Olympus Has Fallen – Die Welt in Gefahr

Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler: 300; Robin Hood) leitet den Personenschutz von Präsident Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart: Thank You For Smoking; The Dark Knight) und dessen Familie. Im nächtlichen Winter kommt es auf einer Fahrt von Camp David zu einer Feier zu einem Unglück und Banning muss die First Lady sterben lassen um den Präsidenten zu retten. Anderthalb Jahre später ist Banning nicht mehr für den Personenschutz zuständig, weil Asher nicht ständig durch seine Anwesenheit an das Unglück erinnert werden will. Es kommt der Tag, an dem eine südkoreanische Delegation zu Gesprächen im Weißen Haus erwartet wird. Doch dies läuft anders als gedacht und entpuppt sich als groß angelegter Angriff auf Washington D.C. und das Weiße Haus. Binnen Minuten gelingt es den Angreifern die Verteidigung der Residenz des mächtigsten Mannes der Welt zu überwältigen, das Gebäude einzunehmen und ihn in seinen Bunker zurückzudrängen. Dort verschanzt er sich mit seinen Führungskräften und der Delegation, nur um schmerzlich zu erfahren dass er seine Feinde mit in den Bunker genommen hat. Denn dort kann Kang Yeonsak (Rick Yune) den zweiten Teil seines Plans in die Tat umsetzen und den Präsidenten als Geisel nehmen. Aber auch an Banning ging der Vorfall nicht vorbei. Er kämpft sich durch das Weiße Haus, fest entschlossen den Präsidenten zu retten.

Die Geschichte ist ziemlich unrealistisch. Angefangen vom gut ausgestatteten und organisierten Angriff auf die Stadt; über die erstaunlich gut ausgebildeten Angreifer und die unglaublich schlechte Elite der Personenschützer (abgesehen natürlich vom Protagonisten); bis hin zu den Verhandlungsstrategien der USA und Sicherheitstechniken ihrer Weltenvernichter. Das Ganze natürlich großzügig gespickt mit Klischees, Patriotismus und Löchern in der flachen Story. Apropos flach, da wären ja noch die Charaktere ohne Hintergrundgeschichte. Aber – und jetzt kommen wir zum positiven Teil – sie überzeugen zumindest irgendwie in ihren Rollen. Auch der oben nicht genannte Morgan Freeman (Die Verurteilten; aktuelle Batman Reihe) als Sprecher des Repräsentantenhauses und kommissarischer Präsident soll da nicht unerwähnt bleiben. Alles in allem handelt es sich um einen soliden, gradlinigen und kurzweiligen Actionfilm, den man so betrachtet gern mal an einem Abend zum Hirnaushängen anschaun kann. Aber Moment mal. Terroristen nehmen ein Gebäude ein, die Rettungstruppen müssen draußen bleiben, während sich ein Mann alleine durch das Gebäude kämpft? Das kennen wir doch schon irgendwoher. Genau! Wer Stirb langsam mag, der wird vermutlich auch an diesem Film hier Gefallen finden, auch wenn Bruce Willis mehr flucht.

Und noch ein Vergleich. Bei zerstörtem Weißen Haus muss ich immer an Roland Emmerich denken, den Meister der Zerstörung und Experte was die Vernichtung amerikanischer Wahrzeichen angeht. Ende des Jahres kommt sein Film White House Down mit Channing Tatum (G.I. Joe Reihe) und Jamie Foxx (Collateral; Django Unchained) in die Kinos, wo er dann zeigen kann wie er das Thema angeht.

Originaltitel: Olympus Has Fallen
Links: IMDB, Offizielle Webseite

A Few Best Men

David (Xavier Samuel) and Mia (Laura Brent) meet on a tropical island during their vacations and fall in love with each other. It may seem like the usual holiday romance, but they know there’s more to it, so on their last evening, David proposes to Mia and gets a yes. But here’s a problem: He is from London and she is from Australia. So David packs up his best buddies (who are not fond of the idea of losing David) and best men to be, Tom (Kris Marshall), Graham (Kevin Bishop) and Luke (Tim Draxl), to fly to Australia and wed Mia on her parent’s mansion. Of course his friends want to make his stag night, as well as the wedding, a most memorable experience David. Mia’s father, Senator Jim Ramsey (Jonathan Biggins), on the other hand, wants a perfect wedding to impress his political friends.

Obviously, this wedding sets sails for chaos. Said chaos is mostly predictable, but then again, well picked and executed for the major part. And while there are a few typical gross moments, it’s not so bad that you get the urge to puke. What I’m missing a bit is that you feel indifferent towards the characters. You don’t really like or dislike them, they’re just there. I didn’t notice even a hint of feeling sorry for this crashed wedding. While this could also be accounted to the predictability of the movie, another reason would simply be that the characters are swallow. Not that I expect that in a comedy, but it would’ve helped. Then again, this also means, they’re sparing the audience some overused and cheesy romance, since it’s not about the wedding, but the best men on a wedding. The most important part of a comedy is of course the humour. This mix of British and Australian humour does work well together, making this film enjoyable despite its flaws. Then again, this is nothing you need to see on the big screen, so if you’re not totally desperate for a chaos comedy, you might consider another flick.

