Olympus Has Fallen (2013)

Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 3:57 PM | Posted in


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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
RT Critics Rating: 4.7/10

Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 7/10

OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN (2013) - Antoine Fuqua

Remember the good ol' days in the late 80's and early 90's, when a lot of films we got were Die Hard and Lethal Weapon. All them are simplistic action movies that serve only a few purposes: Blow stuff up, have the action hero kill everyone, and give us one hell of a good time in the theater. To make things simple, here comes a film that refreshingly returns to the good ol' days.

Olympus Has Fallen is on the list of one-dimensional films that give a good time and are never meant to be seen on a directing basis or writing basis. If one can get through that barrier, then you can find the entertaining factor behind this action flick. After all, is there any other reason why you would buy a ticket for Olympus Has Fallen?

The film revolves around U.S. Army Ranger Mike Banning (Gerard Butler), who has been disturbed for eighteen months for the failure of saving the President's wife. During a planned meeting between President Asher (Aaron Eckhart) and the prime minister of South Korea, the White House suddenly receives air and ground assault by Korean-led guerilla forces, eventually being taken over in thirteen minutes, two minutes faster than the U.S. Army's arrival time. This attack is led by an ex-North Korean terrorist, driven by a desire to reunify Korea and use Asher's hostage status as leverage to force the country down to its knees. Banning finds himself trapped within the White House, alive after the attack, and the national security team is now forced to rely on his inside knowledge to help retake the building and save the President.

Admittingly, the film begins slow, waiting to ignite the plot. Surely, every action movie needs to do this. Unfortunately, Olympus Has Fallen inevitably suffers because its entirety is too familiar, and therefore can get cliche and slow even in the beginning. We all know that Gerard Butler's character is going to try to redeem himself by saving the President. In a way, we also know exactly how the movie is going to end. However, the minute the assault begins, the film surprisingly gets terrifying.

With tolerable shaky camerawork and fast editing, the assault on the White House is honestly one of the scariest shoot-out sequences I have seen in recent years. This is simply because of the very possibility of such an invasion. Violence-wise, Olympus Has Fallen is rated R and does not hold back, so when people lose their lives to terrorists via gunshots, it really stings in the chest like glass. This may be a very odd analogy, but the attack on the White House in Olympus Has Fallen had a similar effect to the plane crash in Flight. It is heart-pounding and lung-stopping.

Though Gerard Butler's performance is admirable as an action hero, he is inevitably too much of a hero in the film. What I mean here is he always wins in a fight, and I do mean, always wins. Therefore, he does at some point become an unrealistic and unrelatable character, because he is a little too badass. Arguably, Butler's fist-fighting and shoot-outs resemble relentless drudgery more than tense brawls, and critics would indeed exclaim that the film pulls on our belief suspenders too much, lacking plausibility at times. In all honesty, the most interesting scenes in Olympus Has Fallen take place in the President's bunker and the conference room of the national security team. I salute to Eckhart and Morgan Freeman's performance.

The film contains a plethora of pompous action and explosions, and also delivers several scenes of very poor CGI. To describe the action in Olympus Has Fallen, it is one of the most ludicrously entertaining flicks in years, and this ridiculousness would either be the source of your likes or the source of your dislikes. Fortunately for the film, it does provide a nice balance of political commentary in the narrative, and that is a reasonably respectable move that Hollywood has made. Without a doubt, this film is patriotic and holds anti-North Korean propaganda in it, but it never pushes the theme into our faces. Instead, it just addresses the topic and serves it to our table, leaving it up to us whether we want to take it or not. For me, I took it, and it frightens me about nations' political relationships today.

Without a doubt, Olympus Has Fallen has been seen way too many times before, and I can completely understand why some will not enjoy this film. This is the story and content of Die Hard and Air Force One, with the violence of Rambo. There is literally nothing in this film that is original or creatively new. However, it certainly is a refreshing return to the fun and adrenaline-charged action thrillers with Gerard Butler going back to the action genre, even when he is no John McClane.

In conclusion, Olympus Has Fallen is one of the most cliche and familiar action films I have seen in years, but I still fell for it and the film still got away with its entertainment factor. It delivers its basic content in basic form, and its political commentary is irresistable to take in. Cliche beyond belief, in familiar territory throughout, suffers from bad CGI, and is surely a Die Hard carbon copy, but this briskly paced action thriller satisfies your desire of spending two hours on bombastic explosions. Olympus Has Fallen: I salute to you.


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