Archive for the ‘Terrorist’ Category

White House Down – *(*)

Posted: April 3, 2020 in 2013, Action, Terrorist, USA, X1/2

On tv and great pulp entertainment during corona times.

The acting is terrible. The plot is even worse. The special effects aren’t that spectacular.

But before you know it, the movie is over and you’re ready to head to bed not thinking about the world right now.

A security agent wants to work in the white house and be a bodyguard for the president. On the day of his application he brings along his daughter, but a terrorist attack takes places and they are trapped. This is thé day to prove that he can be a hero to his kid and  a hero to the president.

Yeah. It’s that silly.

Sarajevo – **

Posted: July 28, 2019 in 2014, Austria, biopic, Germany, Terrorist, War, WW1, XX

This whodunnit … or rather who-ordered-it-to-have-it-done starts off really well. It focuses on one of the most important historical moments in recent history: the assassination of Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo.

The protagonist is Leo Pfeffer, the magistrate in charge of the investigation. The case is quite simple really. Gavrilo Princip shot him after an earlier attempt to kill the archduke by other Serbian terrorists failed. They even arrested the murderer and he confessed. So what’s there to investigate?

Well, according to this movie a lot. Like, who ordered this murder? In history class we learn that a group of Serbian anarchists did it. But did they get the order from the Serbian government? Or … did they get the order from German (business) leaders who just wanted to start a war ?

The movie is good. Well acted. Well directed. Well told. BUT it’s focussing too much on the latter assumption. It’s an interesting thought and it’s true that Europe was eager to go to war (at least the German leaders), but we get the point after a while. There’s also a love story, which most likely is pure fictional and was just added for the drama. It’s well thought of, but it does bother the storytelling a bit. The conversations between the characters also feel like these characters know what the future will look like. Which they didn’t.

Still. Worth the watch. And it’s on youtube



In November 2008, Mumbai experienced a series of terrorist attacks, amongst which one at the famous Taj hotel. This Australian production tells that story.

Somehow it just doesn’t work. If this were fictitious it would be a lousy action thriller. But it’s based on true events, so it’s even worse. It’s really bizarre, because it feels like an action thriller. The kind with Sylvester Stallone or JC Van Damme. Not the kind with Bruce Willis.

There’s a lot of shooting and – spoiler alert – almost everyone dies. So, knowing this, it’s kind of sad to realize that you don’t have time to care about any of these victims. Either the victims are nameless extras. Or they are stereotypical characters like the nasty Russian or the ignorant American. The director decided to create more empathy for the terrorists than for the people stuck in the hotel! How bizarre is that? There’s this one scene where one of the terrorists calls home, hurt because he is shot in the leg and crying. He asks his dad if the leaders of his organization have already donated the money. So, wait a minute, you want us, audience, to feel like money was the reason for the kid to do these horrific killings and we should feel his regret and doubt because he is crying? Ehm. No.

This movie didn’t do well at the box office and wasn’t released in India (yet). Let’s keep it that way.

The Foreigner – (*)

Posted: April 20, 2018 in 1/2, 2017, Action, Revenge, Terrorist

This is a mess. A real mess.

The title is deceiving. This isn’t about a ‘foreigner’, it’s about a series of attacks by a new radical IRA.

Jackie Chan, who plays an Asian restaurant owner who loses his daughter in one of the attacks, is out for revenge. He’s a well-trained soldier and determined to find and eliminate the bombers on his own.

Ok. Good premise.

But then somehow, Jackie Chan disappears in the story and Pierce Brosnan’s character becomes a central figure. He plays a politician, with links to the old IRA and is now not only dealing with a mad ‘Chinaman’ who’s haunting him, but also with his political friends, who are betraying him and with the British PM, who’s accusing him of the attacks.

Then Pierce Brosnan disappears from the screen and they focus on the bombers and their next attacks and the British who try to stop them. Oh and on a hitman who Brosnan’s character hires to kill Jackie’s character.

It’s a mess. A real mess.

And the IRA, really? Why make a movie about fictitious IRA terrorists? We finally kind of forgot they (still) exist. No need to bring paranoia back.

It’s okay, but somehow all very far-fetched.

After the bombing of the CIA building, killing more than 200 people, an alleged war hero turned terrorist (Nicholas Brody) escapes with the help of Carrie Mathison (a bipolar CIA-expert and the central character of this series) to Canada. Of course, Brody is innocent because at the time of the attack he was having sex with Carrie.

