Oh To Be A 9 Year-Old-Again.

damnation alley
Damnation Alley, the best movie of all time? At one point, yes, yes it was.

When I was young, I saw what I thought was the greatest movie of all time. Damnation Alley. Now, this was before Star Wars, you understand, but this movie had it all. Jan Michael Vincent with the coolest feathered hair, a neat truck that had three wheels where one would normally be, and the best special effects I’d ever seen. Giant scorpions! Carpets of flesh-eating beetles. And a spooky red sky!

OMG cool.

Years later, I watched that movie and thought that I must have been inhaling too much model glue. It sucked. And sucked bad.

But at that time in my life, it was the best movie ever.

Fast forward to today.

For fun, The-Youngest and I went to see Independence Day 2. He loved it in a way only a 9-year-old can love it. We got to sit in the D-box seats which basically means our butts got vibrated every time something blew up and the chair tilted this way and that with every flying sequence.

I gotta say, it was kinda cool.

He watched the movie with great intensity as humanity fought the aliens. He tilted and flowed with the gyrating D-seat. He raised his hands over his head when the aliens were defeated. (Oh, crap, I should have said, ‘spoiler alert’, but hey, spoiler alert, the aliens are defeated.)

Later, he told me how he would have shot the aliens, how he wants to go to Area 51 where they keep the aliens, and how he figured out how best to outfit my Mustang with lasers.

For him, the movie was a complete success.  The graphics were amazing. There was none of that annoying ‘character development’ stuff that got in the way. He didn’t ask why the stupid old guy in a stupid bus would be chased by the stupid alien queen (oh, crap, spoiler alert, there’s a stupid alien queen, and she chases a stupid bus). He didn’t care that the alien’s plan seemed to boil down to drilling a hole in the earth when they could have pretty much just used their 3000-mile-wide ship to beat us into little pieces like some sort of kinder egg in the hands of an angry toddler.

Nope, for him, it was a great movie.

What is going on with the writing here?

For me, I hated the dialogue.  I hated the fake personal stakes, and I absolutely hated that there wasn’t a funny Will Smith pilot in it. I hated that I didn’t care about any of the characters or the world or even the aliens. I hated that the movie felt like I wrote it in grade 4.

I mean this is the age of Game of Thrones. Of The Walking Dead. Of Bridesmaids.

People know how to make good shows, so what happened here?

I have no idea. I blame Obama.

I would have given it a 2 out of 10.

But seeing it with The-Youngest, and listening to him talk about it with such enthusiasm, it made that movie a 6/10. 7/10 with those cool D-box seats.

I do miss that  9-year-old mindset when I didn’t judge a movie by the actors, the writing, the structure or theme, I just judged whether it was cool or not.

And if it had rad scorpions.


Oh the Horror – A Movie Review and More

Still one of the scariest movies of all time - Exocist
Still one of the scariest movies of all time – Exorcist

At some point in a boy’s life, he becomes… well, let’s say ‘interested’ in horror movies. ‘Obsessed’ might be a better word, but ‘interested’ will do.

The-Oldest has reached that point. He’s read It. He’s watched movies like Nightmare on Elm St and Exorcist, which, FYI, is still one of the best horror movies of all time.

So while the Prettiest-Girl-In-The-World took The-Youngest to his first baseball batting tryout, The-Oldest and I decided to watch a movie. I wanted to make sure I got quality time with him as well. I greatly fear that The-Youngest, being a little more sportsie and challenging, tends to take up nearly all my time.

So I hoped I’d be able to do something fun with The-Oldest.

Hence a movie.

A movie I’d not heard about.

At all.


How did we choose it?

Well, we did what we do. Both The-Oldest and I won’t use a Kleenex until we’ve researched which ones last the longest, which ones are the softest and which ones are the most environmentally friendly.

So we looked into the best horror movies of all time.

There are many lists out there. There are lists of lists. Seems everyone and their demonic dog has a thought on this subject. Most included movies like 6th Sense or Silence of the Lambs which are not, in and of themselves, actual horror movies.

We’d looked at the lists from Rotten Tomatoes. IMDb. Metacritic.

Sadly, we’d seen most of the movies on most of the lists.

Child's Play.
Child’s Play.

Now, currently, The-Oldest’s favourite horror movie of all time is Child’s Play. He admits it isn’t the best movie ever made, nor even a particularly good movie, it’s just that he likes it. At his age, I thought Phantasm was the best movie ever made, so maybe at 13, our minds see things in a totally different way.

