Olympus Has Fallen - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Olympus Has Fallen Reviews

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½ September 3, 2017
A good movie. The cast was good and the plot was too generic. Good action and special effects.
August 29, 2017
An ensemble cast, bombastic and brutal action are what make Olympus Has Fallen a smart, pulse-pounding spectacle.
August 20, 2017
It's 2017, and our country is staring this threat down the barrel of the gun. Life imitates art!
Once again
August 19, 2017
GREG: (Greg Smith, Founder of Agile Writers of Richmond, VA) Today we saw Olympus Has Fallen starring Gerrard Butler and Morgan Freeman. It s an action/adventure movie from director Antoine Fuqua.

SCOTT: (Dr. Scott Allison, Professor of Psychology, University of Richmond) Going into this movie, I was really worried we would be seeing Movie Standards Have Fallen. But I was pleasantly surprised.

GREG: Olympus Has Fallen opens with Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) prepping the First Family and his men to leave Camp David. The President (Aaron Eckhart), his wife (Ashley Judd) are piled into cars and they all head out into a Christmas snow storm toward a fund-raiser. They don t get far when the President s car collides with a fallen branch and is precariously balanced on the edge of a bridge. The Secret Service agents all rush to the President s aid. The First Lady is trapped in the car and Banning barely extricates the President before the car makes a fatal fall into the icy depths below.

SCOTT: We then fast-forward to 18-months later. Banning hasn t recovered from the knowledge that he couldn t save the First Lady and has been demoted to a lesser security position elsewhere in Washington. One day a North Korean terrorist group storms the White House by air and on the ground. The President and several members of the cabinet are taken hostage in a bunker below ground. Responding to the attack, Banning finds himself alone in the White House, the only person in any position to save the President and prevent nuclear catastrophe.

GREG: Scott, this movie really had the potential to tank early and fast. But in a lot of ways it was like watching the original Die Hard movie, but with higher stakes and bigger and bolder special effects. Banning is the only man on the scene and has to save the day while dealing with incompetent and unsympathetic highers-up. And it also reminds me, in some ways, of Kevin Costner s Secret Agent character from The Bodyguard who had to overcome nearly losing the President (Reagan in this case) to an assailant.

SCOTT: So combining those two older movies we now have Die Guard. It s a winning formula. Part of its great appeal lies in our strong need to see heroes redeem themselves. The film does a wonderful job portraying Banning as highly competent and also quite caring, as he shares a close personal bond with the President and even befriends the President s son Connor. And so when the First Lady dies, through no fault of Banning, we find ourselves rooting for Banning to mend his relationship with the President and regain his former stature.

GREG: I agree. Banning kicks ass and doesn t bother to take names. He knows the White House inside and out and quickly determines the terrorist s intent. Interestingly, the terrorists come from North Korea this time, not the Middle East. Which was a bit of a refreshing change, and quite topical as well. If you like action, this new action hero won t disappoint. But there s not a lot of plot here, and quite a few plot holes. For example, a propeller-driven C-130 takes out two F-15 fighter jets. But if you can overlook these flaws, you ll have a nice roller-coaster ride.

SCOTT: Greg, let s examine the Banning character. I ve pointed out the redemption theme, which I like. But let s go deeper. In my view, the Banning character suffers from the flaw of being too strong of a hero. What do I mean by that? For starters, he s indestructible. No amount of serious injury slows him down. Could we at least see a limp? Second, there is no character who serves as his mentor to help him on his journey. Third, because he s such a perfect specimen of a hero, even from the start, we don t see much character transformation.

GREG: You re right, Scott. This is what we in the writing world call a Mary Sue. He s just so perfect that nothing bad happens to him. The writers are afraid to give him a vulnerability that the villain can exploit. All his problems seem to dissolve at the end of each scene so there s nothing making his job difficult. Compare to John McClane from Die Hard who has to walk around on feet filled with glass. Also, McClane had the character flaw of being a cowboy, sort of a loner and wise guy. This weakness almost got him killed a couple of times in that movie. While we re talking about weak characterizations, the villain Kang (Rick Yune) really doesn t have much villainy to do but beat up on the President s cabinet, forcing secret codes from them. As we ve said so many times before, a great hero needs a great villain. But we don t see that here.

SCOTT: Good point. There aren t many layers to this villain. I was craving for at least one maniacal laugh, or identifying mannerism, other than his North Koreanism. Too bland. The movie also had the usual cast of predictable stock characters. How many more times will Morgan Freeman play either God or the President? Does every army general have to be so stupid and pig-headed? One nice surprise was the character of Ruth McMillan (Melissa Leo), who played the Secretary of Defense. Her courage, and ability to take a good punch, were admirable.

