Fail Safe Review

It’s time to look at another film about possible nuclear war. It’s certainly a fun topic to take a look at and definitely makes for a pretty intense film. I love seeing governments talk about this stuff in movies like this, especially while it’s happening all around them. A whole film about this is pretty ideal. The only thing that holds this movie back is the ending which….is pretty bad. Oof. Definitely not an ending you want to see but otherwise this one is pretty solid.

The film starts with the Air Force giving a tour to some of the funders. It’s all pretty routine as they explain how we have counter measures set up for if someone starts triggering World War III. They run these drills every month or so. During this test there is a UFO which the army is unable to identify. It turns out to be a false alarm but unfortunately due to a system malfunction the bombers get orders to blow up Moscow and there is no way to call them back. The President will have to think of something quickly in order to stop this from happening. The only option now appears to have the rest of our troops actually shoot them down ourselves. Is it really worth shooting our own soldiers down to prevent the bombs from dropping?

A big part of the film is really about what lengths we are willing to go in order to prevent this tragedy. Blasting our own men is just the tip of the iceberg as we also order our soldiers to effectively commit suicide and then tell the Russians how to completely destroy our planes and missiles. This means that in any future battles we will be at a massive disadvantage. Effectively the more we do to avert this current crisis, the more likely we are to lose the next one. This begins causing some dissent among the officials as they all have different ideas on how to play this. You’ve got the President, The Vice President, A professor, the General at the scene, and then the board room. Everyone’s got an opinion and they’re all willing to share it.

My favorite character was definitely the Professor. The guy is definitely on the extreme side but is certainly quick on his feet and makes for a lot of entertaining banter. He’s been heavily interested in death since day 1 and so getting put into a position like this is quite interesting for him. He believes that since the attack has already begun we should press our advantage and send in an attack squad. This would then force Russia to surrender and we’ll have won the war without firing a shot after the bombs. While there is nothing necessarily underhanded about doing so if we presume that there is no way to stop the bombs, it does turn an accident into a full war offensive.

So while he may be extreme there and we don’t need to follow up the attack, I find the president to be too extreme in the other side. He wants to avert a diplomatic disaster so he agrees to bomb New York to appease the Russians. Wait a minute…that’s a horrible idea. Not only was our sending the bomb a mistake but we find out that it is partially the Russian’s fault as they intentionally jammed our communications and then kept on jamming it as our fighter plane approached their territory which is why we couldn’t call them back. You can’t answer an accident by intentionally destroying 5 million of our own people. It’s an eye for an eye only it’s worse in this case since we’re delivering both blows. I feel like the President wouldn’t live much longer after people find out what he did here.

He tries to justify this as making everything even but it’s just not so. As the leader of your station you have the utmost duty to protect your people. Whatever happens that’s the job. I’d say his first mistake was trying to shoot down our own pilots, the second was giving the enemy the tech to take us down, the last and biggest was in blowing up New York. I wouldn’t say that the film glorifies this and it’s still a well made movie so I consider it a character error as opposed to a film error. The President made his call even if it was the wrong one so this is a solid film to check out. That said, it’s still just pretty bad. put it this way, once our nukes are going to hit Moscow only two things can happen. One is that they will retaliate and then that will force the U.S. to blow up the planet. The other is that they don’t retaliate and while this will be a diplomatic nightmare, things will go on as usual.

You have to accept those as the two outcomes of this action. Blowing ourselves up just isn’t a factor. It’s far better for us all to die together as one planet than for the country to turn on itself. That’s just not a good idea. It would have made for a good twist if one of the pilots had hijacked the final plane to prevent it from dropping the bomb or for the interpreter to have taken the President out. Certainly would have been very unexpected but it would have been a good move for justice to have prevailed. Of course you never know how you will really react in such a situation but I like to think we wouldn’t do this.

Overall, Fail Safe is definitely a pretty interesting film. I like all of the discussions and plans of how to handle this situation. It’s a film that inherently doesn’t have a lot of replay value since most of the fun is in seeing how things will play out. It’s like a mystery, once you know all of the answers then it won’t be quite as interesting to check out the next time around. At least a mystery allows you to see if any hints were dropped while this movie doesn’t have such an advantage. Still, if you haven’t seen this movie before then I would definitely recommend changing that. It’s one of the better political thrillers to check out even if you’ll shake your head on the ending.

Overall 6/10

Red Dawn Review

It’s time for a retro war film. As you may expect from the title, things are looking a little dicey for America in this film. We’re outgunned and we’re outnumbered, but we’ve got determination on our side! I can’t say that I had high expectations going into the film and it was more or less what I may have expected. A little worse than what I had expected, but trust me when I say that I was not expecting a masterpiece in the first place. All right, let’s see what made this film hit the ground.