So I was a little leery when we found this Babadook movie. It’s Australian for one. It didn’t have any talking dolls or demons brought back from dreams or slashy serial killers. On top of that, it was written and directed by a woman.

Jennifer Kent.

And it had a silly name. Babadook? WTF???

It was, however, the winner of 49 awards!

Here’s the pitch… “A single mother, plagued by the violent death of her husband, battles with her son’s fear of a monster lurking in the house, but soon discovers a sinister presence all around her.”

A scary house. A monster. A sinister presence.

Sounds ok, right? Sounds like something I’ve seen a hundred times before, right?


It was the most terrifying movie I’ve seen in awhile. Quite awhile.

It was the type of movie that stays with you for a long, long time.

Babadook. Holy hell, scary.
Babadook. Holy hell, scary.

The visuals were perfect. I mean, freaking perfect. The acting was so un-Hollywood that you thought you were watching a real family in crisis. The pacing was agonizingly tense. The music so creepy, I had to claw a blanket over me.

But the true genius was in the characters, their struggles and the ambiguous nature of the ‘evil’.

Without giving much away, the child wasn’t a lovable waif who said ‘I wove you momby’. No, he was deeply damaged by what happened in his past and was, to quote The-Oldest, “one tough kid to like.” He screamed a lot. Obsessed a lot.  Needed his mom A LOT.

And his mom, well the best that can said about her is that she was having a complete mental breakdown. Who could blame her? A huge trauma in her life. No sleep. A spooky book that she couldn’t get rid of. And a crazy? son.

I don’t want to reveal everything, but jezzus was this a great movie. I could not guess for a moment where they were going from scene to scene and, even after watching it, I’m still not entirely sure what happened. I mean, what REALLY happened, especially with her being a writer and all (they’re messed up people.)

The-Oldest, however, loved it. Even though he’d never admit it, it scared the pants off him, and there’s nothing a teenager (who hasn’t discovered girls, yet) likes more than having his pants scared off. Nightmares will come. Some of those images are burned into his brain. And that music…


So, yeah, a total success.

I’m super glad I didn’t have to see it alone.








Traveling With Kids – San Diego – Catching Fire

Hunger Games Before Bed

catching fireCatching Fire’s a pretty good movie, but is it a good movie for a 7 and 11 year old? Will it be too scary, or too mature? Is there more than can be learned from that movie, or will the boys just want to shoot other children with arrows?

But hey, they’d seen The Hunger Games and didn’t get any nightmares, so I thought, why not? It’s a little deeper movie than they’re used to, I mean, there aren’t any big-eyed Japanese animations or stretchy dogs, but it could also be a little disturbing. It’s a pretty dark movie and people die. Good people.

IMG_3794So we decided to stay in, order pizza (I swear they could have pizza every day) and watch the movie.

The Prettiest-girl-in-the-world gave me that look that says, I hope you know what we’re doing. I’m not sure if that look was for the garlic cheese bread I’d ordered with the pizza or the movie, but either way, if the boys were up in the middle of the night, it wouldn’t be good.

katnissSo we watched it all the way through. There are so many things that worked in this movie and, being a wanna-be story-teller, I want to point out all the great things the writers do. How they chose which character to kill and how they made sure that you’d care that they died. How they made a douchie character multidimensional by showing us someone he loves, or by having the villain care about something too, something other than just power, how they use lighting for mood, and how brilliant Jennifer Lawrence is as an actor.

But that’s a little much for them right now. Instead, I gleefully answer questions when they come up… like why did they kill the old man? They are shocked and horrified when this happens.

“He gave a symbol of defiance,” I tell them.

“What’s defiance?”

cathing fire saluteThe Prettiest-girl-in-the-world is wicked fast with an explanation. “He’s refusing to obey.”

“That three-fingered salute is like giving the people in- charge the finger,” I add in my typically clueless fashion. Did they even know what giving the finger is? And if they didn’t, how am I going to explain THAT to them?

Apparently they do. Apparently mommy gives that gesture to some drivers. So they ask, “But why, why was the old man defiant?”

Me – “Because he and all the others are forced to live terrible lives and they see Katniss as a symbol of defiance. And to salute her, they give her a 3 fingered salute, the salute of her district.”

“Why do they have such horrible lives?” the oldest asks.

