Movie Review: Olympus Has Fallen
The 80’s had the Russians, The late 90’s had the Middle East and now we have North Korea. Olympus Has Fallen takes you on an action packed thrill ride. Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is the head secret service agent of the current president (Aaron Eckhart) respected by his colleagues adored by the POTUS, FLOTUS (Ashley Judd) and First kid, until one snowy, stormy night before Christmas a freak accident results in the first lady plunging off a bridge into a watery grave, just seconds after Banning pulls the president is pulled out of the car. Eighteen months later, Banning is working a desk job in the Treasury Department. Its made clear that his removal from Secret Service detail was President Asher’s call not because of his actions.
The action in Olympus Has Fallen comes in spurts but it keeps you interested. The attack on DC looks mostly good, the CGI shots of an aerial view its pretty clear everything you are looking at is fake, not just a damaged Washington Monument superimposed on a real DC backdrop. For the most part though the attack on the White House looks pretty good, The way that they thought out the plan and executed it is pretty tight. This movie is bloody. Not Tarantino bloody but way more than your average action movie. Rough guessimate is 200 people are gunned down in the White House attack.
The primary villain here is Kang (Rick Yune) posing as the head of security for the South Korean Prime Minister, nobody knows he’s a top 10 terrorist because he hadn’t been photographed in years. Acting on behalf of North Korea his plan is to take the White House and kidnap President Asher, Secretary of Defense Ruth McMillian (Melissa Leo) and Admiral Hoenig, the 3 people who have the codes that can detonate every nuclear missile we have on American soil making every attempt to launch them, cause the missiles to blow up before they reach the target.
There’s a few great performances in this. Morgan Freeman ends up as acting president since both the President and Vice-President are sealed in the bunker with Kang and he’s Speaker of the House, there is nothing this man can’t do. Angela Bassett holds her own as Director of the Secret Service and the only woman in the command center as they try to figure out what to do. But the hidden star Melissa Leo give an awesome performance as Secretary of Defense.
Olympus Has Fallen might seem vaguely familiar as you are watching it and then you start thinking, this is the Die Hard sequel that should have been. Banning sees the plane attacking and runs towards the firefight, once inside he’s the only person still alive. The biggest place where I had to suspend disbelief was that all the codes and access pins he tried still worked. Its been 18 months you would think all that would have been changed. I’ll be honest, I never like anything Gerard Butler is in. When I first heard about this movie all I kept thinking was they should have recast his role. He brings nothing tot he table to me. Even so I didn’t hate him in this. He was actually entertaining and I didn’t spend the movie frowning each time it was about him. Dylan McDermott also stars as Forbes a former Secret service agent now in the private sector and one of the bad guys.
Olympus Has Fallen is a feast for action movie junkies. Its one of the best things I’ve seen so far this year. Entertaining from beginning to end with enough storyline to make it mostly cohesive.
My Rating: Matinee
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Studio: Film District
MPAA Rating: R
Run Time: 2 Hours
Images courtesy of Film District