REALITY CHECK: OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN

 olympus

If you were awake at all during 2013 or at least had the television on you know that there was a movie about a terrorist takeover of the White House.  And you’d know that there was two of them.  At the time of this writing there was only one.  Olympus Has Fallen, staring Gerald Butler, is the story of a North Korean terrorist takeover of the White House and the subsequent liberation by a lone Secret Service Agent.  Plot aside we can now focus on the fun stuff, ripping it apart for all it’s worth, which in my case is only seven dollars.

Note:  If you haven’t seen the movie yet, don’t bother.  But if you really don’t want it spoiled for you, which would be hard because you have seen Die Hard and this movie is nowhere near as good or fresh, don’t read ahead.  There be spoilers ahead.

Please understand this is not a review of the film.  For that see my Bad Movie Review where I give bad reviews on Bad Movies.  Though I have not started it yet.

I’ll start from the beginning and work my way to the end.  And sometimes I have a conversation with an imaginary producer or filmmaker.  In that case I italicize.  Filmmaking is trying to do the best with what you have.  You only have so much money, time and you have to take shortcuts sometimes.  So I give them some benefit of the doubt.  But it’s also to help you understand why they most likely did what they did.  I don’t know if it’s accurate, I wasn’t there.

So what gives me the expert opinion to comment on this nonsense.  None.  I wasn’t in the Secret Service.  But I don’t have to be an astronaut to know that if you fire a gun in space you’ll probably fly backwards.  I am just a simple nobody.  One that happens to have trained in firearms, close quarter battle and visited that two way street called a gunfight.

I wrote this in one day after seeing the movie.  I don’t have an editor nor give a damn to clean it up enough to make the grammar grammatically correct. Speling, too. If I had an editor I’d probably be getting paid and I’d be doing something more fun than writing this.  Probably watching a bad movie.

And for the faint of heart, I swear a lot.  Sorry, but too fucking bad.

OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN

CODE WORDS:

I had more on this but you can look it up on Wikipedia.  Basically everyone in the President’s family has a code word and they all start with the same letter.  Boring.

BEAST:

The Beast is called that because it’s a Beast.  It’s a gas guzzler and it’s heavy.  It’s that way because it’s an armored vehicle built on a truck chassis, it only looks like a limo.  It weighs something on the order of ten tons, probably heavier.  The doors are several inches thick.  You can see photos of it.  It’s a damn bank vault.  But no movie or TV show has ever shown this properly.   The same shit happens when you deployed Humvees in movies.  It’s a basic humvee, not an M1114.  The audience won’t know the difference unless they were in the military.  By that logic you can have a 747 be an F14 because most people have never flown jets in the Navy.  That’s extreme.  Ok, they do look similar.   Now the Beast is POTUS’ mobile office.  You don’t have to have been inside to know it’s probably got a phone, a DVD/Blu Ray player, a minibar.  But for some reason this one didn’t come with overhead lights.  Or maybe this President just like’s writing in the dark.  It was shot night for day.  I don’t want to explain what that is, look it up.

CONVOY

The convoy is on the move.  There are four or five support vehicles, Suburbans, and the Beast.  It’s snowing, visibility is getting bad.  They keep going.  They near a bridge.  One of the vehicles suffers a bird strike or something, loses control, gets rear end and plummets off the bridge.  The Beast dangles off the edge.  Agents move to recover the pax but only succeed in saving the President.  Beast tips over and sinks.

The Presidential convoy is quite big.  It’s a train.  And there are always a two limo shell game.  Not to mention there’s always an ambulance right behind it.  Convoys are also one of the most dangerous aspects of dignitary protection. so the Secret Service is armed to the teeth.  They have guys sitting the back with automatic rifles facing the rear.  You only see the convoy once.  Six gets the point across.  Six more vehicles, an ambulance means more money for drivers, gas, etc.  And they’re on Camp David, maybe they’d pick some up later on the road.  That’s fine.

Bad road conditions.  They slow down due to diminishing visibility but don’t for the bridge.  Now if you’ve lived in the desert all your life you may not know this, but those of us who have grown up around snow and/or paid attention in driver’s ed know that bridges ice over faster and more often than pavement.  Being among the most highly trained drivers in the world, living in an area that snows and ices quite often they would not only be familiar but have taken precautions, such as changing tires, or more practical, slowing down when coming to a bridge.

We need them to crash.  OK.  No real way around that.  Not so important.

