we’re not a fucking flag, we’re not just one man!  Assholes like you, have been trying to kill us for a long, fucking time.  But you know what?  A thousand years from now, we’ll still fucking be here!”

Many will fault “LHF” for what may seem like simplistic views on world politics, but if one is paying close attention, there is much finger-wagging at the U.S. in this movie.   Both views on the U.S. — it being evil and it being good — are present, and one can hate or love this movie depending on how you feel about the U.S. foreign policy.  Me, I concentrated on how much entertainment I got out of “LHF,” and it was a lot, hence the relatively high grade.

— M

Based on the very popular Broadway musical — which I’ve never seen — “The Phantom of The Opera” stars Gerard Butler as The Phantom of an opera house who secretly mentors a young, opera singer (played by Emmy Rossum) during the late 1800s in Paris.  Hiding in the shadows, Butler makes his wishes known to the opera house owners to make Rossum the Prima Donna of the theater, making it very clear he intends to do violence to those who ignore his commands.

Rossum, being young, beautiful, and talented, makes it easy for the opera house owners to obey Butler.  But Butler has more than fatherly feelings for Rossum; and when Rossum’s male, childhood friend (played by Patrick Wilson) appears again in her life, Rossum and Wilson start a romance that drives Butler to a murderous rage that threatens the destruction of the opera house and all those within.

One of my memorable, movie moments of “The Phantom Of The Opera” is the scene that shows the origins of the Phantom: a very disturbing childhood, a thirst for revenge and taste for murder, and an act of kindness that leads him to shelter in the catacombs of an opera house.

Taking top honors for my most memorable, movie moment of “The Phantom of The Opera” is the scene when Butler has Rossum in his underground lair.  Standing behind her, singing and wooing her, Butler caresses Rossum’s body, creating exquisite looks on her delicate face.  Such a nuanced performance from Rossum is amazing, considering she was only 16-years-old during production of the movie.

This is a fine, musical movie that does everything well.  Emmy Rossum’s acting and vocal talent and beauty are huge bonuses for this production; but the ultimate stars are the songs written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, which kept playing in my mind long after the final credits were over.

— M

Gerard Butler plays the title role in “Machine Gun Preacher,” a true story of an outlaw biker who changed his life for the better, and finds himself on a crusade to help orphaned children of war-torn Sudan.

The stakes for the children and other innocent villagers in the Sudan are laid out clearly for us at the beginning when we see a village invaded by a small group from the militant organization called the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).  The LRA are bloodthirsty savages who murder, rape, pillage and cripple villagers whom they believe do not share in the LRA’s political beliefs, or simply because the LRA just wants to hurt and abuse people.  The opening sequence comes to its most graphic, sickening point when a little boy is forced to kill his mother.  This is my most memorable, movie moment of “Machine Gun Preacher.”  It is a brutal reminder of how evil people can be, and how many of us have it so good.  Complain about gas prices and the cost of bridge and tunnel tolls all you want…your problems most likely are insignificant compared to what these villagers in the Sudan go through.

This movie is also a reminder of how good people can be; and how the need and the actual work done to help people can turn into an obsession that threatens the life and spirit of the one who is doing the good deed.  Enter Butler, who we first see coming out of prison.  He is a fearsome ex-con with a red-hot temper and a taste for drugs and alcohol.  His life is one big, downward spiral, but a night of violence forces him to seek help, and he gets it in the church that his wife and child attend.

Years later, successful in every way, Butler hears a Missionary’s tale of people in Africa who desperately need help.  Butler, being the good Christian that he is, goes to Africa to do God’s work and help those who are crying for help.  He sees first hand the damage that the LRA have done, especially to the children.  Butler raises money from donations he gets from the church he built back in his home state of Pennsylvania — along with money from his savings and construction business — to build a church, a playground, and an orphanage for children in the Sudan.  The threats of attacks from the LRA are constant; and Butler turns from a preacher/missionary into an assault rifle-carrying preacher who will kill any two-legged animal who tries to harm his flock.  Amen.

It’s a bit hard to take, but “MGP” is worth watching.  Technically, it falls a bit flat when it comes to pacing, and that’s due to the constant trips Butler takes back and forth to and from Africa.  I know why it was done — the movie has to show us the strain on Butler’s relationship with his family in the U.S. — and it may have happened that way in real life; but real life is unstructured, and movies have a basic, three act structure.  Any “based on a true story” movie that follows too closely to the structure of what really happened usually fails at holding a pace that keeps the audience riveted to their seats.

“Machine Gun Preacher” is a movie that lowers and uplifts your spirits, in some cases at the same time.  Knowing that the violence inflicted on the Sudanese civilians as depicted in this movie is still happening gives “Machine Gun Preacher” a greater importance.  We are not just watching the past, we are also watching the present and the future.   A real downer, huh?  Ah, don’t worry.  If you’re like most people, soon after viewing this movie you’ll be back to being preoccupied with your daily worries and forget that every day tens of thousands of people all over the world are being brutalized.  I’m ashamed to say…I’m like most people.

M

Antoine Fuqua has directed another solid, action movie that is better than most in the genre.  Movie fans everywhere, take note of this man, as he is fast rising to the top of the action movie director list.  “Olympus Has Fallen” stars Gerard Butler as a former, Secret Service operative who fell from the President’s favor because Butler made a hard choice in order to save the President; and now, over a year after that incident, Butler is attempting to rescue the President and many others who have been taken hostage in the White House by North Korean terrorists.

Half way into the first act, terrorists attack the White House from the air and ground.  This action sequence — which lasts about 15 minutes — is extremely intense and very bloody.  Just when you think the attacks are over, it starts again from another direction.  The White House throws everything at the terrorists; but those defending the White House are eventually overwhelmed due to the numbers, firepower, tenacity, and planning of the terrorists.

Many are calling “Olympus Has Fallen” as “Die Hard” in the White House.  This is a huge disservice to this movie, as many of the “Die Hard” movies after the first, and most of the derivatives of “Die Hard,” are not well made.  Most could not be taken seriously because of the crazy, way over the top, cartoon-like violence.  “Olympus Has Fallen” stands apart from the rest because of its serious tone and brutal violence, which includes executions and torture of high-ranking members of the White House.  Also, the terrorists’ ultimate goal was to kill every American.  It’s easy for the audience to emotionally connect with this movie and get behind Butler to kill every one of those terrorist scum who dared invade our country.

One of my most memorable, movie moments of “Olympus Has Fallen” is the scene when the terrorists, after they defeated the defenders of The White House, take down the U.S. flag (which is in tatters due to the bullets and shrapnel hitting it) and throw it over the side.  Mind you, I’m not a patriotic guy who likes to wave the flag and follows and believes in our politicians like a stupid sheep; but that scene had me pissed.   I guess I was just being territorial.

As for my most memorable, movie moment of  “Olympus Has Fallen,” that would have to be the scene when Butler is on the phone talking to various military leaders, and they mention to Butler about the terrorists hacking into “Cerberus.”  Butler asks what is “Cerberus,” and the military leaders are debating if they should tell Butler because the subject is classified.  Butler responds with something like, “I think this is the moment of the proverbial I need to fucking know.”  I appreciate guys who make smart-ass comments to their bosses who make stupid statements!  They remind me of…me!

One last statement as to how much I like “Olympus Has Fallen”: when this movie comes out on Blu-Ray, and the price falls to $10, I shall buy it.  For those who aren’t in the know, I only buy movies that I really like and plan to watch over and over again.

M

 

 

%d bloggers like this: