Olympus Has Fallen
White House In Peril – Again
Review written by Tom Bevis
Starring: Morgan Freeman, Gerard Butler
I’ll be the first to admit that all of this 9/11 reminiscent terrorist imagery needs to disappear from popular media. I am tired, bored, and annoyed watching planes and/or tanks crash into every single American landmark that comes to mind. That being said, Olympus Has Fallen has only two or three of these said scenes in unimportant (albeit prominently featured) sequences of the film.
In short, the movie is about a team of initially unidentified militant terrorists who forcibly take over the White House in broad daylight and kidnap the president of the United States (Aaron Eckhart) and his cabinet (some other folks), and the only dude on the planet capable of saving him, out of dozens of secret servicemen, police officers, and national guards fellas is Gerard Butler. Y’see, Butler used to be BFFs with the Pres until a rocky night when they decided they couldn’t see each other anymore.
Okay, Olympus Has Fallen is one of those special action movies that occupies the promised land between “not quite smart” and “not quite stupid”. Let me break it down for you: the more reasonable, logical, rational, realistic, and well-explained an action movie gets (smarter), the more it becomes a drama. Oppositely, the more ridiculous, uninformed, lazy, fantastic, and generalized an action movies gets (dumber), it becomes a comedy — and usually an unintentional one at that.
Now, to keep the action fun and fast, to keep the focus on what’s happening and not why it’s happening, without getting too on point to where it becomes all about politics and science, you have to keep everything broad and limited without lapsing into the silly. Long story short, this film accomplishes that feat. The very bottom line is it’s a fun movie, and no one can say otherwise. Not only is it fun, but there’s never any moment where there’s a message or there’s some kind of science that you have to figure out to make it less fun and more analytical. This movie really is all about the action.
The performances were adequate-to-great. Aaron Eckhart was woefully underutilized, as he often tends to be, and there are more than enough bystanders in the picture whose truest talents are not getting in the way. And, man, talking about Butler — it’s great to see him out of romantic comedies and back in action, isn’t it? But let’s talk about the real gem of the movie, and that is whoever the hell played the bad guy.
I’m not gonna say too much about the character for fear of spoilers, but I will say that he’s a seriously well crafted and easy-to-hate villian. I mean, he’s almost on par with the original Die Hard’s Hans Gruber. Rick Yune, who’s been in movies like The Fast and the Furious, Alone in the Dark II, The Man with the Iron Fists, and Die Another Day (so, nothing good), plays the role perfectly, with all the cold detachment and subtle arrogance we need as an audience to be able to stand up and openly applaud when he gets what’s coming to him.
If you’re feeling like an amped up action movie this weekend (or you just want to make your girlfriend mad for making you watch that television show — you know, the one with the vampires), then Olympus Has Fallen is the film for you. With all honesty, it’s not perfect, it’s not the smartest movie, and it’s far from Oscar-calibre, but one thing is for certain: the folk who made it know how to craft a good, easy to watch action movie.