“They don’t have any food. The are cold. They don’t have any hope that their lives will get better. At least until Katniss appears.”

More questions follow and I love that they are asking them. I want to show them movies that make them think. I want to take them to places in the world that gives them new experiences. I want to get them away from a world of youtube clips and mods in minecraft and into the real world of history and people and architecture and art and food and moral dilemmas.

Lofty goals, for sure. I mean, right now, it’s a huge success if they agree to try a Mexican fish stick, but I’ll keep at it.

presidentIn the end, the movie succeeds. They hate the president, and it’s interesting that they hate the person and not the system created.

I get a chance to talk to them more about that. I think the movie does a great job of personifying the government, the capital, in one person. And that, of course, makes it easier for good to triumph.

I do not tell them that good rarely defeats a system. At least in 2 hours. Good can defeat a villain, though, I tell them. It’s a good thing for them to believe, even if it’s something that isn’t always true.

But hope in the movie is powerful. Sacrifice is powerful. Love is powerful. Standing up for what you believe in is powerful.

And I think they understood that.

My only fear is that we’ll get the three fingers next time we tell them they have to eat their broccoli.



Frosted Flakes – Frozen Review

frozenFrozen – Movie Review

Like frosted flakes, it’s kinda sugary and far from the worst thing out there. But it’s not the best choice, either.

Here’s the plot (from IMdB). Fearless optimist Anna teams up with Kristoff in an epic journey, encountering Everest-like conditions, and a hilarious snowman named Olaf in a race to find Anna’s sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom in eternal winter.


Not being a 12 year old girl, it’s difficult for me to like this movie. It’s not bad – it is Disney after all – but it has 5 things that doom it for a geeky guy like me.

1) It’s about princesses. Not pirate- or hobbit- or cyborg-princesses either. Just princesses. In princess dresses. Doing princess things. Thinking princess thoughts. Ack.

2) There is singing. A lot of singing. Some of the songs are cool but why have a song when you can have a dragon eating someone? Or at least threatening to eat someone.

princess bride3) This, to kinda quote the Princess Bride, is a kissing movie. Now I’m not really against kissing movies, but at least Princess Bride had a funny, highly quotable Scillian villain (“You fell victim to one of the classic blunders – The most famous of which is “never get involved in a land war in Asia” – but only slightly less well-known is this: “Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line”! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha…” plop), Inigo You-killed-my-father Montoya and Miracle Max. It was so much more than a kissing movie. This is not.

panda4)  Where are the memorable quotes, I ask you, where? All of my favourite kids movies have epic quotes. Kung Fu Panda “We do not wash our pits in the pool of Sacred Tears.” Up. “Squirrel!!!” Toy Story “To infinity and beyond!” The only quote I can remember is Anna – “Olaf, you’re melting!” Olaf the Snowman – “Some people are worth melting for.” Cute, right, but not epic. Not something I’ll likely quote at biker rallies or in MMA bars.

5) Once again, the parents die. What the m*therf*ck is wrong with Disney that they have to kill off the parents? There is some serious therapy needed at this international super-corporation.

On the plus side, it has 5 things to recommend it.

1) Crazy good graphics! Check out the snow (while you listen to someone sing about something.) Look at the way the light plays off of the walls of the ice castle!

olaf2) The sidekicks rock. The snow man who sings of seeing the sun and doing things that snowman do in the sun is funny and heartbreaking. If Disney does one thing well, it’s usually their supporting characters. Without Olaf the snowman and Sven the reindeer, this movie would be an epic fail.

3) Popcorn was good. And buttery. A movie is so much better with buttery popcorn. Disney should give this away for free. My reviews would be kinder.

4) It’s not that turkey movie about turkeys trying to save turkeys from being turkey dinners. When all else fails, realize there are way, way worse movies out there.

5) It has a good moral message. All kids movies should, imho. I won’t spoil it, as much as I’d like to, so just know that these Disney folks, they not only love a happy ending, but one that should create better little human beings. Me, I’m too old for that stuff and in no way got a bit teary at the end, no, that was allergies and popcorn butter in my eye.

So, if you want to check out a few more reviews, look at Rotten Tomatoes. Most of them totally disagreed with me.

But if you want my opinion, it’s not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon with kids under 12. Boys may find the lack of cars, fighting robots or fire-breathing dragons a big problem. I know I did.


ripdImagine a movie where they use their best 3D effects to heave spit or vomit into your face. Bad, right? Well, it gets worse. What if a movie then compounds that insult by making a bloated, meandering mess fails where no action film should fail: It’s boring.