The Beast dangles from the edge.  Secret service rush to save the president.  Two men try to counterbalance the vehicle from tipping over.  I don’t have the actual science on it, but you probably can’t push /pull down that much on a smooth surface or even bumper like they did for a vehicle this heavy.  I once had a Bradley Fight Vehicle, it weighs something like 30 tons and four men couldn’t even rock it in neutral for shits and giggles.  But we’re officers, we’re not even allowed to change light bulbs.  But we need to create tension, that they may lose everyone.  I’ve seen this movie before.  These scene has obviously nothing to do with the plot but to create some kind of distance between the hero and the hostage/President.  Eh, you should have him rescue the First Lady and let the President die.  Then everyone hates him.  To make it even better, even the First Lady hates him.  Now he’s really in the shiter, something worth climbing out from.  Mike Banning, you suck.

THE WHITE HOUSE

A year or something later, maybe months I don’t remember.  Mike’s on a desk.  We hear about other things going on related to the plot.  We then see the White House security force, armed men on patrol.  Then we see the White House.  This is all done to give you a sense of geography.  It will important later.

The cameras on this movie need to see an optometrist because damn if the White House and lawn look smaller than it is.  Many of us have probably been to DC and seen the White House.  Even if we haven’t we’ve seen photos.  It’s a big building.  Yeah, not as big as those surrounding it, but probably bigger than the house most live in.  And the lawns are wide and long.  It’s close to two hundred feet from Pennsylvania Ave to the pillars.  On film is looks closer to fifty.  But what we see is a scaled replica, probably about 80%.  Building the entire thing, even to include an accurate rendition of the grassy areas would be expensive.  That means more grass, more trees.  So you cut it down.  But it looks bad.  You could have gotten away with it on the building itself but not the lawn.   And if I’m wrong and the measurements are correct, something was lost when it was shot because it did not look that way when I was standing on Penn Ave.  Yeah, we couldn’t build all of it to scale, that would be expensive.  It’s also why you never see the West Wing or East Wing from the outside. 

THE KOREAN DELEGATION

I didn’t catch it but was their limo a station wagon.  Wouldn’t the Koreans use a Hyundai.  You know, for pride sake.  And the Foreign Minister looks a tad young and a bit of a pussy.  He’s the equivalent of Secretary of State, he’s the nation’s chief Diplomat.  You get there because you’re a hardened political animal.  And where’s their ambassador?  If the FM is there, surely the ROK’s chief mission to the US would be there as a matter of protocol.  He would also probably know the President better.  Eh, not important, the FM is going to be killed right away regardless.  We are also  never told how he knew the terrorists were working for him or what conspiracy was going on.  There was probably a subplot about a kidnapped wife and child but it was cut.  Though I read the original screenplay (not the production draft) and there was no mention of that either.  Honestly I can overlook this because he’s cannon fodder.

THE AC-130

There are only a handful of these in the Air Force though enough to take over Canada.  They’d sure know if one was missing.  But hey let’s assume the terrorists managed to buy a C130 (there are everywhere) and converted it.  OK, that’s believable.  They sneak into DC airspace most of the way flying low.  Eventually they are spotted.  Raptors warn them and the Koreans respond with their own version of fuck you.  Two miniguns open on each side.  Though from the sound it seemed heavier.  Note:  A minigun fires a rifle round and was called a minigun because it was a mini version of the full-size 20mm rotary cannon.  So the AC 130 flies into DC with guns blazing, four of them, on both sides.  Now as a modified C130 sure, whatever.  But on the real thing, bullshit.  They have only one, maybe two.  They carry large guns inside.  All this takes up space in a small airframe.  And having jumped out of flown in one for several hours, it’s not cramped. It looks cramped when empty.  Doesn’t leave much for ammo.  But hey, we’ll go with the modification.  So how does a backward nation like North Korea develop a highly sophisticated targeting system for its pilots when we can’t even do the same.  Bull crap.  You have gunners.  Pilots are too busy flying and not getting shot down.  Stupid.  And why do they look out the window together, like they’re some kind of robot with one brain among them.  Second Unit director fucked that one up.  They don’t look intimidating or daunting, they look like they belong in a marionette show.  People just want to see them fuck shit up.  I guess, maybe if it was the US raining hellfire on the Taliban I’d agree.  Whatever, the bad guys need their secret weapon.  And honestly, it’s perfect.

You got a real man killer of a weapons system out there.  You want to weaken your opponent’s ability to fight back, but also his ability to respond.  So we see it take down all the neighboring cops with accurate precision.  Now the miniguns are amazing.  They say they can put a round one inch apart on a football field.  And it fires several thousand a minute.  So you don’t want to be on the end of that.  But why are you shooting at street cops.  And for fuck’s sake why are the cops shooting at an AC130.  You’re wasting your ammo, find cover idiot.  But I get it, some of us would probably shoot back at the chance we’d take it down.  Hell, people shoot at LAPD choppers all the time in LA and some actually get hit.   Instead the AC130 should have concentrated on known opponent positions, rooftops, and creating obstacles on the avenues of approach.  Also, it should have been used for what it’s built for, ground support.  In movies it’s hard to do because you have to crosscut between all the various locales that occur very fast and during a short duration.  It can look like chaos.  Sometimes you want that.  But with such known geography you may not.  It may have been done this way in editing.  But I doubt it.  This movie was rushed into release to be the other movie to theatres.  It was supposed to come out in something like July.  Realistically, the attacks would occur roughly all at the same time.  I explain latter.

