You can almost imagine the script meeting for this one. “So we need a president in peril film” – “How about on his plane?” – Good, but already done” – “How about the White House?” – “Yes, like it!” – “And then we’ll have terrorists take over the building and just one guy left inside to defeat them” – “Brilliant!” “Who will the terrorists be?” – “Well – we can’t do the Russians – – how about the North Koreans?” – “Not very topical, but I guess that’s the best we’re going to think of” – “Finally, why don’t we throw in a bit of historical angst for the hero from his former Presidential protection duty?” – “Yes, yes, yes! Perfect!” “Now, go and get me the scripts for ‘Air Force One’, ‘Die Hard’ and ‘In the Line of Fire’ and a really REALLY big food mixer”.
OK – so this is about as far away from original as you can get, but I have to admit I really liked this film for dumb popcorn munching entertainment. Gerard Butler takes on the Harrison Ford/Bruce Willis/Clint Eastwood role with very little dialogue but a lot of brawn. Whilst Aaron Eckhart portrays the beleaguered President Asher, Morgan Freeman again manages to assume the role of President (as in Deep Impact), albeit briefly, and his scenes within the Pentagon crisis centre are about 100 times more convincing that poor Glenn Close and Dean Stockwell in the equivalent scenes from Air Force One (surely some of the worst bits of acting in mainstream film history).
If you don’t like violence, this is not the film for you: it earns its 15 certificate without quite resorting to a 10 on the Tarentino scale. But there is enough corn ladled on in bucketloads to allow you to treat the violence with ‘Tom and Jerry’ disregard – – with fluttering tattered Stars and Stripes symbolically drifting to the ground, and eye-wateringly bad decisions being made that make you want to yell “WHAT???” at the screen.
Art house finesse it is not, but would I get this on Blu-ray to watch again on a dark winter’s afternoon – yes, absolutely. So for that reason:
Fad Rating: FFFf.