RIPD is that movie.

Did no one read the script before deciding to do this movie? Did no one watch the movie after it was made? Does Ryan Reynolds have an agent and if he does, is that agent trying to get him off the ‘A’ list?

It’s too bad, because RIPD had such a great promise. Sort of an undead version of MIB. Ryan Reynolds gets killed, but before he can pass into that white light, he’s yanked into a room with sardonic (but sexy) Mary Louise Parker, and told he’s been recruited by the Rest in Peace Department, an undead serve-and-protect agency dedicated to catching ‘deados’, aka spirits not ready to depart this world (all of whom are bad spirits for some reason.)

However it failed and failed on so many levels it might be worthy of a cowboy song. Here’s a few thoughts as to why.

1. Ryan Reynolds did not take off his top. I know this seems like a small thing, but once you convince your girlfriend to see a nerdy movie by saying, hey, it has Ryan Reynolds and you know how he loves to go all Magic Mike, and then he doesn’t, you get a look of death.

2. The special effects are bad. Not just offensive and stupid and juvenile, but BAD. The deados in particular look cheap. They look so 20th century. They look like something done in a special effects training school for the blind. Considering what can be done, (look at the stunning Pacific Rim, or Superman or Star Trek and… well…) I expected a lot more. Whoever did these effects should be embarrassed. Like cat-stuck-in-toilet-video embarrassed.

3. Jeff Bridges alone cannot carry a movie. He’s funny, charming and most of the laughs in the movie come from him. Sometimes I think he didn’t even have a script. Maybe that’s why he worked. Maybe he just tossed his lines and made up his own. If I was to make a suggestion for the other ‘buddy’ in this buddy movie, it would be Ryan, my Canadian friend, please find a good movie. Please.

4. The great joke, that Ryan Reynolds comes back to the world as an old, banana-wielding Asian gentleman in a beige jacket (while Jeff Bridges is a smoking hot blond) is a funny, funny idea. Really funny. Sometimes I wanted to see that old Asian dude more and Ryan Reynolds less. This is a serious problem for Mr. Reynolds.jeff That I wanted to see Jeff Bridges more than the buxom blond also says a lot about Mr. Bridges. Or me.

5. The villain in Superman was General Zod. Powerful. Driven. Deadly. The villain in Star Trek was a super-human genius capable of killing Klingons like he was playing a video game on easy mode. The villain here… A super fat (and badly rendered) ‘deado’. Or Kevin Bacon… a jokey hahaha Deado Kevin Bacon (Honestly, I’m not sure which was the supposed to be the uber villain) but either way, an epic fail in the bad guy department. Lame. Lame. Lame. Have they not read anything about creating a great antagonist?

6. In the end, spoiler alert, for the love of God, spoiler alert, our hero’s love dies, but since he’s dead, they can be together and, well, I got all teary-eyed (for obvious reasons if anyone knows me.) A perfect ending. In death they have found each other again. Sad but kinda happy, too, right? Of course. So what did these guys do with that ending? They kept on rolling and have her wake up and suddenly Ryan Reynolds is ok with losing her and Jeff Bridges gets his beard sucked on by Mary Louise Parker (in perhaps the oddest but kinda sexy scene I think I’ve ever seen) and everything’s ok. WTF? Gack!

However, the title did not suck. It’s one of the best titles of all time. Too bad the movie didn’t live up to it. You know what, let me make this easy – Watch the trailer. It’s got all the best parts of the movie.




Star Trek: Into Greatness

Star Trek: Into Darkness. 

Every so often a movie goes beyond awesomely epic to be epically awesome, which we all know is about as good as a movie can get.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeLp2qr2iCg]Star Trek: Into Darkness is that movie. It’s that good. See it. See it now. See it twice. If you’re a big trek-ish person, see it every day until it leaves the theater. The special effects are outstanding, the visuals spectacular, the action unrelenting, and the acting so good that I even forgot that Chris Pine has a giant head.

If you like action films, you’ll love this. If you like romance, this has it too. If you like to laugh, then come on in. If you like musicals, then, errr, well, go see Les Mis. But even if you’re not a Trek fan, this movie should wow you. It has real heart. This may be on par with the best sequels of all time. As good as The Empire Strikes Back, Spiderman 2, Termie 2, Aliens, Mad Max2 and, of course, Star Trek 2: Wrath of Khan. Better in some ways.


