Olympus Has Fallen (2013)
Critic Consensus: It's far from original, but Olympus Has Fallen benefits from Antoine Fuqua's tense direction and a strong performance from Gerard Butler -- which might just be enough for action junkies.
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as Mike Banning
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Critic Reviews for Olympus Has Fallen
[The movie] takes delight in its own unoriginality, dancing on the grave of every loud, dumb, preposterous action film of the past twenty years. Without earning any of it.
A lot of footage of Gerard Butler skulking around dark hallways and neutralizing terrorists.
To those who enjoy the Action Movie Fantasy, Olympus Has Fallen is one of the best examples in years.
Let's be upfront. Olympus Has Fallen is dumb, violent, overlong, jingoistic, racist, predictable, derivative, and whatever other adjectives those with no sense of B-grade fun wish to throw at it.
Audience Reviews for Olympus Has Fallen
Typical actioner in that there is one man, our hero, up against a terrorist army ... and the terrorists, arrogant and cruel, don't know what we know, that they don't have a chance. Be prepared for the classic/obligatory scene wherein a hundred bad guys shoot at our hero and everyone of them misses, but every shot the hero fires back not only finds a target but does so spectacularly. Why do they make these? Because it's a fantasy that has not found bottom yet. People still buy the dream. Quite literally a dramatization of the old parental warning: "don't make me get up and teach you a lesson cause the learning's gonna hurt you." There's an interesting segment wherein a woman is tortured as badly as a man would be - glass ceiling break, baby.
So errr...'Die Hard' in the White House? hmmm actually no. Take a bit of 'Die Hard', quite a bit of 'Air Force One' and stir in some 'Under Siege' and the result is this. Pretty much the best darn homage to late 80's early 90's action thrillers to come along for sometime. The last decent film I saw that managed to emulate the golden ear of action was Stallone's 'Rambo'. Put it this way, this is what I wanted to see from 'The Expendables', not the spoofy parody shit we got, this is real action gentlemen.
During talks with the South Korean PM the White House is attacked/stormed by North Korean guerrilla forces and virtually brought to its knees. Tonnes of people are killed, both civilian and uniformed, as the barrage hits, of course there is treachery in the ranks within the White House as the bad guys make themselves known. The only man left standing inside the Presidents home is Gerard 'Banning' Butler. Its now up to John McCla...err I mean Banning to get his revenge and kill everybody, (no vests involved).
Yep modern times, the Ruskies and Taliban are out, its now time for the Korean threat (China next). First impressions are good, fecking good! the initial siege on the White House/the grounds is easily the best action sequence I've seen for some time yes sir. Its fast, ultra violent, non stop breathless pulsating action, men (and women) are blown away on both sides all over the show, you want bullet holes in bodies, you got it.
This battle rages on for at least 15mins!! an Lockheed AC-130 flies overhead mowing down hundreds of innocents whilst taking down fighter jets, masses of guerrillas storm the White House front lawns armed to the teeth, RPG's, mini guns, snipers taking peoples heads off, suicide bombers oh my! its brutal stuff and I loved it!
Of course there are some issues that popped into my head as this all kicked off. As the Lockheed flies overhead splattering everyone, many of the secret service and police on the ground fire up at it with their hand guns, why? do you really think that's gonna do anything?! I'm also pretty sure no plane would get anywhere near the White House in reality, it would be taken down long before that I'm sure. I'm also surprised at how slow the response times are in this film, yes I know its an action film and meant to convey dramatic suspense through artistic license but really?. This is the White House we're talking about, wouldn't the place be swarming with special ops, military police/SWAT, secret service, police, regular military etc...from every nook n cranny??
It really does seem like it takes ages for the cavalry to arrive which I'm sure would be much quicker in reality, plus I'm also sure those at the location wouldn't get wiped out quite so easily (remember, its the White House, most secure location in world...right??). Yes again...I know its a film but geez! US personnel get some poor representation here! they're all pretty stupid and get blown away as if they were rookies, maybe I'm being too harsh on them?. Also must point out the huge flaws in intelligence to even let such a massive underground terrorist operation get by, and when I mean operation...I mean world war III in the Presidents front garden. But hey...its an action film, can't look into it too deeply.