So the first attempts failed.  This makes no sense.  Why would the SAM gunner, but more likely a computer on auto, fire all the missiles at once.  It would know (programmed) that the target  probably has flares.  So fire one, wait a second, fire another.  If not one, then two at most.  Then fire the second volley.  But we want the missiles to be expended to keep the AC-130 as a threat.  Fine.  F22 shoots it down when it is no longer needed.  And really how long would it have lasted out there.  Not long.

CODE RED:

I don’t know what they call really call it.  They rush the President, the NSC staff, and the delegation to the PEOC.  One of the agents says that’s against protocol.  But the President’s orders go through.  Now the President has a lot of pull, but in a crisis, I think the Agents don’t give a fuck what he says.  Think about it, what if they are being assaulted and the First Daughter is in the open.  “Get my daughter,” hey yells.  They go to get the daughter but have now put the President back in harm’s way.  They’re all dead as a result.  Not in the movies of course, but really there’s a reason why they take him and only him.  They don’t need to deal with any other bullshit at the moment.  Let’s look at AIR FORCE ONE.  Same scenario pretty much happened as this movie but done better.  They didn’t rush the daughter to the pod.  I’m sure if he had a say he’d tell them to put his wife and daughter, or at least the daughter in there.  What father wouldn’t.  Sorry Mr. President, you’re not a father when you’re the President, you’re the country and one person no matter who they are to you, doesn’t matter in a crisis.  But we need a way for them to get into the PEOC.  But they’re terrorists they’ll figure out a way much like they’ve figured out a way to get in the building in the first place.  Eh, takes too long.

WHITE HOUSE LAWN BATTLE

White House is evacuated.  People rush out.  Did you notice that the ROK security team and their Secret Service counterparts are just standing around like nothing
happened.  That’s because the all-clear was given.  OK, but none of them were hit.  I know the AC-130 is accurate, but it’s not that accurate, not when you have a thousand rounds flying around hitting stone, metal and wood.  There’s bound to be some ricochet.  Whatever, fine.  But standing around, come on, they should be more frazzled.  It’s because they know what’s up.  Fine, but what about the Secret Service.  Oh, and they would have kicked their asses out of there.  When you have a party and someone punches your wife in the face, you kick everyone out except your closest friends.  That’s why having the attacks at the same time would have made more sense.

Suicide bombers.  Korean ones?  Not really.  Maybe they could have been persuaded but Koreans, and Northern ones, don’t really go for that whole suicide attack.  That’s really a cultural thing, and Koreans don’t do that.  But you need a way into the fence to create a large front.  Okay, I can get that, but not suicide bombers.

So the security team attacks the secret service.  Some cool fights here, some really imaginative close quarter fighting.  We have two fronts.  One team at the drive way, another at the lawn, essentially creating a L.  The Koreans now try to thin the herd, or rather, wipe it out.  Guards on the lawn are killed.  No one realizes that their buddy’s armor has failed nor do they realize that if they hit the prone they will not only be harder to hit but have better aim.  Yes, you sacrifice mobility, but you’re on a fucking putting green the size of a backyard with no sand traps.  I don’t know what they taught you at Secret Service school, but it must not have been how to fire in the prone.  Funny, they taught me this at basic training.  Lame.  But I get it, terrorists need to win.

By the way did the terrorists train in Mexico with the cartels.  Way to rip off their skull face masks.  They barely have TV over there so where did this pick this shit up.  A guidebook?

FOOTHOLD

So the terrorists now have to get their foothold.  They focus on the visitors entrance.  They bring into two garbage trucks disguised as Support By Fire positions and maybe roadblocks.  Secret Service coming to aid their fallen brothers are cut down.  They realize what’s up and go back, shutting the doors.  Then a RPG creates a breach.  Koreans file in, they have their foothold.

What’s wrong here is that the Secret Service probably would have assessed that shit’s gone downhill.  They’re best defense is the building itself.  Even if the force outside outnumbers them the agents still have the advantage.  Trade space for time.  You give up the lawn, where there’s very little cover and mass on the entry points.  When the bad guys try to come through it’s a funnel of death.  By then every cop in the city knows what’s going.  The Secret Service’s Counter Assault team would already be mobilizing.  There’d be guys on the neighboring roofs picking off bad guys.  Cops are rolling in.  Time is the enemy for the bad guy.  The noose is tightening.  OK, but we need the bad guys to get inside and essentially take over.  Fine, they blow their way in with one RPG.  Not like the Secret Service wouldn’t be expecting them to not have another one.  And they wouldn’t crowd the door.