I can’t tell you.


I can’t tell you that, either.

Here’s the thing. To tell you why it’s epically awesome, I would have to reveal the plot and it’s one hell of a plot. I’ll talk a bit about it in my writing blog, but that’ll be on Thursday and I’ll still do my best not to have too many spoilers.

But here’s the basics… Sherlock Holmes (the English dude, not the one on Elementary dude), is the uber bad guy, and boy, does he have a hate-on for Starfleet so it’s up to Kirk and Spock and Bones and Scotty and Uhura to stop him. There are space battles, fights with Klingons, a brilliant scene with Kirk defying the Prime Directive and one of the best couple arguments on screen to-date. Our loyal Star Fleeters face impossible odds, an unbeatable foe and if they fail, everything they hold dear will be destroyed.

Cool, right?

It is. JJ Abrams and his writing crew know their stuff.

But what works, what really works, is the chemistry between all the characters. And not just Kirk and Spock. All the main characters get a chance to shine on stage. We laugh with them, we cry with them, we want them to win, and when the movie ends we are sad  because we can no longer spend time with them.

So, after you finish reading this, go to a theater, sit in the dark with a tub full of buttery popcorn, a fizzing pop in your cup holder and be prepared for one great ride.

This one is worth the money.


42The Jackie Robinson story. A great story. The first black man in baseball, a true hero who triumphed over racism and general nastiness not by punching someone in the nose, but by Gandhi-ing them. Turning the other cheek. Being the best gentlemen he could be. By being an shining example.

The movie should have been awesome.

The problem was, it wasn’t. It was boring. Old fashioned. Slow. And worse, they used overly melodramatic and ham-fisted emotional scenes to try and manipulate us. Boo!  Booooooo!

Not that there weren’t things to like.

42 Harrison FordIndiana Jones was fantastic as the cigar chewing, beer-bellied, soft-spoken, hard as nails owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

In fact, if you ask me, (go ahead, ask me,) it was as much his story as Jackie Robinson’s. Or the reporter’s story.

And there-in lies the problem. This wasn’t so much a movie as a bio-pic. A series of linear events that work great if you’re Ken Burns, but not so great in today’s demanding movie environment.

Perhaps they were hampered by history, but history didn’t stop Mel Gibson from making Braveheart, an almost completely fictitious account of William Wallace. Freeeeeeeeeeedooooooom!

And the fact that in the beginning credits, they said this movie was based on true events should have meant they took a bit of license with history to make a great story.

Maybe have him defend the world from Zombies? Maybe have him fight off North Koreans attacking the White House? Maybe he kills a giant shark?

Personally, being a know-it-all, I would have chosen just one year in his life. That’s it. The first season with the Dodgers. That part of the movie was the best. It had the pilot from Serenity spitting abuse at him, it had entire stadiums full of people yelling at him, hotels that wouldn’t let him stay, evil runners who spiked him, evil pitchers who beaned him in the head, and all the while Indiana Jones stands beside him, rooting him on.

42aJackie Robinson. A brave man. A pioneer. An American legend.

Number 42, deserved better.

He really did.


Evil Dead Indeed.

evil deadWe’ve all seen this movie.

In fact, it’s a remake so you really may have seen this movie. See, there’s a cabin. In the woods (the inspiration for Josh Whedon’s… errr… Cabin in the Woods.) Young people come to this cabin. They do something they shouldn’t. Bad things happen.

Funny thing about horror movies, though. Everyone in them must never have seen a horror movie in their lives. They just don’t know that when you find a book made out of human skin, you don’t go freaking reading all the cool bits aloud. They have no clue that if it’s not pulped, set on fire and the ashes cleansed in holy water and sprite, then it ain’t dead! And don’t get me started on the whole backing up thing.

So this movie should fail, right?


Somehow, writer/director Fede Alvarez makes it work.

And this is nothing short of astounding.

People, this movie is genuinely disturbing. I won’t say it’s frightening, but some of the images, some of the sounds, some of the on-screen moments may very well haunt you for a long time. I know tonight I’m going to sleep with the lights on and a fully fueled chainsaw beside my bed.

Ok, sure, it doesn’t have Bruce Campbell in it. It isn’t as campy as the original. And it probably won’t spawn a remake of the greatest movie of all time, Evil Dead 3, aka Army of Darkness, (“it’s a trick! Get an ax!”)

