Review – Olympus has Fallen

Olympus Has Fallen Poster

The first of two “The White House is being attacked by terrorists” movies coming out this year, Olympus has Fallen stars Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, and Morgan Freeman in an action movie so over the top and outrageous, you have to see it to not believe it.

Mike Banning (Butler) is a secret service agent very close to the President (Eckhart) and his family.  When a tragic accident happens on his watch, Banning finds himself relegated to a desk job, somewhere he can’t remind President Asher about the event that took place.  Luckily for the President, his son, and really the rest of America and the world, being on the outside of the action is the perfect place for Banning to be when things go south.  And boy do they go south.  With the leader of the country taken hostage, the White House in flames, and seemingly all of DC’s police force gunned down, this looks like a job for one man.

Fighting through hoards of terrorists as the only person with an ounce of intelligence and skill, Banning finds himself entrusted to rescue the First Kid, stop a nuclear war, and get home in time to take his wife out for their promised date.

First off, the action is pretty much first rate.  It’s gritty enough to avoid most of the cheese that often befalls such flicks, but over the top enough to satisfy the need for a testosterone soaked blockbuster.  If this movie had stayed content with being an Expendables type deal, we would have been okay.  Instead, we are treated to a movie that pleads to be taken seriously with complex plots and a 24-esque realism.  Incidentally, director Antoine Fuqua was attached to the 24 movie until recently.  The problem is, there is nothing real about Olympus has Fallen.  The most believable thing about it is Gerard Butler’s American accent.

In a movie that asks us to take it seriously, we are supposed to believe that there is one anti aircraft weapon at the White House that will fire one time before giving up?  That the entire US military wouldn’t be descended on the White House within a minute of a blatant attack on the building?  That trained secret service agents, police officers, and GI’s will just stand and let themselves get shot by a handful of terrorists on the White House lawn?  These are just a handful of “SMH” instances within the first few moments of action.  Let’s not even mention how the President negotiates with and orders sensitive information to be given to terrorists, how military officials ignore crucial intel, and really how everyone responds to everything, except for Gerard Butler.

Gerard Butler – he’s actually quite good here.  His American accent is much improved from the last time I heard him use it and the Scottish brogue only crept through once or twice.  Watching him reminded me of seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger in one of his old movies.  Quotable one liners, manly violence, applause-worthy kills of the bad guys.  He’s actually a lot of fun to watch and I wish the movie would have gone along with that flavor of fun instead of trying to be something that needs to, and can’t be, taken seriously.

I know, I know, it’s a movie, suspend your disbelief, yada yada.  This movie doesn’t just ask you to suspend disbelief – you need to hang it outside with your coat, with whatever logic you might have with you left in the coat’s pockets.  And then while you’re watching the movie, the logic is strewn about by a homeless person and ground into the dirt.  There is Hollywood fantasy and then there is this.  When a movie asks you to take it seriously, it needs to at least have some sense of plausibility.

I wanted to like this movie, but hitting myself in the forehead in disbelief proved to distracting for that to be a possibility.

Mrs. Hamster Says:

“Even though I felt the tension for the characters in this movie, I didn’t believe for one second that any of it could actually happen here.  It was exciting but incredibly unrealistic.”

My Rating – Two out of Five Hats

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Trailer:

Olympus has Fallen opens in 3,000 theaters, March 22