Originally my cinema buddy and I wanted to see A Place Beyond The Pines on Wednesday night, but after sitting down on the front row and deciding it was going to be a horrible experience up close, Cineworld very kindly exchanged our tickets for the next film that was showing… Turned out to be one I was trying to avoid, Olympus Has Fallen.
I was trying to avoid it due to the bad reviews it has received and my preconceptions of what the film looked like from the trailer. ‘We love America and we’re fucking awesome’ looked like the premise. Well I was right on that aspect, but surprisingly Olympus Has Fallen exceeded my expectations and turned out to be pretty enjoyable.
Gerard Butler plays the lead, Mike Banning – secret service agent, presidential guard and close personal friend of the President of the United States. After a car accident where Banning fails to save the First Lady, he is dismissed from the presidential guard. This all happens in the first 20 minutes or so, then the film cuts to 18 months later where we see Banning still struggling to come to terms with the tragedy and missing his old life in the secret service. Meanwhile, some disturbingly accurate news reports in the background discuss trouble in North and South Korea – then BOOM quite literally, shit kicks off in Washington, the White House is taken down and the President is held hostage.
Butler is back doing what he does best, kicking butt. I was relieved to see him shoot some guns, punch some people, wrestle around and stab some one in the brain rather than fanny around in another shitty rom-com. On the way out I actually heard a girl in the cinema say; “I’ve never seen Gerard Butler in a film like that before!”… *ehem*. He did well with the script he was given – some cheesy one liners and a lot of eff you’s – but it worked. He was probably the only character I didn’t feel was taking himself too seriously. They also didn’t make him put on an American accent and I think this helped a lot.
President Asher is played by Aaron Eckhart, of two-face fame for me. He plays a good President, pretty defiant and likable, I could see him being elected. Not much to say about him other than that! I thought there were some strong female’s cast though, Angela Bassett who plays the Secret Service Director and Melissa Leo playing the Secretary of Defense who puts up a great fight. I found myself really liking her character, especially when she says “I wouldn’t want my tomb stone to read, she went down without a fight!” I thought, Go Lady!!
WAIT Morgan Freeman was in this film… is he just so good at everything we forget to talk about him anymore? Well he was obviously great as Speaker Trumbull, taking the helm when the President and Vice President are otherwise engaged. A brilliant power struggle between seemingly old and tired Trumbull and General Clegg (Robert Forster) sees Freeman’s character rise to the challenge and take the lead.
There are not many other characters worth mentioning apart from the main bad guy, I wont divulge that information so as not ruin the ‘surprise’ but as soon as you see him you will know 😉
I am sure you have read that Olympus Has Fallen is like a version of Die Hard that takes itself too seriously. Well that is exactly it really, you could have put John McClane in this situation and it would have worked a lot better than the most recent Die Hard disaster. It also would have been full of wit and irony, and the one liners wouldn’t make you cringe, they would make you laugh. Unfortunately this films down fall is that the audience believe (speaking for myself here) that every thing said in this movie is a true representation of what the writers/directors think would actually happen if the White House were to be high-jacked. That was long winded but I hope it makes sense. It aggravated me a lot for example, when this happened
“If we remove the troops from the DMZ we’ll lose South Korea!” (Or words to that affect)
Response: “But if we don’t, they will kill the President!”
My response: “Whaaaa?! A whole country sacrificed for one replaceable man, get a f*cking grip people?!”
Getting past this part of the film was difficult BUT once you remember, it is just a film, and you should have known what you were letting yourself in for when you saw the stars and stripes on the front cover, Olympus Has Fallen gets pretty entertaining!
The fighting, hand to hand combat, explosives, guns, knives, machine weaponry, helicopters – it was all very impressive and pretty well done. The body count is CRAZY and Banning takes down half of them himself, the other half caught up in the frenzy. I was quite shocked to see so much blood but I think this is what made the film much better. More action, less American ego trip was the key here.
All in all an entertaining action film, with Gerard Butler really on form. But not something I would recommend for everyone, and I wont be buying the DVD. A little too Team America for my liking.