But that’s ok. This movie succeeds with a combination of innovative camera shots, acting that doesn’t seem like anyone’s acting and gut-wrenching violence.

Interestingly enough, when I went to see the movie, it was full of couples. How the men got their wives or girlfriends to see this shocker, I have no idea.

Did they just lie? Oh, hey, it’s all about nature and woods and there’s a love story and Ryan Gosling is shirtless in it.

Well, no, Ryan Gosling is not in it, shirtless or otherwise, and there isn’t a bone splinter of a love story anywhere to be found.

Were they bribed? Cars? Diamonds? Trips to Paris? Cuz that’s what they may want after seeing this one. It is horror at it’s more gruesome.

But this movie may very well give life to a new series of spectacularly unnerving gore-fests.

evil dead moreIf they have the same writer and director, I’ll go see it.

In the dark.


And if you like to be scared or unsettled or love closing your eyes through half a movie, this one’s for you.

GI Doh

G.I. Joe: Retaliation

gi joeThe best part of this movie was a trailer for the new Star Trek epic coming out later this year. Oh, the movie wasn’t a complete disaster, but it’s one best seen on cheap Tuesdays or with a friend who’s willing to buy a ticket for you.

First, a warning to any potential female viewers. Despite promo pictures to the contrary, the Magic Mike guy, Tatum Channing or Channing Tatum – I always forget – does not, I repeat does not appear topless. The ninja guy, Stormshadow (played by Byung-hun Lee) does, however seem to love to fight without a top. But that’s it.

The plot is simple, because, well, it has to be, it’s nothing more than a vehicle for lots of things blowing up, some nifty fight scenes and loads of hi-tech guns, tanks, and bullets. The Joe’s, betrayed by their own government, must defeat the hissing Cobra Commander from destroying the world. Hoorah!

Along the way, there’s some painful dialogue, the Rock flexes his muscles, and Bruce Willis shows up to make sure old guys are represented.

ninjasPerhaps the highlight of the movie is a battle between red ninjas and the good guys, Snake eyes and Jinx, that takes place on the cliffs of the Himalayas. Using ropes, the swing at each other, swords out, death a billion feet below. Pretty cool, actually. The evil henchman Firefly is also kind of nifty as he uses, you guessed it, little metallic, remote control fireflies that go boom-boom. I ended up rooting for him. It didn’t help. He still dies.

Sorry to spoil it for everyone.

I wanted to like this movie more than I did. But I couldn’t completely shut off my brain. If you go, clear your mind, adjust your 3D glasses and enjoy the ride. It’s an action film after all. And it has plenty of action. Just not much else.

Olympus Has Fallen and It Can't Get Up

Olympus Has Fallen

thCA803XFEI love the title. Do they really call the White House ‘Olympus’? Cuz, you know, that’s kinda cool. Sadly, they don’t, so it isn’t. And that defines the movie as much as anything. It’s just a whole lot of stuff they should have gotten right.

Here’s the idea. The White House is attacked by the Red Dawn baddies, aka, the North Koreans. It’s actually the best part of the movie, an amazing assault that seems all too likely to succeed in real life. They take over the White House, capture the President and  threaten to eat the family dog or something, but luckily there’s one tough-as-nails guy who can stop them. The way Die Hard 5 should have been.

gbGerald Butler is pretty good as the heroic hero who, surprisingly, does not fight most of the bad guys with his shirt off. Directed by Antoine Fuqua of Training Day fame, it has lots of gunfights, stabby-stab knife fights and great hand-to-hand combat. Action-wise, I give it full marks. However, there were so many moments in the film that were just, well, wrong.

A few of my bigger concerns.