Changes are very small that you start watching season 3 without having seen the previous two. It’s pretty logic to continue watching as you do want to know how the story goes on. But this time it isn’t all too captivating. It just starts too negatively. Brody escapes to Venezuela and gets addicted to heroin. Carrie is admitted to a psychiatric institution and happens to be pregnant as well. Dana Brody attempts to kill herself. Saul is a temporary director of the CIA, and seems to give up Brody and Carrie’s innocence to make the CIA look better. And suddenly it’s all about Iran.

It’s fascinating how the acting skills of Claire Danes and Damian Lewis are praised so often. They really suck. In every single scene there is just too much drama. It gets annoying. But ‘newcomer’ Shaun Toub is excellent as Majid Javadi, the number 2 of the country’s Revolutionary Guard. He’s really the only reason why it’s still fun watching this show. He has that ability to make someone evil look charming, like Christopher Waltz has as well.

Unlike the final of season 2, the last episode of season 3 does not make you long to continue watching.

Too bad.

A trio of ecological terrorists plan to blow up a reservoir dam. The first half of the movie leads up to the attack, the second half focuses on the aftermath. Knowing if the attack is successful or not will ruin the experience, so be careful reading reviews that focus too much on the plot. Maybe not watch the trailer either. But it’s necessary to know that the most intriguing parts of the story happen in the middle. The beginning is a bit confusing and it feels like the creators took a last-minute decision about the end.

It’s an original way of telling a story though. And it’s interesting to see a movie about environmentalists that doesn’t feel like it’s lobbying for their cause or stereotyping them too much. It’s set in beautiful Oregon – the most environment-friendly state – and it does show organic farmers living in a neo-hippie community listening to folk music and refraining from going on the Internet. But it also shows the terrorists buying a 10 000 dollar boat and driving a non-hybrid four-wheel truck. It puts things in perspective.

It’s a slow-paced dramatic thriller, with credible acting by the very convincing Dakota Fanning, the surprisingly non-annoying Peter Sarsgaard and the ever-semi-autistic Jesse Eisenberg.

Captain Phillips – **

Posted: February 19, 2014 in 2013, Action, Hijack, Terrorist, Thriller, USA, XX

Captain Phillips is an easy action thriller based on true events. It’s easy because it adds nothing particularly difficult to the linear and predictable storytelling. A captain takes a container ship from Oman to Kenya and gets hijacked by a small group of 4 Somali pirates. There are 20 to 30 crew members but the whole story focusses on one captain. Boring! And the captain is played by Tom Hanks. Boring.

It’s well made. But it just didn’t excite or thrill me at all.

It may be based on true events, but it is never explained why on earth the crew of such huge cargo ships cannot fire at criminals attacking them on a small ship. I’m sure there is some international law protecting human rights and stuff, but it would have been nice to actually have heard the crew discuss this topic. It would have just been nice to have the crew discuss anything. There is an interesting – but far too brief – scene in which the sailors tell the captain that they didn’t sign up to fight pirates. But then the captain tells them to resign as soon as they arrive in Mombasa and that’s the end if it. I have heard more heated discussions between a captain and his crew on the necessity of removing spider webs from the engine room.

And then you have the pirates of which the leader is the ugliest actor the cast director could find. It earned the him (Barkhad Abdi) an oscar nomination. But for what? Looking scary, confused and inarticulate isn’t good acting. His fellow pirate (Barkhad Abdirahman) is as scary, confusing and inarticulate. And he looks cooler.

Where is the empathy or disgust for these pirates? There is none whatsoever. Boring! There is an interesting scene – again too brief – in the beginning that tries to explain a bit how these pirates operate. What’s the background of these pirate motherfuckers? That’s what is interesting. Not how the Us Navy will end this hijack situation.

In the end you don’t care if someone survives or not.

Whoever finishes the first season of Homeland will start watching the second one.

My review of the first season was very brief: I liked it. I wasn’t impressed by the acting and I didn’t find it that suspenseful either, but all in all it was okay.

My review of the second season will be brief too: I LOVED it! I’m still not impressed by the acting, but there were a lot of intriguing twists throughout the season and at times it was really suspenseful. I watched the 12 episodes straight! And yet, it won’t get ****. Just because there are several implausible scenes and the last episodes drag on too long. Plus: it should be a terrorist thriller series and not a romance between a bipolar and a schizophrenic.