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YMMV / The Siege

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  • Anvilicious:
    • Hubbard unflinchingly upholds the Constitution. Elise Kraft is a CIA Agent that compromises the law and makes mistakes, eventually getting killed for it. General Devereaux ignores the law to protect his country and its people. Guess who is portrayed as being in the right?
    • From a rather specific point of view, they're all right: Hubbard's steadfast belief in the law is what you'd expect from an FBI agent, but it's utterly useless against dedicated Islamic terrorists who will die for their cause. Elise's attempts to sway and use people have their uses, as she's able to help identify several cells and gather needed intelligence to take them down, but the blowback from her operations years before the main plot were what set everything off. And Devereaux specifically argued against martial law, and specifically stated that he didn't want to do it, but he was ordered to and therefore he was doing it. He's not wrong to follow orders, and he has the best intentions in mind, but he does take it too far without realizing it.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Terrorist attacks happening in New York City. It can make the movie a bit harder to watch after 9/11.
    • Terrorist incidents in the United States that happened after this movie, like 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombing, may not have led to martial law, mass detention, torture by military personnel and use of helicopter gunships in urban areas, but the subsequent counter-insurgency campaign in Iraq used exactly these tactics.
    • Not as unusual as one thinks. Mass detention certainly did not happen (even the large numbers of Saddam Hussein's military captured were more or less released after Baghdad), helicopter gunships were used in urban areas as far back as Korea (and also in Indochina, Grenada, Panama, Yugoslavia, and Afghanistan) and indeed were expected to be utilized in the WWII invasion of Japan. So this is nowhere near as unprecedented as it seems at first... which says something VERY unpleasant about the military. War Is Hell indeed.
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    • This trope is also inverted of sort in that the tipping point is a bombing of an FBI field office that kills over 600 people. The movie treats it as the most horrific terrorist act that could ever happen in the US. More than four times that many people were killed at the World Trade Center alone, and more than five times that many once the deaths from the Pentagon and United Airlines Flight 93 are added on. Though in the movie, part of the reason the attack on One Federal Plaza was so devastating was that with the FBI counterterrorism office destroyed, their capability to respond to additional attacks was severely weakened.
      • It's also possible that if continuous terrorist attacks occurred, martial law and the detention without charge of "suspicious" people would have been utilized. All of the film's elements were done, just not in New York City, but overseas.
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    • Post 9/11, FOX itself lampshades this by marketing the movie as "Eerily prescient of the 9/11 attack and their aftermath" on the backcopy of the blu-ray DVD edition.
    • The second bombing involves the bombing of the New Victory Theater in Times Square, which results in mass casualties. While no theatres in the vicinity of Times Square have been targeted by bombs, Times Square itself was the target in 2010 of an attempted car bombing.
    • General Devereaux is arrested for first-degree premeditated homicide in regards to the torture and murder of a single suspect. After the Abu Ghraib scandals, absolutely zero officers were tried for any crimes whatsoever.note  Ultimately, it's as if Devereaux got off, but all his men were blamed for his crimes!
    • Come 2017 and the Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States order has resulted in Iraqi refugees being detained in airports.
  • Heartwarming Moments: Notice how after the bus explodes, and emergency crews break cover, pretty much everyone rushes towards the burning remains of the bus to extinguish the blaze and look for survivors, except for Frank, who immediately rushes to Hubbard's side to check on him.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: General Devereaux says, when explaining how martial law in Brooklyn would look, "We will hunt down the enemy, we will find the enemy, and we will kill the enemy."
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • The bombing of Bus #5287. It's so sudden that none of the hostages still on the bus even have time to scream.
    • The initial response to the various terrorist attacks. This is most noticeable when Hubbard, Frank and Elise respond to the theater bombing. When they arrive, the fire department has set up an active triage center to treat people who have been injured by shrapnel (dead bodies are being covered up), and at one point, Hubbard's eyes fall on a woman staggering down a staircase with her left arm missing below the elbow.
    • Brooklyn under martial law, especially the army's arrival. Devereaux even opposes the move at first, warning that "It will be noisy, it will be scary, and it will not be mistaken for a VFW parade". He's dead serious.
  • Retroactive Recognition: That patrol cop at the second bus hostage scene who tells Hubbard that there are kids on the bus? That's Wood Harris, before he became better known as Avon Barksdale in The Wire. And Floyd Rose is played by Lance Reddick, who Wire fans will better know from playing Cedric Daniels.
  • Unfortunate Implications: Roger Ebert was extremely critical of The Siege because of what he believed was a poor attempt at subverting the anti-Arab/Islamophobic attitudes typically found in other movies.
    "I'm not arguing that The Siege is a deliberately offensive movie. It's not that brainy. In its clumsy way, it throws in comments now and then to show it knows the difference between Arab terrorists and American citizens. But the prejudicial attitudes embodied in the film are insidious, like the anti-Semitism that infected fiction and journalism in the 1930s—not just in Germany, but in Britain and America."
  • Values Resonance: It's honestly quite hard to believe that this film was made before 9/11. Devereaux's Heel Realization at the end resonates quite strongly with the racial profiling and curbing of freedoms ever since the attack.


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