Butler vs. Butler
There seems to be a current feeling that Gerald Butler is the go-to actor for bad movies. It was a better film critic than I who suggested “there is a quality in bad movies that has been lost in good movies.”
The consensus is that Gods of Egypt is some kind of pariah on filmmaking while London Has Fallen represents the rebirth of a new “Die Hard-esque franchise.” The truth is both of these films have genre specific aspects that will appeal to a limited if not enthusiastic type of movie fan.
In LHF Butler plays a Secret Service agent who must rescue the President after terrorists have blown up the UK capital city and killed several world leaders who have assembled for a funeral. You know that Jet Li film where he walks into a room full of black belts and kicks all their asses. Butler does the same thing only with a service revolver and assault rifles. When Butler is informed that the terrorist stronghold cannot be breached because there are 100-armed men he merely grunts: “They’re going to need more men.”
By contrast Gods of Egypt harkens to the days when Italian sword and sandal films were trotted out on a regular basis. Think Steve Reeves as Hercules. Better still think Elodie Yung in a skimpy Egyptian goddess outfit. Yung plays Hathor, the Egyptian goddess of motherhood. In fact, Butler who has star billing is the bad guy and plays more of a supporting role as the Egyptian god of storms and violence Set.
Both films display average CGI effects. If explosions dominate the contemporary story, fire breathing snakes rule over the period piece. Much of Gods of Egypt takes place in the afterlife or the underground of lost souls. What an artist like Jean Cocteau saw in death in Orpheus (1950) the director of Gods of Egypt (Alex Proyas) milks for its proximity to modern day reality. In Gods of Egypt the only way to insure life in the great beyond is to offer a bribe to the keeper of the gate. It’s true – what everyone shares in common throughout history are taxes and death.
Butler launched to leading man fame with his role in 300 but for my money his best role was in Guy Richie’s cynical crime caper RocknRolla (2008).
Butler has a great role in an upcoming film if it will ever get made. He was supposed to play the lead in an action thriller titled Hunter Killer (originally scheduled to be shot last summer in New Orleans and Alaska). The film’s parent company Relativity Media went bankrupt and all their productions were put on a permanent state of stasis. Currently the producers of Hunter Killer are involved in litigation with Relativity to free the film from its bankrupt limbo.
Hunter Killer is based on the novel Firing Point by Don Keith. The book takes in the intrigue following a rouge Russian general as he tries to jumpstart World War III by hijacking a Ruskie nuclear submarine. American nuclear sub commanders, SEAL teams and political leaders all merge in a tale of subterfuge that will rival The Hunt for Red October as a tense adventure with an all-star line-up of characters. This film, should it ever actually get made, would be a movie that would put Butler back on the A-list.
— Michael Bergeron