Monday, March 25, 2013

Olympus Has Fallen - Movie Review

Starring Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Melissa Leo, Rick Yune, Dylan McDermott, Robert Forster, Radha Mitchell, Cole Hauser and Ashley Judd.
Directed by Antoine Fuqua.


Die Hard in the White House!

I actually saw a few people in my Twitter feed compare it to a Die Hard sequel (mostly favorably) before I went to the movie, so that was in my head.  And they're right.

Olympus Has Fallen is a straightforward action B-movie where one man has to take on a small army of terrorists who've taken over the White House, and they're holding the President, VP, Defense Secretary and a few other notables in the safehouse bunker underground.

One man, ex-Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Butler), makes his way into his former place of employment before the terrorists manage to lock it down.  Now he must kill off the stray guards that go looking for him as he searches for the President's son, unaccounted for and somewhere in the White House.

Meanwhile the head of the terrorist group (Rick Yune) sends demands to the Speaker of the House (Morgan Freeman), acting president while POTUS and VPOTUS are hostages.

The whole thing takes place over the course of 24 hours, so a lot of it is at night, where fight scenes can hide more in their choreography. It amused me how often Mike and the other guy would have their guns knocked away so they'd fight with fists and kicks until one of them found a knife or something.

There were a couple plot points that were so stupid - and I mean so stupid! - that my brain had to actively fight and wrestle with them to not kill my enjoyment of the movie. If you tell me a failsafe, and I can instantly think about how to get around it and exploit it to kill millions, why did this potential exploitation never occur to anyone in the White House, Pentagon, contractors...?

Director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) fills the supporting roles with plenty of champions.  I really liked how Melissa Leo (Academy-Award-winning actress...) threw herself into what could have been a throwaway role as the Secretary of Defense. (She was probably thinking, "I probably won't be in too many more action movies, so I'm going to have fun!")  You want the Speaker to be a man with gravitas? You don't mess around; you just get Morgan Freeman.

The body count is high, and the bullets fired are plentiful. Fuqua really doesn't mess around.

I can already see a sequel where Mike Banning is just visiting Buckingham Palace...

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