I Watched… (#17)

11 Apr


Olympus Has Fallen (2013)

Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Shooter) directs the first of two White House siege films to be released in 2013. With Olympus Has Fallen arriving in cinemas well before Roland Emmerich’s White House Down, is it good enough to take the upper hand?

Gerard Butler leaves his gentle rom-com character behind and reverts back to action-man form to lead this film as former Secret Service agent Mike Banning. Wracked with guilt and disgraced in the eyes of President Asher (Aaron Eckhart) after an incident in the snowy prologue, Banning ends up in the Treasury Department in self-imposed exile for 18 months. His chance of redemption arises when North Korean terrorists (spookily current), led by Kang (Rick Yune), attack and take over the White House, codename Olympus. Banning finds himself alone in the White House and must use all his skill, and the help of Morgan Freeman as the Acting President, to save the President and ultimately, the US of A.

It is apparent from the title alone that this film is sickly sweet with the massive helpings of American patriotism. It is up to one brave American to beat the evil terrorists, save the beloved  President, save the symbolic White House and protect the freedom of American and the whole western world. Cliched lines such as “The United States of America does not negotiate with terrorists” are uttered throughout and burning images of the White House and fluttering flags let the audience know that good will triumph in the end as America is America!

Further problems include the preposterous and quite simply unbelievable story, hundreds of questions are thrown out with no answers attached. Add to this the ropey CGI that lessens the authenticity and plausibility even more and you end up with a pretty flawed action film.

The action though is the one thing the film is good at. Butler pulls off the patriotic soldier act pretty well and dishes out the quotes and pummelling of terrorists in rapid fire mode. The film rests on his shoulders and they are just about broad enough to hold it up as a mildly entertaining piece of cinema.

Being labelled as ‘Die Hard – in the White House’ means this film can’t help but to fall way short of the target, Gerard Butler is no Bruce Willis for one. Yet buried under its ridiculous patriotism and implausible plot is a rather fun action flick. It isn’t clever and is littered with cliches, but Olympus Has Fallen certainly delivers in some departments.



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