When/how many times did Mason escape from jail? He must have escaped from Alcatraz before it was closed in 1963, but his daughter is played by an actress born in 1972, and she mentions he met her mother at a Led Zeppelin concert, when the band was formed in 1968. Are we just supposed to assume he escaped at least one more time? Or were specific dates/how many times he escaped given and I missed them? Also, was it mentioned what jail he went to after Alcatraz closed?
During the chase scene, Goodspeed asks Marvin to try to find Mason in the FBI database. When he couldn't find the name, Goodspeed tells him to look for who was transferred to Wolfburg Prison from San Quentin in 1976, and he finds Jade as the next of kin. According to the script, after escaping Alcatraz he was recaptured and sent to San Quentin, where he broke out again and sent to Wolfburg when he was recaptured again. Of course Wolfburg is fictional, and San Quentin is run by the California Department of Corrections, not the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
How are the children that Hummell talks to at the beginning supposed to convince their teacher to get off the island?
If they're clever, they can claim they left something on the bus. Or say they're sick. If they're not clever, they can all throw a tantrum that makes the teacher get them back on the bus.
"Teacher, some guy came up and told us we need to get back on the bus and leave." That alone was probably odd and maybe disturbing enough to get her to do it. It also put the whole operation at risk because if the teacher pitched a fit it could have called a ton of attention, but Hummell probably values not involving children over the op going smoothly.
At no point in the operation is Agent Goodspeed's knowledge of chemical agents ever actually relevant. He disables the rockets by removing the guidance chips which completely ignores the payload and would instead seem to suggest an expert in ordnance would be required. At no point does he ever actually counteract the VX. In fact, his solution entirely amounts to "it'll fall in the Bay" with no concern for the potential effects of all that deadly neurotoxin now in coastal waters.
Yeah, and? A significant part of being trained to deal with chemical weaponry is disarming chemical weaponry dispersal. Goodspeed is trained in ordnance disposal, and specializes in disabling chemical ordnance disposal. He did precisely what he was supposed to do when he extracted the warheads and disarmed them of their guidance chips. And salt water is actually quite effective at neutralizing chemical agents.
That is actually the job of Army units known as Technical Escort, who, if this movie made any sense, would on-hand to make entry and take care of the rockets. The rockets would have been M55s and look nothing like the set-up in the movie.
He is an expert in ordinance, remember him defusing the bomb in the teddy bear? And he wasn't even supposed to go. His original plan was to train the Navy Seals, but the commander insisted on bringing him.
And in this case, it was probably a good thing he was taken along. The commander and everyone else probably knew that crash course training on how to handle a bomb doesn't actually work out too well.
Also, did you miss the part where Goodspeed had to take the VX capsules out of the rockets to get at the chips? Your bog-standard bomb squad tech wouldn't have the faintest idea how to handle that crap, or what to do if one got squished.
If one of them gets squished, you either inject yourself with atropine or kiss the world goodbye. You don't exactly need training for either of those.
Removing the guidance chips took a tremendous amount of poise and stability - one false move and the whole array falls apart and everyone's dead. Goodspeed's ability to think clearly and operate under pressure was demonstrated during the teddy bear situation early in the film, and when it comes time to remove the guidance chip it's obvious that even the Ace Mason is unsure of himself.
I have no idea how that antidote to VX Goodspeed uses to inject himself with works; so this may be a totally ridiculous question... why didn't they just inject themselves with it before the mission began?
It apparently only acts over a short-term period.
The drug was Atropine and it is some seriously strong shit. If you inject that stuff into you at any time you're not already dying from the effects of nerve agent, the atropine is very likely to kill you. Atropine works by suppressing that part of the autonomic nervous system that keeps your heartbeat from escalating out of control; while this is an effective if brutal treatment if you're already dying of something that kills by stopping the heart and lungs, its a great way to die of ventricular tachycardia if you're starting out from healthy. So no, they can't dose themselves up with it ahead of time unless they want to stroke out. This is why the teddy bear scene is in error; at no point would a technician with any experience in chemical weapons ever say 'We must inject ourselves with atropine as a precaution'. You wait until after you've already sucked gas to stick yourself, no exceptions, or else you've just traded out painful death #1 for near-death experience #2... if you're lucky.
In the teddy bear scene, I thought the issue was that because the gas was corrosive and eating through Goodspeed's suit, his colleagues were concerned that he'd soon be affected by the gas, hence why they were instructing him to administer the atropine.
Pyridostigmine is used as a pre-treatment to most nerve agents.
The movie is exercising artistic license in at least one aspect, though — you're supposed to ram the atropine injector into your thigh muscle, not your heart. Seriously, ramming a metal spike that large into your heart is too likely to be fatal even without the atropine, so WTF movie.
If the entire premise of the movie is to defeat chemical weapons, why was not a single person (depot guards at the beginning, the bad guys, the Navy SEALS, or the supposed chemical "super freak") wearing chemical-protective garments or a frigging protective mask (gas mask) at their side? That's Day 3 basic training stuff.
Because the level of protection you would need to guard against VX would be impossible for the team to carry onto the island. You would basically need the full suit Goodspeed wore in the bomb room and those require a separate air supply.
If Hummel was bluffing the entire time...then why did he not remove the guidance chips himself or tell his men this, or even launch one if he was going to let it be destroyed anyway?