Terrorists move in, head taps all around.  Smart.  You don’t want to take time to check pulses, and there’s still a fight going on.  Also makes the audience squirm.  These guys are real bad fucks.  We want them to die horribly.  But hey, you might also want to take their guns.  You know, just in case you need it, or in case a cook who was fired from the Seals gets a hold of it.  You know, just speaking out loud.

THE CAVALRY ARRIVES

Cops arrive first.  They shoot on sight.  Good for them.  More arrive.  They shoot at the bad guys.  But they ignore the enemy vehicles.  It is those vehicles, the garbage trucks that shoot at them.  None of them bothered to clear it.  You don’t just leave an enemy vehicle there.  If you can get it to it, do so.  Kill them inside, make sure they’re dead by shooting them a few more times.  By doing this you’re doing two things.  Making sure the enemy is dead, but also elongating your position.  If you bunch up it makes it easier for the bad guys to shoot you.  When the terrorists attacked they didn’t do it from one angle, they did it from a wider one.  The Secret Service now had to aim across more ground, getting hit from more angles.  Same principle works in a defense.   And in this case, it also makes sure you don’t get fucking shot in the back, which is what happens.  Yeah, but we need the terrorists to win.  Ok fine.  But these guns disappear.  It’s a plot hole.  Sort of like if the plane just disappeared.  Though exposed out there it had good sightlines of the main avenues of approach.  They’d have chewed up the supporting police cars until the snipers could get them, which could be hours.  Nah, they jumped ship once the building was taken.  They didn’t bring their gun.  Nah.  Really?  These guys didn’t take their biggest casualty producing weapon and put it in a hallway at the entrance.  You know, the one with the big ass smoking hole in it.  Nope.  I don’t think even actual North Koreans would think this shit up.

Now the military has arrived.  It is later stated it takes fifteen minutes for the military to respond.  Shit, I’ve never seen anything take fifteen minutes in the military unless it’s a two mile run.  I don’t mean to disparage b/c I love the military, but you’re talking a huge bureaucracy and organization.  There’s two million people in it.  You couldn’t mobilize a security force like that if fifteen minutes unless it was already on standby.  What if it was?  It wouldn’t because Posse Comitatus does not allow active duty military to act as law enforcement which despite the national implications of this event is still domestic.  But let’s say that it was allowed.  Well, for one, what the hell do you need OH58 with missiles.  After a fight like that you need some serious armor.  That’s going to take a while.  There is no armor sitting around DC, you’d have to call the VA Guard.  And that’s going to take a while.  Because there’s only one guy on duty manning the phones.  He’s going to have call everyone.  Then that weekend warrior is going have to drive home in traffic, change, explain to his wife what’s going (sorry can’t pick up the kids, thank god), drive to the armory in traffic, wait for everyone else to show up, wait for orders, orders show up and tell them what to do, prep vehicles, gets maps, get orders for ammo, send request for how much ammo, wait for HETs to transport tanks, wait for HETs to go through traffic – in other words a lot of shit has to happen before a single tank rolls out.   So we send infantry first.  Well Fort Meyer is there, we send the Old Guard.  They show up in trucks.  Hey, what’s with the truck that has a giant FBI seal on it.  What is that, a fucking float for a parade.  Where’s the one that says CIA, maybe another that says NAMBLA, because that’s where you’re going with that.

We can only assume they cordon off the whole area.  But we really only see the North side of the White House probably due to cost.  The other side is probably a model or CGI.  Apparently the cordon isn’t so  job.  Later you see press with the White House up close in the background, almost like they’re standing on the lawn.  And where do the aerial shots come from?  I guess you wouldn’t shoot down the press.  These guys would be gone.  Fuck your first amendment rights, you can sue me when this is over.  They’d be pushed back so the government can seal the area off but also not tip off the enemy.  They watch the news, too, you know.  The Press would probably understand, most anyway.

Now begins the containment phase of the operation.  Most of the fighting is done.  Cops would be busy encircling the place.  Its protocol, hell you see it when a car wrecks.  In this case, nothing gets in and nothing gets out.  It would start to take on something more sinister.   Since it is late, light sets would be called out.  They’d point them at the White House.  Why?  Blind those motherfuckers.  I’d have one pointed at each window with a nuclear powered generator if I could.  While containment is going on so would observation.  Snipers on rooftops watching everything.  Every target would be photographed and assigned a code name to easily identify them.  A sniper, maybe two if there’s enough, would have a target assigned to him and him alone so if we had to take them all out at once we could do it.  Every window is going to be watched by a team of people so nothing gets missed.  Every hardline would be cut, that includes plumbing.  Every communication would be jammed.  This may be hard because not everyone uses Frequency hopping.  This would probably be delayed until enough radios could be handed out.  In the meantime every frequency would be monitored.  If they send a message out to North Korea, we’d hear it.  So, the drone would have been picked up.  And a red light in the night sky flying around is easy to pick up, especially since the lights around the White House will be taken down so you can’t see where our guys are located.  The more time goes by the more people I will get, the vise may not get tighter but it’s getting thicker.  Ah, but we can’t really show all that.  We have to make it seem like that’s going on.  We’ll have one sniper, but show several snipers taking up positions in a montage. 

