Verdict: 3.5 / 5
Olympus Has Fallen spends roughly 10 minutes of its opening scene with an average attempt at drawing on viewers’ emotions. This is almost immediately squashed just a few seconds into the second phase of the movie with gunfire, jets and plenty of explosions. It’s been quite a while since Hollywood has released a movie in which major US monuments are blown up by terrorists. As much as one tries to stay clear of the fact, the reasoning behind the lack of such films is evident. Almost 12 years on is the world ready for such a film? Moreover, are US residents keen on watching terrorists take over the White House with plenty of carnage in the process?
Gerard Butler plays the role of Mike Banning, a demoted Secret Service agent who lost his job thanks to the actions in the opening scene. During the massacre that envelops on the White House, Banning has a chance to redeem himself as President Benjamin Asher, played by Aaron Eckhart, is taken hostage my North Korean terrorists in his own home.
Director, Antoine Fuqua (Training Day), focuses more on bringing mindless, fast-paced action and suspense to viewers rather than a completely plausible story and action sequences. In truth, one can easily ignore the thin story as the action continues pretty much after the opening scene right up until the last speech is given. It’s a movie with reference to defeating terrorists; there’s bound to be a few speeches and messages of patriotism throughout.
Similar to many Die Hard movies, Banning has to single-handedly go up against the North Korean assailants, who blitz their way through White House secret service agents along with a few jets and armoured vehicles without so much as breaking a sweat, but somehow manage to run thin on resources after securing the building. It’s hard to understand the age-rating for this film (16VL), as it is crawling with scenes of violence, a few headshots of which left the audience in shock and almost equal amounts of knives to the head; not to mention the abundance of F-bombs uttered throughout. Violence apart, the film also offers quite a few one-liners and quotes for the book, most of which can’t be repeated here.
A great deal of emphasis with movies from this genre is placed on finding a good balance between action and comic relief at the right moments. Erring too much on either side can destroy even the best of films. Olympus Has Fallen provides almost two hours of intense action, something that will truly appeal to fans of the genre, while witty comments are thrown in every so often to put audiences back at ease. There are times when the viewers will be pushed right back in their seats in anticipation of the next big move, which is almost always delivered. Be that as it may, if you’re looking for action, this is certainly where you’d find it. The film stumbles over the finish line, but, importantly, crosses the white line, and is definitely worth the watch.