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#175. Off-duty, On-action

The key to a successful work-life balance is to separate your work from your home. Once you punch out for the day, you should think about work as little as possible. Even though we seem to be working longer hours than ever before, it can be easy to stress over the work left to sit overnight. With limited vacation time as well, we relish any opportunity to force ourselves away from our jobs. Unfortunately, some people have jobs that require them to be “on” at all times. Cops and other law enforcement officials may be off-duty, but they have a personal responsibility to help out if a situation should arise. These people have lives outside of their jobs, but if they happen to get caught in an incident that would require people with specific training and skills, many of them will step up to the task. This week’s two films feature main characters who are off-duty, but called into action.

Olympus Has FallenOlympus Has Fallen
Year: 2013
Rating: R
Length: 119 minutes / 1.98 hours

Considering the amount of time we spend at our jobs, it’s no wonder that we can develop deep friendships with our coworkers. Sure, some of them might drive us up the wall, but there are many we work with who help make the days more enjoyable. It’s almost a level of inmate camaraderie, since the work might be keeping us prisoner, but we can relate to other people who are trapped just as much as we are. These tight-knit groups can be enjoyable to be around, and are always understanding when you just want to rant a little bit. However, the flip-side to this dynamic is when people are fired or laid off. Then it’s always uncomfortable running across former co-workers in public, the close friendship now a distant memory held together with pain and regret. Now, let’s say your job is the lead Secret Service agent assigned to the President.

Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) had just such a job. Unfortunately, in a weather-related accident one fateful Christmas, Banning was only able to save President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart), resulting in the unintended death of the First Lady (Ashley Judd). Because Banning reminds President Asher of that night and his lost wife, he no longer works for the Secret Service, but rather for the Treasury Department. Fortunately, Banning’s office has a view of the White House, which comes in handy when an attack by North Korean terrorists occurs, triggering Banning into action. Infiltrating the attack area, Banning uses his skills as a former Special Forces member to rescue the President’s son, Connor (Finley Jacobsen). Now it’s just a matter of thwarting the terrorists and rescuing the President from the bunker where he is trapped with the terrorist mastermind.

Die HardDie Hard
Year: 1988
Rating: R
Length: 131 minutes / 2.18 hours

Some feelings are difficult to forget. Even if we become estranged from someone, we still will remember what brought us together in the first place. Situations and circumstances may make the relationship difficult to maintain, but there’s usually one party of the pair who wants to keep the relationship alive. Oftentimes, the wives of police officers find that their husbands’ jobs are challenging to understand, and they will cut off these men, even if the men have done nothing wrong. Fortunately, if a dangerous situation arises, these men are the most skilled and best equipped to handle the problem, even if they aren’t being paid for it. It’s in these situations, a common trope of action films, where the hero can prove his love for the estranged wife: by saving her life from an almost certain and painful death.

Much like Olympus Has Fallen started on Christmas, Die Hard takes place on Christmas Eve. NYPD Detective Lieutenant John McClane (Bruce Willis) finds himself on the other side of the country at a Christmas party where he hopes to reconcile with his estranged wife. Unfortunately, it is this same evening that Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) decides to attack Nakatomi Plaza, the building where the Christmas party is being held. As the party-goers are held hostage, Gruber starts his plan to steal almost $1 billion in bearer bonds. In a stroke of good timing, McClane was away from the party when the terrorists arrived, so he takes it upon himself to thwart Gruber’s plans. One-by-one, the terrorists are taken out by the “cowboy”, as the local police are powerless to help. When the night is done, the hostages are safe, and McClane finds his wife to be just as loving as she ever was.

2 sum it up: 2 films, 2 action infiltrations

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One response to “#175. Off-duty, On-action

  1. Pingback: End of Act Four | Cinema Connections

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