NMCC: National Military Command Center

I have no idea what this looks like, I think it looks like the set from War Games but with carpeting.  My only wonder is why the Secret Service Director is already there.  DC traffic sucks.  How did she make it there so fast and past all the security, elevators and what not to get there in time?  She live in Alexandria? I’d think she’d be in her office across the street from the White House running this bitch.  Since the White House is her responsibility she’d be running the op.  But she’s kind of a bitch here.

THE BIG BAD

By now we know that it’s the bad guys who control the White House.  They’ve killed the last of the secret Service.  Job well done, let’s drink some soju on the White House China.   The Big Bad, I can’t remember his last name so I’ll call him Yune after his real name.  His family was killed by an American landmine.  How do they know?  When they autopsied her did they pull out a fragment that says Made in US.  I guess most of them were made in America, but that would only be if the ROK Army never bothered to change them.  They do go bad  you know or go obsolete.  And being an active warzone, they’d want the best, says for example ones made mostly of plastic.  Korea likes making their own arms, too.  Whatever, US landmine makes him upset.  Or at least initiates it.  More appalling is your accent.  I sound the same way when I speak German.

WHITE HOUSE INTERIOR

You know it’s a big building.  The problem with assaulting a building like the White House is not so much the Secret Service, it’s the real estate.  You have to check every space.  People can hide there and not go noticed.  But you turned out the lights.  Now they can hide out really long.  There a ton of people who work there.  Not all of them could have gotten out in time.  Some people also never leave even in the event of an emergency.  You couldn’t realistically clear everyone out in time.  And the secret service wouldn’t have a last stand together.  That’s just dumb.  Some would go into hiding.  Because they know it’s more a recovery mission now than a repel attackers scenario.  They’d lay low, report back.  Sort of what Mike does later, sort of.  He mostly fights.  You have to hold the space or it’s not secure.  Twenty eight men could not do this effectively.  Not with the West and East wing jutting out.  They’re not far from the street and could easily be accessed by an assaulting force.  Fact is there are just too many entry points for the US to choose.  Yeah but we got to keep it to the roof to set up the next scene.  So the guys on the ground are essentially Cub Scouts with guns.

BREECH POINT

Where are the guards?  It’s just wide open.  The military must not be using their NVGs properly because it’s just sitting there in plain view.  Actually I don’t think they ever do.  No one uses them.  It’s dark outside.  I have no explanation for that.  Try not to think too deeply into it. 

MIKE BANNING, FORMER RANGER, GREEN BERETS, COMPLETE MORON

So Banning shows up at the White House, gets into a gunfight using his pistol.  Does some amazing shooting, but that’s what they train for.   Joins up with his buddies, all firing pistols and P90s – which is a great gun by the way.  But they’re repulsed and Mike ends up in the White House, the lone survivor.  He hides and evades.  Along the way he kits up, sort of.  He checks his friends for life signs, but not for weapons.  Maybe they’ve been cleared.  He gathers up a gun, a radio, kills a bad guy, takes his shit.

Now for the entire movie he’s fucking jack Bauer from 24.  If you remember that series Jack Bauer did almost all of his shooting from a pistol.  For those of you in the know, you see the fallacy in this.  For the rest of you, this is completely idiotic.  Let me explain.  A handgun fire a large bullet at a speed  just below 600 mph.  It holds roughly fifteen rounds.  Though one of the guns he grabs holds only seven.  They can only fire as fast as you can pull the trigger.  They have ranges up to 100 yards, but really only effective up to twenty, if you’re good maybe more.  It’s really only good as a CQB weapon or last resort.  Take a look at a pistol round, then compare it to a rifle round.  A rifle bullet is smaller but aerodynamically shaped and cased with more powder.  The physics of this gives the bullet more velocity and, thus, more penetration.  This is why rifle rounds will go through soft armor and pistol rounds won’t unless specially modified.  Rifles, especially carbines that have an automatic feature can fire several hundred rounds per minute.  You can reload without completely losing your sight picture.  And it compact enough for CQB.  In a gunfight you want the carbine, not the pistol.  Yet they men go for the pistol.  Now some of the action sequences are set up to show some great pistol stunt work, and that’s cool.  In reality some CQB breeching is done using pistols, but I bet he’d rather have an M4.  Banning uses a MP5, which fires a pistol round automatically.  Better than a pistol but still nto penetrating armor.   Two mags aren’t going to cut it for you.  You’re in a war.  The  more the better.  Most of this can be implied.  And no one knows about armor protection like that.  We’d have to explain it.  You don’t have to.  Just show it, let the audience figure it out.  Or better yet have Mike figure it out by changing weapons.  It also makes your bad guys seem tougher.  Thus the takedowns will be more difficult and mean more to Mike and the audience.