The plot involves a group of teenagers. Jed, Matt, and a few others were at school trying to learn a thing or two when they are attacked by the enemy. See, The United Nations was basically disbanded and all of the countries were either taken over or ran away when the going got tough. This basically left America by its lonesome along with some support from England against Russia and an army of other lands. Their troops attack the school and decide to destroy everyone who’s inside of it. The teenagers escape and head to the mountains where they stay for a little over a month. Eventually, they decide that they’re going to try and take America back as they form the Wolverines. They shall slay anyone who gets in their way. America shall survive!

Well, it’s a classic tale of how a few people can really make the difference in the war. Naturally, it’s hard to even know where to begin when discussing why this does not work. First of all, let’s talk about America. We would definitely not be defeated so easily. I won’t say what the outcome of the war is, but the enemy invaded way too easily. We definitely would have been more prepared and we would have watched as tensions escalated. Never underestimate the strongest country on the planet.

Next up, the Wolverines are very overpowered. They have enough resources to grab rockets, dozens of grenades, different uniforms to camouflage with the environment throughout the year, and so on. They’re still bold enough to walk into town though since nobody can recognize them without their proper gear. The Wolverines are only made up of a few teenagers (at first) but they know how to fight. They easily outshoot the trained professionals when necessary and it just goes to show that your average Quarterback is more than just a strong arm.

I wasn’t really impressed with most of the characters. Jed was definitely better than most of the other heroes. The problem is that it’s more of a default victory than anything. He knows that it’s not good to cry after every casualty and he’s the one who gets everyone to keep their acts together. That being said, Jed can get a little too confident and his big words, “You lose” come back to bite him.

The rest of the teenagers either get no character or are here to drag the rest of the heroes down. Keeping track of all of the names can be tricky, but it doesn’t really matter all that much here. One of the teenagers tends to panic whenever the going gets tough. He’s not the kind of guy that you really want on your team. The heroes also get betrayed by one of the teammates, who basically sells them out. He got sold out first and then decided to sell out his friends. There were two girls who joined the group and they were way too unprepared. They panic at one point in the mountains, which almost costs the heroes everything. Encouraging the others to stay and eat when the enemies laid out an obvious trap wasn’t cool either, but all of the heroes were to blame.

Really, I can’t say that I liked any of them. With the constant panicking, fighting, or just making mistakes in general, it was hard to believe that these guys could really take out so much of the enemy forces. We also had an American pilot who joins the ranks at one point, but he doesn’t really add anything to the story. He just reminds us that America is getting creamed out there and he belittles the teenagers a lot. He has his big moment where he goes up against a tank and realizes that it may have been a bit of a dicey move. At least he reminds the heroes to shoot straight.

One of the classic mistakes that this film makes is the animal violence. We don’t need to see the “heroes” taking the animals down for food. The “hardcore” American tries to one up them by saying that he’s seen squads have to eat each other to keep on going. Yeah…those guys lacked strength of will. Those things certainly aren’t going to help the film at all.

We don’t get much of a soundtrack and I’m not sure how much it could have helped anyway. Red Dawn just isn’t a good film and even writing the review can be a little tedious. It gets to the point where the film had so many negatives that it’s just a little overwhelming. To put it simply, the film was just pretty dreary and it lacked any interesting characters. All of the figures were just there to take up space and to remind us that war isn’t typically good for anyone. The film just forgot that America never surrenders and we should have quickly launched the nukes after such an assault.

The only piece of credit that I would give the film is that the events can feel a little surreal. I can’t say that I really expected the teacher to be taken down so quickly and for the action to suddenly begin like that. It was a little hard to believe that the invasion was actually happening. The film just stayed in the mist for the rest of the experience though and it’s something that’s only good for short bursts. Red Dawn needed to quickly embrace the action or to try and go in a different direction. Staying in the mist is not a good idea either way.

One of the flaws of this film is that is can also be pretty boring. I already mentioned how detached you become from the characters. That’s definitely the first step and it doesn’t get any better since you need to like the characters to enjoy the story. (Typically this is the case) You really know that nothing’s going to happen so it also takes your drive away from watching it. Ah well, you just watch the minutes go by and think about what would have happened if the film had actually gotten a sequel. Now That would have been dicey!

Overall, Red Dawn is a film that can’t break through the test of time to get me to recognize that it was a good film. It will have to be thrown to the wayside along with other classics like The Lord of The Rings and James Bond. The teacher at the school was one of the only characters that I found to be pretty interesting and he’s written out of the film right away. At least he stayed courageous from start to finish. He never showed any fear and that’s what I would expect from him. If you want to watch a war film..check out the Avengers. It’s like watching a war skirmish in New York since there is a lot of destruction and the heroes face extremely large numbers of aliens. Skipping this film will be one of the better decisions that you’ve made in a while!

Overall 2/10