Olympus Has Fallen (2013)
Review by Jude Felton
Yippey ki yay, Gerald Butler! Yes indeed, Olympus Has Fallen, from director Antoine Fuqua, could very easily have been the next Die Hard movie, such is the premise. Die Hard in the White House, if you will, and there’s nowt wrong with that. This is a high octane, check your sense of reality at the door, kind of movie, and it’s criminally good fun.
Mike Banning (Gerald Butler) is a Secret Service Officer; actually he’s the President’s number one guy, who through a tragic quirk of fate finds himself working for the treasury Department. Not exactly where he wants to be, especially as he has a particular set of skills that could be put to better use elsewhere, but what’s a man to do?
I’ll tell what he’ll do; he’ll wait until North Korean terrorists take over the White House, and take the President (Aaron Eckhart) and his team hostage, and then slip in and go all McClane on their candy asses. It’s what any well trained killing machine would do, and he has the okay from stand-in President Morgan Freeman (who probably should actually be President).
That’s more than enough in terms of plot; if you can’t get your head around that, then you ain’t going to enjoy this movie. It’s big, brash, dumb and clichéd-to-hell, but my goodness it is a damned good ride. Olympus Has Fallen is overtly patriot, in an almost jingoist manner, but is very careful to distance the terrorists away from the North Korean government.
Stupid decisions are made, the Chief of the Armed Forces (Robert Forster) is a dumbass, as is always the case, and Angela Bassett is batting for Banning. Hell, it’s a damned good cast and they all do what they have to do pretty damned well. This isn’t meant to test your grey matter, instead just enjoy the ride. If you want that tested, just get back to your Criterion Collection for chrissakes.
One thing I will say about Olympus Has Fallen is that it is a damned mean movie. Yes, terrorism can be very violent, and it’s not something that needs to be dealt with in a blasé manner. But do we really need to see the Secretary of Defense beaten and dragged around? Probably not, but it does add to the emotion of the scene.
You’ll also see lots of folk shot in the head, with bad CGI blood spray. Actually, the CGI is pretty grim in places. I’m guessing the budget didn’t quite cover the scope of the movie.
Despite the aforementioned grievances, I had an absolute blast with Olympus Has Fallen. It was sheer ridiculous entertainment that offers up nothing more than you might expect. It was great to see Butler back and kicking ass. Hint to the studio execs; get Butler in the next Die Hard flick! He’s good with the one-liners and kicks ass with the best of them.
The DVD version, which I watched, came with no extras, aside from some previews and the Ultraviolet version of the film. Maybe the Blu-ray has something, but I can’t believe that a film of this type, and studio backing, had nothing they could use in terms of extras. Ah well, the film’s a blast, and at the end of the day that’s all that matters.
Olympus Has Fallen is released by Sony and is available on Blu-ray and DVD now.