A lone man in a hostile environment can’t do shit.  Simply because you cannot see everywhere, even if you do keep your head on a swivel, you lose sight of what you were looking at.  Snipers don’t even go it alone, but we always seem them do it in movies.  A Green Beret would know this.  His best advantage is stealth.  Observe and report.  Gets numbers, locations, routine, weapons, breech point ideas, etc.  You’re a tool in this operation, not the leader.  Even McClane in Die Hard tried to call the cops first.  He knew he wasn’t superman.  He only went out on a limb because there was nothing else to do.  He earned his right to be a lone wolf.   Banning has not.  But even then, you have to keep it more believable.  He doesn’t get weaker in the film.  Combat wears you out.  Each punch takes a toll on your hand.  Try boxing for one minute.  It’s just hopping on your feet and throwing punches.  It wears you out.  And Mike’s been going at this all night.  Even the best boxers in the world need a break every so often.  Mike doesn’t even get so much as a scratch.  He’s invincible.  Come on.  Yeah, but he’s a hero, and maybe he grabbed a Red Bull in between scenes.  Must have.

THE MACGUFFIN, I MEAN CERBERUS

Hollywood writers and producers call the object of desire between the protagonist and antagonist the MacGuffin.  It’s what everyone is after, though sometimes for different reasons.  It really doesn’t matter what it is but it’s why we have a story.  It’s typical of action movies and in this case it’s the Cerberus.  Apparently whoever designed it was a moron. But this doesn’t surprise me given what’s been going on with our government lately.  So it’s a failsafe designed to destroy the ICBMs in flight.  Great, that would be an awesome thing to have.  Though technically it also makes a nuclear launch authorization more likely.  One of the great threats of the whole nuclear missile scenario is that once you do release you can’t bring them back, you’re committed.  Having a failsafe kind of takes out the risk.  But hey, let’s go with it.  As we learn Yune wants it so he can detonate the nukes in their silos.  Ok, fine.  That’ll just blow up the fuel, it won’t go nuclear.  No, it has to nuclear.  That now how it works.  In order to have nuclear detonation the codes from the football have to be inputted.  But not in this case.  Well that doesn’t make sense.  What if they launched and five minutes later decide to destroy them in flight.  A missile launched from North Dakota would blow up over Seattle.  They’d wait until it was out to sea.  If they detonate in space it will create an EMP that will spread further than if it was detonated nearer to the ground.  Not everyone knows that.  OK, but still stupid because even if you destroy the ICBMS, there’s still the other two legs of the Nuclear Triad.  What about the subs?  Those will be destroyed as well, all missiles.  OK, maybe.  But what about the bombs and cruise missiles.  There are probably more of those than ICBMS since a bomb is cheaper to make than a missile.  Eh, doesn’t matter.  His goal is not to destroy the stockpile but render America like North Korea by creating a nuclear fallout.  Ah, OK.  How exactly?  The missiles are not scattered all over the US but in isolated areas in the Dakotas, Montana, places with low population.  We show a map that shows them everywhere.  I saw that map.  So there’s apparently a fucking lot of them.  How come I’ve never seen one.  They’re hidden, well guarded.  Area 51 is the America’s most secret testing place, everyone knows where that is.  Google maps would know where this shit is unless they hid it in a building.  Maybe that’s what they did.  Ugh, fine.

THE DEMANDS

Yune has two demands, removal of all US forces from Korea and the recall of the 7th Fleet.  This is so he the North can go to war without intervention.  The general states that to do so would be to give the South to the North, the Vietnam scenario.  This is ridiculous.  You’ve already stated that the North has a million man army.  What the fuck is 28k going to do?  Nothing.  It is widely known that if the North invades the US 8th Army tasked with holding the line will be wiped out.  Really it’s a trip wire.  If those men die, you can bet that this country will go to war.  The ROK Army is more than capable of defending itself.  Now it may not be able to take back what it loses offensively in a PRK first strike but it would give a good account of itself.  The ROK Army is one of the most advanced in the world.  The US Army is also slowly pulling out.  When I lived there in 1988 there was almost 35k, maybe greater.  During Vietnam there used to be two full divisions.  Now there’s roughly a brigade plus, if even that.  Our real involvement is, which the writer assume correctly, our nuclear deterrent.  Regardless, Yune’s demands are unfeasible.  The 7th fleet can easily turn around, but 28K cannot leave in an hour or a day.  Remember what I said about just getting the National Guard moving.  Same problem.  Logistics.  You’ve got to hire planes, trucks to haul them.  And they’re not sitting in one giant barracks, they’re spread out.  You also got the family members.  And fuck if we’re going to leave our equipment behind.  Maybe we can get that back later, but fuck it’s going to take more than a day.  They won’t know this.  They’ll know.  Also I don’t think you can have the troops leave without consenting with the UN since it’s actually under United Nations Command.  But we run that bitch, they do what we say.

