Olympus Has Fallen Review
There have been several times where I have discussed my own personal fears, so many times already on this blog that I've forgotten what I have talked about. A big fear of mine is being around if our country ever got invaded by a foreign foe. Enemies touching down on our soil is very rare, something that doesn't happen a lot. So the idea is very scary. Usually when Hollywood takes a stab at this sort of fear, it always comes out silly. Whether or not it is fun silliness depends on the film crew.
"Olympus Has Fallen" is a very silly movie, but its big fun at the same time. It is, for all intents and purposes, a political "Die Hard." A hard-boiled lead who has many skeletons in his closet, is hurled into an extraordinary situation when North Korean terrorists attack and successfully take control of the White House. I'm sure political buffs hated "Olympus Has Fallen" with extreme prejudice, and even I think its a little weird to try to create a realistic action movie out of real world situations. But there is enough fun going on that I didn't care.
The hard-boiled lead is Mike Banning (Gerald Butler) a former Secret Service agent who got fired from President Archer (Aaron Eckhart) after failing to save Archer's wife (Ashley Judd) in a freak accident. Fifteen months after the accident, the White House is taken over by North Korean terrorists, lead by Kang (Rick Yune). Dying for redemption, Banning gets to the white house to save President Archer from Kang and is far too many evil plots.
Butler, Eckhart, and Yune do well with what they are given. Its too bad though that none of them are given one memorable line or memorable scene. The same can be said about the rest of the great cast, that includes Morgan Freeman, Dylan McDermott, Angela Bassett, Melissa Leo, Radha Mitchell and Cole Hauser. What a waste of a good cast. What makes movies like "Die Hard," "Lethal Weapon," "First Blood," and "The Terminator" so timeless is that the characters are made to be memorable. They do something that makes them stick out, and sometimes those ticks can save a sloppy, silly script. All the work done by the cast and crew is very pedestrian and it kind of stinks.
Another thing that blew my mind about the whole thing is how incredibly cheap it looks. These are some of the very worst special effects that I have seen in awhile. Oh sure, there are a couple good money shots, but there so much cheapness to most of the film that it comes off distracting. Its a good thing the action scenes are so well-staged and handled well, otherwise it would have been hard to really sit through this movie. One thing I will put in this movies plus column is that the action takes you away. The movie wastes no time getting the White House invasion underway, and its a graphic, unapologetic, chaotic scene. Sure, the realism of the scene sticks out like a sore thumb, but its so well-made that its tough to find fault. The fear of being invaded really tapped in with me and I give the film big ups for those feelings.
If the rest of the film fired on those cylinders I'd be an overly-happy young man. But the movie has so many plot-lines to throw in that it comes off desperate. The evil plots created by Kang are overdrawn and are too high in number. There is an evil plot involving the president's son, there is an evil plot involving our countries nukes, there is an evil plot involving our South Korean support, it goes on and on without being very exciting. Its not exciting because Banning figures them out and moves on to the next big plan piece to disable. So many times in action movies, there is too little story told. I'll give credit to "Olympus Has Fallen" for not falling in that arena, however, it is still possible to tell too much story. I think "Olympus Has Fallen" really suffers from an over-abundance of storytelling. In action movies, you need to find a happy medium between story and action, so that one piece does not overwhelm the other. Clearly, story overwhelms everything else in this movie, and its too bad.
If you don't care about special effects or story, then I am sure "Olympus Has Fallen," will suit you well. Its got everything one could want from a big action film, but it also lacks creativity. I guess one thing came out of this experience, I am curious as hell to see "White House Down" now. However, I am not sure if that thing is positive or negative.
FINAL GRADE: C