Olympus Has Fallen

Director: Antoine Fuqua (2013)
Starring: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Dylan McDermott
Find it: IMDB

Politicians don't have an easy time of it, when they're played by Aaron Eckhart. As District Attorney Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight, Eckhart was emotionally and physically scarred in half by his experiences at the hands of the Joker and Batman, before being lobbed off've the side of a building, wasting a good character and a great actor. In Olympus Has Fallen, Eckhart plays the President of the United States, widower, hostage to Korean terrorists and victim of a crazed stalker.

That said, a good stalker has his uses. In this case, ex-bodyguard Mike Banning proves to be quite useful, taking it upon himself to break into the White House and rescue Mr. President where everyone else has failed. It's Die Hard in the White House, although Olympus Has Fallen would have been vastly improved by a protagonist who wasn't such an Olympic level Presidential arse-kisser as Banning. His rush to get to the White House when he discovers it's under attack reeks of desperation rather than heroism. Have a little dignity, dude. Rather that, though, than the early scenes in which we see him act as best pal (and boxing coach) to the Prez, fashion advisor to the First Lady and nanny to their son. It's a little tragic, really. If it weren't for the terrorists, Olympus Has Fallen would be just a really sad version of One Hour Photo or The Cable Guy. The opening, by the way, has been nicked straight from Stallone and his Cliffhanger.

I'd heard good things about Olympus Has Fallen (admittedly, only from Butler himself on the Graham Norton show) but I can't fathom why. It's far too dark, nowhere near brutal enough (save, worryingly, for one attack on a female worker) and far too silly. We're expected to believe that no-one in the White House ever changes their passwords, and that the US army wouldn't have put a stop to the terrorists' shit before it had even started. I did laugh at the line "let's play a game of fuck off," though.

At least it's well acted, with Butler, Eckhart, McDermott and Morgan Freeman (if in doubt, put Morgan Freeman in charge) all turning in decent performances. It's just a shame that the action and story couldn't have been a little better. Derivative of Die Hard, Under Siege and Air Force One, it feels like a throwback to the good old fashioned action films of yesteryear, but without the sense of brutality or grit. Butler is a good action man, but this film is too slick, too dull to showcase his talents.

Olympus Has Fallen, alright - alseep, that is. Just like I did.

1 comment:

  1. Nice review Joel. Granted, it is entertaining to watch, but there's stuff like fake-looking CGI and shaky cam in some parts that get in the way. Still, it can be a very, very fun ride.