THE FIRST RESCUE ATTEMPT

Mike finds the kid.  Gets into a gun battle.   A fist fight.  He gets to the basement and tells the NMCC he’s sending the kid of a vent shaft.  A two man team stands by to rescue him.  They wait for some snipers to look away.  But they’re really not looking at the ground, they’re chatting and looking level.  And if you had lights on them they wouldn’t see shit.  Regardless the two man team gets the call and runs over open ground to within five feet of the White House structure.  They get the kid and run back, barely making it without getting spotted.

First two men is not enough.  You need at least one more to cover up high.  Really you’d want like five men.   Four to watch outwards and high, the fifth the grab the kid and run back.  But here’s my major fault.  They made it across without resistance and left a viable entry point and holding position.  What the fuck?  It’s apparent they don’t have enough people on the roof.  Nor watching the windows.  The government has been forced not to act because the terrorists will kill people.  But they just acted.  They took a risk.  It’s worth getting a few men inside if anything to create an opening or to recon.  The bad guys are never shown defending their home.   They’re passive.  If I was the enemy I’d be shooting out the lights, keeping the men around off kilter.  I lose a guy I kill one of yours, etc.  A well trained man like Yune would know that the longer he there the worse off his position gets.

USE OF THE JSOC ASSETS

I covered this a bit earlier but the use of the military in a direct action, even simple guard duty is a delicate area.  Even when the 82nd Airborne was in New Orleans they were there only as a presence and support element.  They carried M4s but had no ammo.  National Guardsmen from Louisiana had armed weapons b/c of their state function.  DC Guard could do this but they’re tiny and not combat arms (though I think they are MPs).  Same would apply here.  Even Delta and Seal Team Six could not circumvent this.  They could provide advise.  The Secret Service would probably not want the military to take over.  They have the best knowledge of the White House.  They know the ins and outs.  They’d probably step down from an active role only in the assault phase.  Clearing phase would probably be mixed force.  It would still be lead by them.  Given their losses JSOC would probably have to step in for a greater role than normal.  But to do so would require the suspension of Posse Comitatus.  The SOH probably could arrange this with an executive order that would be narrow in scope and limited to just the area around the white house with a duration lasting until the end of the siege.  It may even end up being illegal but that could be debated later.  So Posse Comitatus is suspended and Delta and Seal Team Six start planning.  They probably have run scenarios before and red teamed with the secret service.

THE ASSAULT

The general decides to go in for an aerial assault.  The reasoning is that there are only four men on the roof.  Generally, you want to fight from top to bottom, so this would make sense as well (to an amateur).  The helicopters ready to deploy, hover, get shot down, all die.  Stupid tactics, never would happen this way.

Here’s what would most likely go down.  They’d have coordinated with Mike on what’s going on inside.  Maybe distract them.  He may not even know when its coming b/c if he’s captured it would suck for him to give up the info under torture.

At some point the JSOC boys would link up with the secret Service guys who know the building best.  They’d figure out a way in based on the geography, building layout, enemy positions, known booby traps, measurements, etc.  They’d war-game every idea.  Can we do it with a handful of men?  What about a shitload?  What if they split up?.  Hit the east and west wing first?  Etc.  This could go on for a while but it would largely come down to how deploy.  There are only two ways, aerial or ground.  Both have pros and cons.  Ground pros:  Get the most men inside.  More points of entry.  Concealment.  Cons:  exposed, slower entry, have to take the wings first, more ground to cover.  Aerial pros:  Faster.  Hits the rooftop of the main building.  Cons:  Louder.  Deploy less men.  Some of the cons can be mitigated for both.  For example, if you have Kiowas running circles around the White house, they’d never heard the Blackhawks until the last minute and may never realize what’s going on.  What would most likely happen is a combination of both.  But before any of them go a recon element would go first.  They didn’t for Bin Laden.  Who wasn’t shown to be sitting in a heavily fortified base with American hostages.  Had he been, there’d be an overwatch position and guys up close.  With the White House and an undefended hole to go in, they’d use that.  In fact that would probably be the main entry point.  Who leaves that undefended.  This just complicates the story.  This is like making a movie about a plane hijacking that takes places only in first class.

