After an incident destroys the First Family, Secret Service Agent Mike Banning gets moved into a new detail with the Treasury Department. Eighteen months after the accident, President Benjamin Asher is ready to welcome in the Prime Minister of South Korean to talk about the increasing threat from North Korea. During a meeting in the Oval Office, an USAF plane piloted by a group of terrorists breaks into DC airspace and reeks havoc around the White House. While the plane comes down, guerilla troops take the front lawn and advance on the building. During the attack, Asher takes the Prime Minister and the group from the Oval Office to the bunker but is surprised to find that uncover agents have infiltrated the group. With the White House seized by the guerilla group and President trapped in the bunker, the only man left to save the day is Agent Banning.
Starring: Gerard Butler (Mike Bannin), Aaron Eckhart (President Benjamin Asher), Finley Jacobsen (Connor), Dylan McDermott (Forbes), Rick Yune (Kang), Morgan Freeman (Speaker Trumbull), Angela Bassett (Secret Service Director Lynn Jacobs), Melissa Leo (Secretary of Defense Ruth McMillan), Radha Mitchell (Leah), Cole Hauser (Roma), Phil Austin (VP Charlie Rodriguez), Keong Sim (Lee Tae-Woo), Robert Forster (General Edward Chegg), Sam Medina (Yu), Kevin Moon (Cho)
This high intensity cast is anchored by the action star, Gerard Butler. While he may seem to be filling the role of the hero, Butler was the right choice to play this character. His brutishness and intensity fit well for a rouge Secret Service agent. Aaron Eckhart is great in every role he plays, particularly in his dramatic moments. Dylan McDermott and Rick Yune serve their villainous roles with a distrust and deception that help drive the story. Also quite intense is the role played by Melissa Leo, who (save for one moment) shows strength in character and in humanity.
Playing into Americans’ worst fears, Antoine Fugua puts together a film that would make Michael Bay proud. While the setup is fairly tragic, the attack on the Nation’s Capital is disturbing and grandiose. Surprisingly surviving the massive gunfire, Mike took it on himself to lead a single-man assault on the terrorists, successfully taking down a number of them but still finding himself lost in the scuffle. With the President and Vice President incapacitated, Speaker Trumbull took the reigns and tries to use Lynn’s trust in Mike and his wits to delay turning the nation of South Korea over to the North Koreans. Mike led his assault on the terrorists, proving his valor and benefits of his training, but the terrorists successfully work toward getting the codes to the Cerberus, a system that controls the country’s nuclear missile defense.
The fears that this movie can create are intense. The special effects during the takeover scene include high-powered machine guns and missile defense systems that light up the screen. While an attack like this would never be as successful as it appeared on-screen, it certainly brings out the worst fears in its viewers. Just as spectacular as the air assault was the one on the ground, which included an array of double-crosses and coordinated attacks. The technology highlighted throughout the film was rather impressive and seemed to be fairly believable.
While there are a lot of accusations out there about trying to trick people into seeing this movie, it is actually an intense, wild ride that pulls the viewer into the chaos. The acting is solid and the special effects are fantastic. Definitely worth seeing in the theater.
Dan’s Rating: 3.5/5