GREG: I m glad you mentioned her. So often women are played as hysterical non-characters. I think you can sum up her core belief by her wish that her epitaph read she didn t give up without a fight. Olympus Has Fallen is a good action-adventure with a somewhat flat hero character. I was entertained for a couple hours, but I won t be rushing to see it again. So I ll give it a solid 3 out of 5 Reels. Banning is a classic action hero, rugged and loyal. But I really can t say that there was anything that stood out about him that made me want to *be* Mike Banning. So I give him a mere 2 out of 5 Heroes. Movie: Hero:

SCOTT: I think you re being a little hard on Mr. Banning. He s a pretty good hero trapped in an impoverished screenplay. I love the line in the film that best describes him: He s going to do the right thing and he s the kind of guy who will move mountains to do it. His methods are sometimes over-the-top and he s a bit too perfect. But the strong theme of redemption shines through, and were left feeling very satisfied seeing him and the Prez become best buds again at the end. I give him 3 out of 5 Heroes. The film itself, as you say, is pretty good and thus earns 3 out of 5 Reels. To get to four Reels, it needed a stronger villain and a less predictable supporting cast. And I ll be curious if there will be a sequel. At this time I m not certain it s quite deserving of one. Movie: Hero:
Super Reviewer
August 14, 2017
You gotta appreciate how incredibly violent and ruthless this is when it comes to the attack on the White House. The film, much like its villains AND protagonist, doesn't take prisoners. After the big attack things turn somewhat generic, though. There is a bit of a surprise here or there and the film remains entertaining but also relies on incredibly incompetent leaders. So it takes quite some suspension of disbelief to enjoy it, but the directing is pretty decent.
July 22, 2017
Shoot 'em up pow, bang, wow. Noisy and boring. The only thing going for this movie is the realty of how inept our gov't has become.
½ July 11, 2017
This is pretty much Die Hard at the White House...and I really liked it for what it was. It doesn't always flow well, but it is certainly a throw back to the older type of action movie. It is worth watching if you are an action fan.
Super Reviewer
½ June 20, 2017
Out of the wealth of "Die Hard in an (X)" movies that are on offer, "Die Hard in the White House" is an.... okay one. The story is old hat and the CGI is awful, but the sequence of the initial attack on the White House isn't just good, it's great.
June 9, 2017
I enjoyed this as a high school student, but I have a few issues with it.
½ May 27, 2017
The premise may be just a little far-fetched, but led by a strong performance by Gerard Butler, Olympus Has Fallen is a fun, intense, and satisfying action movie with R-rated violence to spare. The editing and fight choreography are both well done, and while the film as a whole isn't perfect, it's more than enough to entertain most viewers.
½ May 3, 2017
'Olympus Has Fallen' tries hard to invoke the patriotic memories of Big Bang 80s action films and has plenty of good and gory gunplay sequences but falls flat as it crawls to its mediocre conclusion.
½ March 9, 2017
A very good plot about taking over the White House. Alot of action. It is kind of a dark action movie. It is a really great movie to be honest
½ March 4, 2017
The plot and character development is average due to relying often on cliches to make up for those 2 film components, but the film's extremely angry and violent tone and killing scenes are epic. Overall, it's an amazing, superior bloody fight-to-the-death video, but only a slightly better than average cinematic experience.
½ March 4, 2017
Allora, tutti gli elementi per un film action divertente ci sono, però quello che mi ha dato un po' fastidio sono state le eccessive semplificazioni.
Le modalità con le quali viene presa la casa bianca sono troppo inverosimili per i miei gusti e preferisco di gran lunga un approccio alla " White House Down" se vogliamo avere un riferimento similare.

Se si è consci di questo, lo si può anche guardare senza subire troppi traumi.
½ March 4, 2017
Allora, tutti gli elementi per un film action divertente ci sono, però quello che mi ha dato un po' fastidio sono state le eccessive semplificazioni.
Le modalità con le quali viene presa la casa bianca sono troppo inverosimili per i miei gusti e preferisco di gran lunga un approccio alla " White House Down" se vogliamo avere un riferimento similare.

Se si è consci di questo, lo si può anche guardare senza subire troppi traumi.
½ February 28, 2017
Can't remember was this supposed to be the good 'White House gets blown up movie' or not? If it is, well it's not very good sorry. If you've seen '24' and I mean '24' long after it had given up any pretence about being a serious drama well then you've seen this movie. I'm sorry give me Jack Bauer over Gerard Butler any day of the week. Mindless popcorn stuff, if that's what you're after (and when you're feeling poorly I kind of was) this will probably just about do.
½ February 15, 2017
As a pure action movie it isn't too bad. This could've been Die Hard in the White House, just add Bruce Willis and more jokes. My problem with the movie is that when you see movies like 13 Hours and American Sniper you see how silly a movie like this is and unreal. The fact is the plane that attacked the White House would never get that close in a post 9/11 world. Overall a good action movie, but just didn't buy how the terrorists took over the White House and how the nuclear codes are controlled. I did like that they killed off Ashley Judd after just 5 minutes. That earned a half star. LOL
½ February 10, 2017
The acting is pretty good but the overall story is badly written and unrealistic even for an action movie.
February 3, 2017
Decent action, horrible VFX, illogical.
February 2, 2017
I don't really understand where the poor critic consensus comes from. As far as I'm concerned, this movie deserves a spot next to Die Hard and Air Force One for some of the best close quarters high tension suspense. Yeah there are a few problems like some weak CGI, or a few odd tactical choices, but otherwise I think the movie more than makes up for those faults in the great suspense and action, and a scenario that actually feels believable. While White House Down did a great job at recreating the White House in their sets, they sacrificed realism in the script. That's certainly okay as that movie was more of a comedy anyway, but it's nice to see a movie that feels realistic in this type of situation, and when it counted, Olympus Has Fallen still had quite impressive set design, especially in the exterior scenes, but also in some of the more prominent interior scenes such as the Entrance Hall and Residence.

Personal Grade: S
Technical Score: 73%
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