  • The terrorists torture key people to get the super secret code. But why didn’t the terrorists torture everyone right away? I mean, what were they waiting for? The stars to align? Take-out? Torture them all, I say, do it now, and do it hard. But no, they did it like they weren’t surrounded by thousands of elite special forces troops, like it was just afternoon tea at the empress.
  • The Speaker says, ‘We don’t negotiate with terrorists’. What crap. After only a few hours later, he’s willing to do just that and sell the world out to save one man. Nonsense. Utter nonsense but then the speaker was probably a democrat (or a republican depending on your political preference.)
  • If the good guys knew the super-secret codes were being hacked or people tortured to get the codes, hello, send someone in to all the turn off the wifi in the weapons so they wouldn’t receive the code.
  • The nuclear codes the president carries around with him in his lunch box can be reset. So, what do the writer’s do? They make another, an ever more super-secret set of codes and this time, the codes will blow up the American’s own missiles. Why? I don’t really know. I guess you never know when you want to nuke yourself or kill that rat in the silo.
  • Everyone in the war room seemed to basically be sitting around. Oh, the army arrives, well, tell them to wait so the bad guys can better defend and fortify their position. It’s not like the terrorists have access to super-secret codes or anything. No rush. Have a smoke. Watch some porn. Then, the good guys have lots of snipers deployed and they don’t use a one of them. Then, when war room sleepers finally decide to do something, ie, send in the SEALs, why not send in SEALs to recon? Or Delta Force? Why rely on one guy, even if he is Gerald Butler? Apparently they’re just kinda hoping the elite Korean Kommandos on the roof will look away at some point or don’t have night vision glasses.
  • So THEN, the egg heads in the war room decide to storm the place and send in helicopters? When they have no idea if the terrorists have anti-aircraft missiles? No feint. No, hey, look over there, Angelina Joli is naked, no, they go with a simple aerial insertion, without any supporting ground fire, without a ground attack, without air support (hey, what happened to those jets or why not use a C-130 of their own for the love of God!)
  • For some reason, they need someone important to die in the 1st part of the movie, so, I think, she can run for congress. But they do it in such a silly way: Speeding in a snowstorm. Bad idea. A little too contrived, if you ask me.
  • The head terrorist basically said, anyone attacks and we shoot the president, yet, when Gerard Butler attacks, the head terrorist doesn’t do jack about it. Does he dial the guys sitting around in the war room and say, stop that m*therf*cker or I’ll shoot Two-face in the face? No, he sends out a squad of men. To be fair, this squad was pretty hard core when killing thousands of secret service agents, but became somewhat ineffective when faced with a handsome hero.
  • Torture, oh my goodness, torture. These are bad guys. They aren’t kindergarten teachers. So what do they do? They punch the secdef a few times. Punch her! Do they cut off her nose? Drive a knife into her leg? Tear her tear out of her teeth with rusty pliers? Make her watch Jersey Shore? No. And the President can’t stand to see his people hurt so he tells them to give up a secret that will destroy every square inch of America? Seriously? Because the bad guys need 3 codes and he had one of them AND thinks he can hold out against torture? Well, maybe he could, cuz all they threatened him with was a punch in the nose. Watch someone get disemboweled slowly or have their skin peeled from their bodies in strips and maybe you’d think twice about the whole, oh I can take the torture thing.
  • What the f*ck was the Hydra thing? A big Gatling cannon? Ooooh. Watch out! Why did that have to get introduced? It clearly wasn’t as effective as shoulder launched missiles would have been, though it shot pretty lights into the night, but wait, hold on, didn’t that main terrorist dude say we’d kill the prez if the White House was attacked? Did he forget about that? It’s one thing to have Gerald Butler sneaking around, but this was a full-on attack! Either way, for some reason, they wanted to introduce a high-tech toy so that, errr, I guess, Gerard Butler could… destroy it? Hey, douchbags, terrorist 101, IEDs on the roof. Simple as that.
  • Does no one protecting the president have a bulletproof vest? Maybe they don’t but I have to wonder at that. I know I would. I’d have two. And a steel jock strap.
  • Has no one trained the secret service agents to lie prone and shoot from that position? Or from cover? Standing up, in the open, in the middle of a gun battle often leads to being shot in the head. And chest. And neck. And arms. And stomach. And, well, you get the idea. Cover, people, cover. Have they not played a video game in the last 100 years?
  • Ok, hold on, so like the entire South Korean delegation except for the president were terrorists? And the plan was to hope that the secret service would violate protocol, and let them all into a small, enclosed space with the leader of the free world and the woman who had sex with Louie CK? And the delegation were all allowed to carry their weapons? Someone please talk to someone in the secret service. This would never happen. Those guys don’t give a rats ass about politics, they are all about one thing, save the prez.
  • There wasn’t a single naked woman in the show. How did this happen?

And that’s just off the top of my head.

Too many, ‘wait, what?’ moments.

I don’t know if I’d say ‘miss this one,’ it does have great action, but if you go, leave your brain behind.