After this powerhouse of an opening the film does maintain the course and keep you interested, not quite as good naturally but still solid. Its hard to think how the film can continue really seeing as everyone appears to have been killed straight away, good guys definitely. But there does seem to be a never ending stream of cannon fodder in terms of the bad guys.
Never the less this really is the perfect action flick, I can't stress enough how well this works and how much it made me recall certain thrillers of the 80's/90's. There are no stupid one liners, no visual gags, no cheese, no dull ass romances and the kiddie in danger element is dealt with quickly so as to get back into the violence...perfect. The whole film is quite dark throughout actually, lots of bullets to the head, vicious knife assaults, beatings, slayings and some really kickass fight sequences, mainly Butler vs Yune in the finale. But Butler shows us his special ops kill methods along the way. That's one difference between this modern era of action flicks and the old generation, the fights are much more stylised, realistic and focused on military tactics, back in the day they were merely scuffles in comparison.
End of the day this could easily be another chapter in John McClane's life for sure. Its a hodgepodge of various action flick ideas, some more so than others. Anyone notice the two 'Die Hard' sequences? when Banning runs into his colleague Forbes (Dylan McDermott) who does a 'Hans Gruber' act on him pretending to be a good guy. Then the sequence where the SEALs are brought in and get shot down...just like in 'DH' when the FBI are drafted in and get shot down, both sequences in choppers.
Shame they use too much CGI in this film too, unfortunately it looks like CGI and its a bit naff frankly, too obvious. You see, back in the day John McTiernan used real choppers for his shots, tisk tisk! But I guess they had to for some shots, but they didn't for others pfft!
Move over Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel, Jeremy Renner, Chris Hemsworth, Hugh Jackman errr...Robert Downey Jr, Gerard Butler has just reaffirmed his place as the new REAL action man for our era. Along with Jason Statham, Liam Neeson, Scott Adkins, Daniel Craig, Tom Hardy and Christian Bale the Brits firmly rule the waves in the Hollywood action genre right now no question (US born action stars seem to be a dying breed).
A true gritty adult action thriller with no beating around the bush, the likes I haven't seen for some time. Overly patriot and nothing original but lets be honest here what are you expecting? look at the plot, of course its gonna be gung-ho and knee deep in Stars n Stripes. Its a balls to the wall action flick and that's exactly what you get. I salute you Antoine Fuqua (does the White House really have rocket launchers surrounding it that come out of the ground?).
Mike Banning: Classified? Really? Well right now, I think I have the proverbial need to fuckin' know.
"When our flag falls our nation will rise."
Olympus Has Fallen was better than I expected, but also as bad as I expected. It's not a good movie. It's full of patriotic propaganda that filmmakers for some reason love to use. As a simple popcorn flick, it's pretty fun though and as much as I dislike saying it, I enjoyed the movie for the most part. It has great pace and great action, and in the end that's all movies like this need.
A secret service agent isn't able to save the presidents wife after a car crash and he is relieved of his duties and sent to a desk job. 18 months later, while the President meets with the prime minister of South Korea, North Korean terrorists overtake the White House and take the President and some other high ranking officials hostage in the White House bunker. Mike Banning, the aforementioned secret service agent makes his way to the White House and ends up being the only man left in there that is on the side of the United States. Now he has to fight his way through a shit load of terrorists in order to save the president and the country.
Gerrard Butler definitely makes this movie go down easier. He's a lot of fun to watch, as always. If only he could pick better films. Butler plays a John McClain like character in a movie that can pretty much be thrown into the sub genre of Die Hard ripoffs. Morgan Freeman plays the Speaker of the House, who has to take over as acting president while the real president and vice president are unable to. Aaron Eckart plays the president and does a reasonably good job.
As far as a recommendation goes, fans of violent, bloody actioneers will have quite a bit of fun. If you need something of more substance in the films you watch, you should probably look elsewhere. Overall though, this is a reasonably decent film that's a lot more fun that it probably should be.
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