After the abduction by the US military of an Islamic religious leader, New York City becomes the target of escalating terrorist attacks. Anthony Hubbard, the head of the FBI's Counter-Terrorism Task Force in New York, teams up with CIA operative Elise Kraft to hunt down the terrorist cells responsible for the attacks. As the bombings continue, the US government responds by declaring martial law, sending US troops, led by Gen. Devereaux, into the streets of New York City. Written by
Karen Eiler <email@example.com>
While negotiating with the bus bombers, Hubbard offers to exchange himself for the hostages. In Ricochet (1991), Denzel Washington's character makes the same offer while negotiating with another criminal holding a woman hostage. See more »
During the standoff between Gen. Devereaux and Hub the General initially does not stand down, but calls out "Captain", which is the signal for the army personnel to raise their weapons. After Hub convinces the General to stand down Devereaux calls out not to the Captain, but to the Sergeant to lower his weapon. See more »
Anthony 'Hub' Hubbard:
[conversing with Elise]
You think I want to lose them? You think I'm in the losing people business, huh? If I don't take them out properly, they hit the streets in two hours! I don't care if I find semtex, plutonium, dynamite; self-lighting charcoal briquettes! Without the right warrant, they walk.
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This fictional movie showed us what was coming. And they showed us what not to do!
This was a very strange film. Strange, because it had so many of its facts right for 9/11. Right city, right jihadists, right plot.
And the military's answer to the terrorist threats? Go in, plunder, pillage, torture, abuse and kill the bad guys. Moral? If we stoop to their level, we are no better than the enemy. The real irony is, Denzel's character had the CHARACTER to do the right thing.
Oddly, and presciently, Bruce Willis' general was about to do all the wrong stuff, and with a little help from Denzel, decided not to resort to all the things we really have resorted to. This movie is notable for several reasons, but the uppermost is showing us the future we shouldn't take, but took anyway.
The irony is not lost. What is confounding here is how much of this originally semi-corny movie got right. Washington, Benning, Shaloub, and Willis, all deliver in a big fashion, with some pertinent warnings. The road not taken was the moral. How scary that in the long run, when presented by a much larger threat, we one-upped this movie's punch line in reality. How much stranger can you get than that?
This was a fairly realistic portrait of the underworld, the intrigue, the terrorism, and gave us a scary view of our future. Hopefully, next time a movie like this one comes along, we might be better served by taking it more seriously.
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