A while ago I posted a piece praising "Premium Rush" -- not because it was destined to be some classic of film-making magic, but because it was simply a fun action movie with a cyclist as the action hero, and that is something that as a cyclist I could appreciate. It is also something obviously rare these days.
By the same token, one could say the same about "London has fallen".
An action movie set against the backdrop of international terrorism, the movie tells the take of a U.S. Secret Service agent and his President, who must escape a series of terror attacks in London.
At first blush this seems hardly unusual; every other Tom Clancy novel seems to have had a similar plot, right?
Except, when Hollywood made Tom Clancy's novel "The sun of all fears" into a movie, it took the Islamic terrorists who were the villains and exchanged them for neo-Nazis, in order to be more politically correct.
Don't get me wrong, it was a good movie, and who doesn't dislike Nazis? They make almost as good a bad guy as Darth Vader. That said, however, it seemed a bit of as stretch -- and it ultimately removed from the story the villain the author had chosen. Let's assume that he had in fact chosen that villain for a reason. What is lost then in changing it? You still get an entertaining story and conflict, but not the conflict the author intended, and that is saying something, because political correctness has become so rampant these days that even though we are at war with Islamic fundamentalist terrorists, finding a film where they are the bad guys is as rare as a traffic free day on the turnpike. Worse, finding a movie with an unflinchingly patriotic action hero is as rare as one where the action hero is a cyclist!
In short, anything that doesn't conform to political orthodoxy has a hard time these days. As a cyclist -- a member of a group who is constantly denounced, called names, and even threatened with death in the streets on a regular basis -- I can sympathize (cyclists are one of the few groups it is politically correct to denounce and talk about murdering, incidentally). So as a U.s. cyclist, under cultural siege, I feel a kindred spirit with the action hero of yesteryear, the kind that might have shot or blown up a bad guy while shouting "yippie kiyay" to the cheering of fans (see any Bruce Willis film) but who is now deemed a cultural dinosaur.
And that is what seems to upset so many about London Has Fallen. It isn't that the movie shows us a good guy vs. terrorists -- that subject has been shown in films for decades. Rather, its that the hero -- and the other characters -- are so goshdarned proud about it. One gets the impression that, in addition to their objection to the villains being modeled on real life bad guys (Islamic terrorists) this is what really pisses the far left off.
Indeed, "London" is replete with examples that make it a "feel good" movie for these troubled times. When the news plays video of a real life terror attack, and politicians who do nothing in response but mouth bromides, the film shows one guy standing up to the terrorists. While real life good guys seem to cede the moral high ground to terrorists, as if their excuses or beefs with the west entitle them to murder, saying we bring violence on ourselves, the film's characters, including a vice president portrayed by Morgan Freeman, enthusiastically and explicitly reject this narrative.
While present-day politicians seem to have morals which drift with the wind, the President in the movie responds to his imminent killing by terrorists with defiantly reciting his oath of office -- even though he is repeatedly interrupted by physical blows.
And finally, the hero of the film, Secret Service agent Banning, in the final fight with one of the terrorists, grunts out a line many patriotic Americans could agree with "we are not a building, we are not a piece of paper, we are not one man... **** like you have been trying to kill us for a long time. And in a thousand years, we'll still be here!" (this last bit uttered as he had the villain in a headlock).
Yet while regular Americans watched this movie and in some cases cheered at the theatre, the far left and the so called "intellectuals" (was there ever a greater misnomer?) have been hating on it. They literally cannot say enough terrible things. It has been called racist, xenophobic, bigoted, small-minded, and perhaps worst of all, insensitive!
For instance, the following are from actual search results: "Rolling Stone Mar 4, 2016 - There are bad sequels, and then there's this Islamophobic, Trumptastic mess 'London has Fallen' — read Peter Travers' zero-star review.'" while MTV said, "London Has Fallen: Bigger, Dumber, And Even More Offensive - MTV" and the NY Post wrote, "Racist, idiotic 'London Has Fallen' is a revenge dud".
Someone should tell these people it is no less racist to oppose terrorists than any other nasty people out to kill you. Islamism, like any other terrorist ideology, is not a race your are born with but a choice you pursue, hence opposing to cannot be "racist" (someone please get these gentlemen a f*^#ing dictionary!)
Meanwhile, back on planet earth, regular people who were not racists or bigots enjoyed the movie -- largely for the same reasons the leftists hated it. Much in the was in Premium Rush, the cyclist in me felt like cheering when the narrator said, "one time or another we all get hit...sometimes, you gotta hit back," the American in me had the same reaction to "London", for the same reason.
Logically, action movies are not necessarily a practical guide to life's trials an tribulations. One man couldn't realistically take down a hundred terrorists -- just like the stunt riding or smashing of jerk driver's mirror in Premium Rush is not how to go about dealing with your next bike ride.
That said, however, there is something to be said for the emotional appeal of such stories, as what they are -- simplified and idealized fiction.
And in that simplification, we get to a real truth that the far left, in their rush to politicize everything on behalf of everyone but everyday Americans, forgets: There are indeed good guys and bad guys in the world, even if the solution to dealing with them isn't accomplished in 90 minutes as it is on film.
And, of course,m most Americans -- those who haven't drank the politically correct kool-aid -- want the good guys to win, and be damned proud of it.
So go rent "London has fallen". It's not Shakespeare, but it is an entertaining action flick with a moral certitude not seen since John McClane shot a bad guy off the roof back in the 1980's.