Deutscher Titel: Die Trauzeugen
Links: IMDB: A Few Best Men, IMDB: This Review

Safe

Mei (Catherine Chan) is a little genius when it comes to numbers. She can remember everything and calculate anything in her mind. That’s why she’s very valuable for the Chinese Triads, who use her as a computer that can’t be hacked or traced. One day, she’s asked to memorize a long number and drive to another place to learn a different one. But the Russian mob steps in and assaults her ride, killing almost everyone. Mei can escape and this is when she meets Luke Wright (Jason Statham). Former elite cop, former small time MMA fighter, on the run from the Russian mob who lost a bunch of money for betting against him in a match and killed his wife in revenge. The will to protect this little girl gives him a new will to live, a drive to go on. And so they run away; away from the Triads, the mob and the corrupt NYPD, trying to figure out why everyone wants either those numbers or her death.

It’s a bit of Mercury Puzzle and 16 Blocks. And despite my usual fears, the story did not turn cheesy due to the kid. But the girl didn’t turn into an unrealistic bad ass as well. Also they did not develop a forced deep relationship between Luke and Mei, which would be unrealistic, considering that the story doesn’t go that long. The film is featuring fast paced action, wrapped into a decent (though not great) story and is supported by good acting. Well, at least good acting from the leading characters, but the supporting ones weren’t that bad as well, so you don’t have to suffer from it. So overall, a quite enjoyable movie, which I would recommend to fans of story driven action movies and especially to all Statham fans.

Just for fun, let’s check the Statham clichés. Shirtless? Yep, first time you see him in the movie. Car-chase? Of course. And when Mei was a bit concerned about his driving style, I was just waiting for a comeback from him that was like “Don’t worry kid, I’ve been doing this for several movies now.”

Deutscher Titel: Todsicher
Links: IMDB: Safe, IMDB: This review

Act of Valor

A team of Navy SEALs is being dispatched to rescue a kidnapped CIA agent from a jungle camp in Costa Rica. While being successful, this is only the start into a series of missions that will lead the elite team to targets all over the world to uncover a terrorist network.

A short synopsis, but there isn’t that much story to start with, so I could easily spoil the whole movie with a few sentences. I also can’t mention the actors, because the SEALs were played by actual SEALs, meaning that (beside staying anonymous) the acting is mostly poor, the characters are swallow (one of them having a pregnant wife is as deep as it gets) and hard to distinguish (wearing uniforms doesn’t make that easier). So does this movie suck? Well, if you expect story and acting, yes and you can stop reading here. But if you can overlook that, maybe you will enjoy this movie. The photography is really, really nice. Well placed views and angles, making it almost eye-candy, if it wasn’t about shooting people. And of course the action is great and if you love action, you will love this flick. From that point of view, it was a great idea to let SEALs play the SEALs, because it feels natural to them, making the action believable (something you often miss). That also makes it more realistic, since they don’t have to figure out how they would behave in a real life situation, since this is something they do for a living. But of course, there is the obvious downer of it being an very patriotic movie. Not that I hate patriotism, but if it turns into a 110 minute commercial for the armed forces, you can get annoyed a bit. And somehow I do believe this is one of the reasons, why the movie is so successful in the US, beside being a mindless action movie with great pictures. Oh and of course, Tom Clancy had his fingers in this.

Links: IMDB: Act of Valor, IMDB: This review

The Sitter

Noah Griffith (Jonah Hill) is a college dropout, who doesn’t do sh*t and lives with his mother. She wants to go on a date, but a problem occurs; her double date partners don’t have a baby sitter. A problem that can be solved with the reluctant Noah. Arriving at the scene, he’s confronted with the timid, but handsome Slater (Max Records), the wannabe it-girl Blithe (Landry Bender) and Rodrigo (Kevin Hernandez), an adoptee with a fell streak. The kids haven’t even started to ruin Noah’s evening, when he gets a call from his “girlfriend”, who’s at a party and needs some coke. Baited with the chance for intercourse, he loads the kids into the family minivan to meet up with Karl (Sam Rockwell), an artistic individual in the narcotics industry.

Mediocre at best. Not a complete waste of time, but still hardly worth it. Let’s have a look at some details, though. My first thought of the movie was: Jonah Hill is getting too old for these roles. Not that those deadbeat character comedies rely on credibility or have an age limit, but still, it’s getting hard to believe. The kids are okay, well they’re kids. And each of them has a small little problem, which gets solved during the course of the movie, to give them reason to be there, aside being part of the main story. But that’s it, every time a small conversation and it’s over. Most of the characters are semi-entertaining, with Sam Rockwell being the one that sticks out the most, even more than Jonah Hill, which is bad for a leading character. Which brings us to the main question of a comedy review: Is it entertaining? Yes, somewhat. You don’t find yourself laughing all the time, but it does mostly have a slightly funny feeling. Then again, it’s lacking originality and you might just smirk, because you knew what was coming.

Deutscher Titel: Bad Sitter
Links: IMDB: The Sitter, IMDB: This Review