- Chain of Command (film)
Chain of Command Directed by John Terlesky Produced by Lisa M. Hansen
Hans C. Ritter
Written by Roger Wade Starring Roy Scheider
Music by Joseph Williams Cinematography Maximo Munzi Editing by Daniel Duncan Distributed by ??? Release date(s) 2000 Running time 96 min. Country United States Language English Budget ???
New Secret Service agent Mike Connelly, assigned to protect President-elect Jack Cahill, becomes uneasy in having to protect a President who is having an affair with a friend's wife. Connelly feels even worse about it after preventing an assassination attempt aboard the President-elect's plane by shooting to death a mole agent who was about to shoot the President-elect. Cahill is unharmed, but a flight attendant is accidentally killed in the process as well. Connelly's boss tries to assure him that his job is to protect the Presidency itself without regard to the President's personal issues. Sensing Connelly's discomfort in the President's personality, Connelly is reassigned to a new post where he wouldn't have to worry about protecting the President at all; guarding the President's nuclear football.
In this movie, the nuclear football is a high-tech laptop computer inside a briefcase, which can only be accessed using a two key system (one with the President and the other with the agent on football duty) along with thumbprint and eye retina scans from the President. Just like the real football, the agent guarding it must be within 30 seconds of the President at all times and must protect the football at all costs, even if the President himself is in danger (since other agents are responsible for his protection).
Meanwhile, the newly inaugurated President is planning on a meeting with Fung, the President of Taiwan to discuss the strained relationship between Taiwan and the People's Republic of China. Later, Agent Phillips returns home and finds his family being held hostage, by who are later revealed to be Fung's henchmen and force Phillips to participate in a plot to steal the football from the President. When President Cahill and President Fung are at Taiwan aboard Fung's ship, Fung insists that he feels that peaceful co-existence with mainland China may no longer be possible and that drastic action must be taken to ensure China does not invade Taiwan. Soon afterwards, Fung's henchmen beginning killing all the other agents, leaving Agent Connelly as the only loyal agent left (but they do not realize it).
Fung's men along with Fung's girlfriend Iris are successful in stealing the football and Fung, with Agent Phillips (and his family) at gunpoint, forces Phillips to open the football (or else his family will be killed). Agent Phillips is then killed afterward and has his football key taken from him. Revealing his true intentions, Fung forces Cahill to activate the football (by knocking him unconscious to get his thumbprint and eye retina scans), explaining that he will use the US's ICBM's to launch a nuclear strike on China, beginning with Beijing, hoping that this will lead a revolution among his people towards "a new beginning" of Taiwanese freedom and pointing out that since he alone controls all of the US's missiles, he would not have to worry about mutually assured destruction of both China and the United States, just the United States when China retaliates.
Meanwhile, Vice President Valdez is informed of the situation and Fung makes a phone call to her explaining that he has seized control of the United States' nuclear missiles and will launch one against Beijing unless within 24 hours both China and the United States recognize Taiwan's independence and pledging that the United States will use its fully military might against China if it tries to invade Taiwan. Valdez insists that this would never be possible and later Fung follows through with his threat, lanuching a first strike against Beijing using an ICBM from Nebraska.
Valdez first contacts the President of Russia to assure that the missile is not targeted towards Russia. Then Valdez contacts Chairman Tzu of China to explain the situation and that the United States did not launch the missile and is therefore not responsible. She also offers to give Tzu the chance to shoot the missile out of the sky but Tzu angrily points out that this would be impossible. It is then that he gives the order to lanuch a retailitory strike against the United States using one of China's ICBMs, which he calls "an eye for an eye". True to his word, the missile is targeted for Washington, DC.
After Beijing and later Washington are destroyed, Tzu launches a second strike using several of China's missiles as further retaliation for the destruction of China's capital. Meanwhile, Iris is revealed to Agent Connelly to be an undercover Chinese agent whose assignment was to recover the football and return it to Beijing. But even she had no idea Fung would actually launch missiles against her country, and points out that China would no doubt retaliate against the US in response to the attack, thus she points out now they both have a common interest. Together they are able to escape Fung's ship and follow Fung and the still kidnapped President to Hong Kong. They are both ultimately successful in taking out all but one of Fung's henchmen. The last remaining one strangles Iris to death however and continues his search for Agent Connelly.
Meanwhile, Connelly finds President Cahill held at gunpoint by Fung who still has the football. Fung along with Agent Thornton orders Connelly to surrender or else either Fung or Thornton will kill the President. It is then Cahill says for Connelly to "remember your duty". Fung at first thinks he means the duty of protecting the President, but then Connelly points out that he is on football duty and that it's "some other guy's job" to protect the President. Connelly shoots the President in the leg which shocks Fung and distracts him just long enough to allow Connelly to take him and Agent Thornton out. Connelly and President Cahill now are in control of the football and begin the process of deactivating it. The last of Fung's henchmen however, is able to fatally wound the President before Connelly can take him out. But not before President Cahill is successfully able to deactivate the football. By doing so, Vice President Valdez and NORAD have regained control of the United States' nuclear arsenal.
Valdez gives this news to Chairman Tzu and says that he may now order the destruction of his missiles. Tzu refuses, thinking Valdez is bluffing. Valdez then gives the order to NORAD that "Stage One is a go", which Tzu is horrified to find out is in fact a launch of several of the US' ICBMs. Valdez warns Tzu has one minute to destroy his missiles, and if he does, Valdez will destroy her missiles and points out to Tzu that he does not want to know what "Stage Two" is. Just when it seems all hope is lost however, Tzu complies with Valdez's instructions and destroys all his missiles which soon afterwards Valdez does the same with hers. Thus a major nuclear war was narrowly averted.
Differences between the film and reality
- The nuclear football is still done "the old fashioned way" with paper playbooks and a SATCOM radio headset.
- To confirm the President's identity, he must give a special code (called the "Gold Codes") on a card known as "the biscuit".
- An officer of the military, not a Secret Service agent, guards and carries the football.
- The President does not exactly have "absolute power" to use the football at-will as implied in the movie. While only the President can order use of nuclear weapons, the order must be confirmed by the Secretary of Defense.
- President Jack Cahill: Roy Scheider
- Agent Mike Connelly: Patrick Muldoon
- Vice President Valdez: Maria Conchita Alonso
- Agent Thornton: Michael Biehn
- President of Taiwan Fung: Ric Young
- Iris: Sung Hi Lee
- Agent Phillips: William R. Moses
- Agent Burke: Tom Wright
- Wu: Philip Tan
- Lehmann: Michael Mantell
- Lt. Southern: Byron Field
- Lambert: John Putch
- Ellroy: Pat Skipper
- Ting: Francis Maikai
- Harrington: Herb Mitchell
- Chairman Tzu of China: Michael Yama
- Danforth: Susan Blakely
- Ellis: John Capodice
- Stephanie: Kim Roberts
- Michael Valdez: Richard Yniguez
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