Because that might just cause bigger problems for Hummel than he wanted. If Hummel was bluffing, then he needs the guidance chips to make sure the missiles land away from civilian territory. IIRC Goodspeed was describing the situation when a marine had a gun to his back. If Hummel removed the guidance chips, he'd have no control over the missiles' course and they could still land in San Francisco or any other towns.
The Marines from the second group, who were all psychopaths who were willing to fire gas at civilian targets, would have noticed if there weren't any guidance chips, and then they would have started asking questions.
Maybe he wasn't bluffing, but the SEAL team massacre and all the heinous things he was doing gave him a My God, What Have I Done? moment.
He almost certainly was bluffing, but like it's said above, he needed the guidance chips to take the bluff as absolutely far as it could go. Note that the missile flies over heavily populated areas before it diverts back to the ocean... that's going to make the news, people are going to start asking questions about what happened. If Hummel could manage to get his story out after he escaped (he still wanted to do that), it would serve to make at least some people take notice. That was really what he wanted all along... it wouldn't have been as direct or effective as actually making the government pay out the money, but he still would have accomplished at least one goal.
That one marine calls Sean Connery an English prick. Sean Connery? Why was there not the post modern one-liner. 'I'm Scottish, you fucking moron'?
Isn't this after Mason identifies him as former RAF and British Intelligence?
Yes he's British. He was born in Glasgow, Scotland. He really wouldn't like to be called English. Especially for a character played by Scottish separatist Sean Connery.
To be fair, he clearly has bigger fish to fry than correcting a corpse on his nationality of origin at that particular moment.
It's been a while, but the timeline of Mason's imprisonment doesn't quite add up. He was captured and imprisoned for acquiring information on the Kennedy assassination, which occurred in November of 1963. Alcatraz was shut down in March of 1963.
No, he was captured and imprisoned for acquiring information on numerous national secrets. The plot to assassinate Kennedy (He was killed in November 1963, doesn't mean they didn't start planning it earlier) is just one of them.
You're assuming it was one continuous set of imprisonment. Remember, Mason kept breaking out, including from Alcatraz... which was sort of the whole point of his involvement. If he'd just been transferred from Alcatraz to some other prison when Alcatraz shut down, they wouldn't really need him for anything.
I am almost completely ignorant about military tactics, but the shower shootout has puzzled me since I saw the film first time. The entire SEAL team goes down apparently without eliminating a single enemy, despite they were more-or-less equal in numbers and training and the marines were still visible targets. I know it, the point is that the marines were on elevated positions, but that should not completely nullify the SEAL's capacity as if they were A-Team firing novices.
The marines are behind hard cover and the SEALs are caught entirely out in the open. Also, the lighting is extremely poor — the marines are backlit so the SEALs can only see vague silouhettes, but the marines can clearly see the SEALs. Its still a stretch that the SEALs didn't hit even one enemy before dying, but not as large a stretch as it would have been under better conditions.
Also the SEALs were surrounded. Even if one of the Marines missed a shot on an intended target, it'd be likely to hit the guy standing behind him. The set up was an almost perfect crossfire.
At least one marine was shown to be carried off by his comrades after the fight, but it only appears in special wide-screen editions in the corner of the screen.
Special forces are not super soldiers, they are simply very well trained to set up a very specific set of circumstances and use them to their advantage. When caught by surprise in the open like that, all that special training is rendered worthless. For a real world equivalent, look up Operation Red Wings that ended with 19 Navy Seals dead by Taliban militia.
Mason was able to get through the Malevolent Architecture of the random spinning gear and timed flame room (why exactly did Alcatraz need that?) because he had memorized the timing during his escape. After getting through himself, he was able to open the door from the other side to let the team through. So, prisons routinely have doors that can only be opened from the inside? And Mason memorized the pattern necessary to break into Alcatraz because...?
He memorized it to break out. He was taking Goodspeed and the SEAL team in through the way he'd escaped originally.
1) That stuff is probably there partly as part of the boiler function, and partly specifically so the ventilation shaft isn't an easy escape route. 2) The door probably used to have a lock on the inside, when Alcatraz was actually a prison and not a tourist trap.
The catacombs of Alcatraz date back to the Civil War, when the guns of Fort Alcatraz protected San Francisco Bay from Confederate raiders and other possible threats, and some of the original redoubts still stand above ground. It didn't become a prison until the Army converted it to a Disciplinary Barracks around the turn of the century, and didn't start housing notorious felons until it was transferred to the Federal Bureau of Prisons in the 1920s—who had no need for underground bunkers. Each change resulted in new construction on top of the old. On top of that, the catacombs would be well out of bounds for inmates, and hypothetically inaccessible to them anyway. Remember that the guards' wives and children lived in apartment blocks on the island, just downhill from the prison yard. Even when a major escape attempt had to be put down by Marines in 1947, the families were considered fairly safe (it was understood that any harm to the women and children would result in every last con being slaughtered, regardless of involvement, so the more psychotic ones were policed by the rest). Say an escaping con made it that far, where was he going? The water is very cold (Alcatraz was the only Federal prison with hot showers for the inmates, as a security measure to ensure they wouldn't acclimate to cold water), and the current is strong. Sure, it's possible to swim—for Iron Man athletes who train for it. All of this, however, likely has less to do with it than Rule of Cool.