Saturday, 20 April 2013

Film Review: Olympus Has Fallen

Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart in Olympus Has Fallen

Obama had better watch his back because Hollywood have got it in for the White House this year. First out of the blocks in the 'White House under siege' sub-genre is Olympus Has Fallen, starring Morgan Freeman, Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart. 

When a North Korean paramilitary group infiltrate the White House and take President Asher (Aaron Eckart) hostage, it is up to his old friend and Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) to swoop into action and really rustle their jimmies. As the tensions between the two countries escalate and full-scale war in Korea approaches, the pressure of keeping the peace is laid at the feet of Acting President Trumbull (Morgan Freeman).

Gerard Butler as Banning
Whilst it may not be the most original of action films, Olympus Has Fallen is most certainly not a wet sponge that should be avoided at all costs. On the contrary in fact, this film is a great late-night showing action thriller that is chock full of carnage, explosions and cheesy action film-troupes.

First off, Gerard Butler is a fantastic lead, something that was a little unexpected for me. After a few meanders with rom-coms in the last few years (The Ugly Truth, The Bounty Hunter), Butler is back in full-badass mode as Mike Banning. Butler seems to have real fun with the role, barely suppressing a cheesy grin as he threatens to shoot, stab and generally fuck-up the terrorists.

His character however is a little two-dimensional as early signs of characterisation are squandered in place of kicking-ass and charging around darkened corridors. Director Antoine Fuqua does try to construct some kind of background for Banning (his wife is a nurse, he feels guilty for letting the President's wife die) but all of this is quickly forgotten once the shit hits the chandelier (because the White House doesn't have fans).

Also, the dialogue is flat and uninspired; Banning isn't exactly John McClane in the witty one-liner department whilst Eckhart's president Asher is left to spew clich├ęd lines like "The United States of America doesn't negotiate with terrorists" and then subsequently do just that.

In terms of action, Olympus Has Fallen has enough on offer to please action-junkies that crave copious amounts of carnage. The opening salvo that sees the White House get over-run was a little too simplistic and easy for my liking, but Butler proved to be an extremely physical and brutal hero akin to Messrs Willis, Seagal and Stallone. For anyone who isn't into action films however, the fist-fights and knife plunges may seem a little over-the-top or unnecessarily violent for them to enjoy.

Crumping on the dance floor
Morgan Freeman and Aaron Eckhart were also good in their supporting roles, the former a little underwritten in my mind. It did seem as though all Freeman did was sit around in board room and give orders. Meanwhile, Rick Yune's maniacal villain was memorable enough to leave a lasting impression, something which cannot always be said about action films (We're looking at you A Good Day to Die Hard).

So whilst it isn't going to win any awards or make a huge amount of cash, Olympus Has Fallen is still a whole lot of fun that doesn't require too much thought to enjoy. It's cheap, cheesy and violent, a throwback to 80's action films that didn't try to be something they weren't. Definitely a guilty pleasure that will make you forget just how shit A Good Day to Die Hard was. Just don't go in expecting Citizen Kane and you should have a whole lot of fun.

I give Olympus Has Fallen: 6/10


See this if you liked: Air Force One, Die Hard, Gamer, Independence Day

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
    thank you :)

    ReplyDelete

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