Should the aerial team take fire from a devastating weapon system they’d abort.  They wouldn’t stay and fight.  They certainly don’t hover, they orbit.  Why?  It’s harder to hit.  They’d abort and wait until it was taken out.  Then maybe come back if they were sure it was gone. And if these boys are from the 160th, they move to land fast.  Just because there is no apparent threat doesn’t mean they don’t act like there isn’t one.  They are very cautious and prepared for it.  A smart enemy lays in wait.  A smart attacker knows this and adjusts accordingly.  So the air assault fails.  The helicopters pull off.  Once the threat is destroyed the attack may be back on.  It would remain off if there’s a doubt that the defense may still exist.  If you know it is gone, there is no question, attack.  They don’t do this despite knowing so.  Thus, these characters are stupid.  Back to the assault.  You’d need a lot of people to retake this building.  Because once you clear an area you have to hold it.  So national guardsmen or cops will follow up the delta teams and “hold” spaces.  There would be a fire team to each, all maintaining communications.  The team moves through the building taking it inch by inch.  We can’t have Mike not save the day.  He has to kill them all.  Ok.  But if it’s empty, why don’t they move up.  The SOH told them not to.  So none of them reported back to say the Koreans aren’t defending the side entrance.  The SOH would say it’s probably a trick.  These guys  are not fucking idiots.  They watch that shit for hours, probing, looking hard at every shadow.  They will know.  For certain, they’re not watching the damn rose bushes.  You can’t position on a rose bush, it’s got thorns.  You’re smarter than me.

NEARING THE END

Yune fakes his death by blowing up his helicopter.  But no one could see anyone’s faces because it’s covered.  Everyone is assumed to be dead.  Yune readies his escape.  Mike figures it out.  Tells everyone.  Banning tells Yune he’s coming for him.  Yune opens up his secret escape.  Banning fights off the last of the men, finally killing Yune.

The SOH authorizes a helicopter.  But why would the terrorists trust the US to fly them.  And they didn’t say anything about giving them a pilot.  The Koreans would go out there and find an empty helicopter along with a note that reads, “Sorry, didn’t have time to get gas, middle finger.”

OK, so the helicopter that was to sprint the bad guys to freedom is destroyed and all bad guys and President are assumed dead.  That’s sad, but fuck staying on the perimeter.  Time to go inside and clean up.  No one does.  Why?  We need them to stay out of the house.  Same thing as Die Hard.  Except the cops didn’t think everyone was dead, just the FBI.  As far as they knew Hans still had the building.  Here they think everyone is dead.  They send Mike to go it alone and still keep to Yune’s demands only because he has the President.  However, they’d also know that Yune has kept this a secret.  In other words, fuck Yune.  Put the 7th fleet back and tells 8th Army to stay there, which would be because they couldn’t have gotten far in a few hours.  I’m telling you, asking 8th Army to leave is like asking a small town to evacuate.

What is with that code?  It’s more complicated than the initial one.  Why?  Wouldn’t it be similar.  Maybe it wouldn’t but would the President not have it.  The idea is that these three people have the start code, so why not the abort code.  Seems odd.  To create tension.  We need Mike to turn it off?  Have the President turn it off, he’s done nothing but be a little bitch.  Mike is the hero.  I hope you didn’t pay Aaron Eckhart a lot of money because you could have gotten a no name cheaper and then threaten to actually kill him off – the audience knows you’re not going to kill off Eckhart.  Fooling us with Judd was predictable.

THE END

Banning has saved the day.  Walks out of the White House with the President.  No one helps him.  But hey it looks heroic with that classic John Ford shot.  A few months later the flag is back up there.  We can tell because there’s scaffolding around the Washington Monument, but none on the White House.  At least we can’t see it because of the angle.  And Mike’s back on the team.  POTUS shakes his hand.  Never mind nearly two hundred people died.  Wait, is this supposed to symbolize Banning’s journey from depression in not saving the First Lady to winning back POTUS’ respect.  No, because none of that was brought up or earned.

IN CONCLUSION:

If you were to break down Armageddon you could find just as many faults, but it takes place in space and it was obvious from the outset to be a thrill ride.  Who cares if there’s gravity on the meteor and looks like a meth rock on fire.  It was stupid but fun.   I don’t think they planned on doing that for this.  Kind of hard when you’re dealing with hostages and Americans dying.  It’s hard to make mass murder fun.  They certainly made it terrible.

In three months we’ll see if WHITE HOUSE DOWN can do it better.  Or should it be Whitehouse Down?  Were the graphics done in Korea as well?  Idiots.

One thought on “REALITY CHECK: OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN

  1. A@sdfghjkl1988

    Such a great fucking discussion. I’m a regular Joe with no military experience and I still noticed all of this, or at least felt that something was off about others.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s