REVIEW: Olympus Has Fallen

"A touch over-the-top, but fantastic in the action department."

After losing the President’s wife in a car crash, secret service agent Mike Banning (Butler) is transferred to a desk in the Treasury department.  That is, until the White House is attacked by terrorists and Mike becomes honor bound to save both the President and his son.

Due to world events and the way society reacts to them, we haven’t seen nearly as many terrorist movies as we used to.  To be perfectly honest, I was taken aback when I first saw this trailer, thinking “damn, that’s gonna hit a nerve”.  I think the only time I’ve ever seen the White House structurally damaged (aside from the show 24) was in INDEPENDENCE DAY, so it’s a bit jarring to see half the building explode in the trailer.  Personally, I’m able to distinguish the line between fiction and reality quite well, so if you want to blow up the White House, Pentagon or half the damn world—in a movie—I’m cool with it as long as it’s for entertainment value and not shock value.  No worries on the latter here, this baby’s all about entertainment and it certainly doesn’t disappoint.

It’s only fair that I start by saying welcome the hell back Gerard Butler, it’s great to see you back in the action game.  I won’t bash romantic comedies or dramas (you were the bomb in CHASING MAVERICKS, YO), but Butler became a household name after his awe-inspiring performance in 300 and as a fan of action flicks, I know an action star when I see one, Butler can pull it off.  It was frustrating seeing him go from 300 to P.S. I LOVE YOU, but I can’t complain too much because GAMER, LAW ABIDING CITOZEN and the UGLY TRUTH were all good times.  That said, Butler is right at home putting foot to villainous ass and I’m hoping he sticks around rather than go awol from the action game for another three or four years.

For a movie pushing the two hour point the pace was razor sharp.  I was also quite fond of the dialogue and characters throughout.  I felt the kid thing was a bit rushed and the wife angle unnecessary simply because it all felt a little “been there, done that”.  The story was average as far as bad guys and world domination goes, I have to say though, whether they succeeded in their mission or not, did they really think they could go into the White House bunker and actually come out unscathed?  Felt like a suicide mission to me.  I liked the Cerberus system, but let’s be real, there’s no way that would have went down the way it did—and hacking one of the codes?  Come on, that can’t seriously be possible.

OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN is a powder keg of an action ride that will blow your eyebrows clean off your face.  There’s no debating the entertainment value here if movies like this (and shows like 24) are your thing (Antoine Fuqua knows his action).  I’m more than a little curious about two portions of this takeover however, one, being how in God’s name did a gunship of that caliber (it’s not exactly inconspicuous) avoid hitting a red flag on the radar until being about five minutes from the White House?  And I don’t know about you, but in my experience, crossing the American border is no fun these days so I’m perplexed at how they managed to get vehicles armed to the teeth with high powered weaponry and soldiers so easily onto American soil, let alone to the White House lawn.  Hollywood definitely isn’t without a sense of humor.

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