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It's always good to see some new, big, action movies, featuring some big name actors in it, with a decent budget behind it. It always make you hopeful it's going to be something great and entertaining and something that's going to take you back to the heyday of genre. It's rare though that the actual movie also truly works out as something great and I have to say that this movie is also far from a great one. Still watchable and good enough but at the same time also still somewhat disappointing, all things considering.

It's simply true that a high budget action flick, directed by Antoine Fuqua and staring the likes of Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart and Morgan Freeman raises certain expectations. And in that regard, this movie never lives up to its expectations and you might even consider it to be a somewhat disappointing one.

It mostly is disappointing since it never feels like a great action movie, all throughout. It has some standout action moments in it but the overall movie seems to be lacking the right sort of ideas and script to turn the movie into a fun, action packed and exciting genre movie as well. It has the right sort of concept but it's still lacking the right sort of story, strangely enough.

I actually think it is due to it that the Gerard Butler character, who's the movie its 'hero', is constantly battling a bunch of nameless and faceless bad guys, in the hallways and rooms of the White House, while the movie its main villain, played by Rick Yune, is spending 90% of the time inside of a bunker, far away from all of the action. It's an issue that easily could have been resolved by adding a bunch of henchmen, with an minimum amount of character development, in the movie. It just isn't all that exciting to watch Gerard Butler fighting and killing a bunch of anonymous guys, also because you just know that none of them is going to ever give him a really hard time, while a henchman might be an excuse for the movie to feature some sort of standoff, in which our main hero might actually get injured and nearly beaten. That's already something more engaging and exciting than anything that ever happens in the actual movie really.

That's still the biggest problem with this movie; it just isn't ever the most exciting or engaging movie to watch. I never felt any tension, both in regard to its story and action. It never felt to me like the world or any of the characters were in true danger, despite everything that the movie is doing and saying.

The action also isn't always shot that well. Or well, perhaps I should rather say it's the editing that's lacking about it. Uses too many fast cuts, so you can't always tell what's happening. It's also a bit too heavy on it CGI, especially at the beginning. It still amazes me how in this day and age sometimes CGI effects can still look so obviously fake. It just takes me out of the movie too much, also especially since there is absolutely no need for everything to be CGI, all of the time.

I always thought that Gerard Butler was a pretty good action star and that may still be true but still he feels out of place within this movie. Maybe this is the type of movie that would have benefited more from a younger and more charismatic, new action star in it. I also had a real hard time seeing Aaron Eckhart as the president. every time he showed up on screen I had to remind myself he was playing the president and not some sort of CIA agent or adviser for the president, or anything along those lines.

But really, it's not like I ever hated this movie. Thing I still especially liked about it was how straightforward the movie was with some of its action. It can be a pretty brutal movie at times and it isn't holding back with its violence, which is a good thing to note for all of the action movie lovers out there. It's also of course a good looking movie, despite some of its earlier mentioned criticism toward its editing and use of CGI. Also the acting is above average, for action movie standards at least but that's no big surprise once you watch its cast-list.

Really not a great movie story-wise and also action-wise it isn't the greatest movie you will see but at least it's never terribly bad or gets truly ridicules with anything, though you still do need to have some suspension of disbelief of course. It's perfectly watchable and also entertaining enough, to watch it at least once.

6/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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