Olympus Has Fallen
Running Time: 120 minutes
Starring: Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Aaron Eckhart, Dylan McDermott, Rick Yune, Angela Bassett, Melissa Leo, Radha Mitchell, Cole Hauser
Directed By: Antoine Fuqua
Rating: 6.5 out of 10
Terrorists have overtaken the White House and it is up to one man to stop them.
There are terrorists in the White House? Where is John Maclean when you need him! Olympus Has Fallen is the story of former Presidential guard, Mike Banning. He is caught inside the White House when a terrorist attack occurs. It is up to him to try and rescue the president from these unknown invaders, and to prevent their sinister plot from coming to fruition.
This film can be summed up in one sentence. Die Hard in the White House. I will not compare the two films but there are lots of similarities. On a positive note, there are certainly way worse movies to be compared to. After a security detail goes wrong, a presidential guard (Mike Banning) is forced into the quiet life. He has trouble adjusting to his new job and his personal life is suffering because of it. That is all about to change, as Terrorists are about to descend on the White House. It has been a long time since I have seen a bare bones action flick, so I was able to enjoy this in all of its absurdity. The White House is about to face a threat unseen since the British burned it to the ground in the 1800’s. Thank god, Mike Banning is there to defend it and to kill bad guys at will. A scene where the terrorists invade Washington is bloody and pretty spectacular if you ask me. New age weapons explode in the air, and tens of thousands of bullets are fired with no thought to civilian welfare. Casualties are high on both sides as bodies are strewn about the White House lawn. It is a pretty cool introductory scene and establishes a great tone of violence. What this film is lacking in dialogue, casting, and believability, is more than made up in bloody carnage.
This film lives and dies with the lead. Mike Banning is played by Bruce Willis, I mean Gerard Butler. He is no stranger to action (300, Gamer) so this film was not a hard role for him. He tells the viewer to climb on his back and he will carry you through to the end. He shoots people with pin point accuracy, he breaks necks with pent up aggression, and he stabs people with style and effectiveness. He was great even while spouting off cheesy threats and trying humor in all the wrong places. Without Butler, this film would have failed, so I say bravo Mike Banning! You are no John Maclean but you are still pretty bad ass! His supporting cast is pretty much whatever. The president is played by Aaron Eckhart. All shred of realism is lost with that casting right there. There is no need for a young president with Hollywood looks, but that is what we find ourselves with. Morgan Freeman dials in his performance with a generic portrayal of Speaker Trumbull. And the lead terrorist is played by Rick Yune, who is also pretty generic and of course knows martial arts. In fact, if I didn’t know any better, I would have guessed they were casting poorly on purpose. Butler saves the day though and that is all that matters.
As the White House stands on the brink of collapse it is up to one man to save it. Mike Banning, who is bleeding and bruised, uses his intricate knowledge of the place to gain intelligence and to kill bad guys at will. Every step is a battle as he faces highly trained terrorists who will not go out quietly. Kill scenes occur often enough to sate even the most hardcore of action fan. I like how Mike Banning is battling these evil men Han style…………Solo, and he is doing it all for the viewer to see. The romantic relationships are kept to a minimum, the terrorists plot is not complicated, and the dialogue is thankfully sparse when needed. As the film comes to a close, I can’t help but feel this film hit all the right action notes that I was looking for, and it takes place in a cool locale that should be untouchable. In conclusion, if you like blood, violence, and death, then this film has that in abundance. Butler is allowed to go Rambo on some terrorists for 2 hours and he is fun to watch. If you need a great story then look elsewhere as the film offers little in the way of believability or originality. The use of CGI is over the top in some places but that can be overlooked when so many buildings are exploding and planes are crashing to the ground.
Director Antoine Fuqua is no stranger to action (King Arthur, Shooter) so he has put together another solid action film for his resume. What kept this movie from being great? The casting is main thing. Because the President is off, the bad guy is whatever, and the character development is virtually nonexistent, it is hard to care for anyone in this film. People die and things explode but there is no emotional connection. Butler saves the film though, and while other characters drop off, his steady finger on the trigger delivers every time.
I give this movie a recommendation and a Yippee Ki Yay Mofo!
T Factor + If you like Butler as an actor then this could score higher on the rating scale.
T Factor – If you need a good storyline then this could score lower on the rating scale.
If you liked this film reel recommendations: Die Hard, Shooter