‘Olympus Has Fallen’ Movie Review – Burning Down the House
One of the jobs of the Secret Service is to imagine scenarios in which the President might be threatened, and with the release of the new film, Olympus Has Fallen, they have one more to add to their list. An all-out, highly coordinated, arial and ground attack on the most protected building in America kicks off the story of Mike Banning (Gerard Butler), a disgraced ex-Service member who takes it upon himself to save the President (Aaron Eckhart) when North Korean terrorists hold him hostage inside the crippled White House.
It can’t be argued that the movie bears the hallmarks of other action films, most noticeably Air Force One and Die Hard, but it does manage to distinguish itself, mostly because of the excellent performances from veteran actors such as Morgan Freeman (playing the Speaker of the House who has to temporarily lead the country), Angela Bassett as the leader of the Secret Service, and Rick Yune who might have already had his breakthrough, but will reach a much larger audience after giving us a truly terrifying villain.
The body count is high. That cannot be denied. For anyone with a sensitivity to violence, this may not be the film for you. Yet I wouldn’t describe this as a gory film, which might speak to how much I’ve been desensitized over the years. Still, some of the movie’s most disturbing images are when buildings such as the Washington Monument and the White House itself are attacked. It might be patriotism; it might be the after effect of having watched the towers fall on live TV. Either way, they are powerful scenes that actually had me shifting in my seat.
It’s hard to judge an action script when the bulk of the plot is built around fights and weapons and taking down the bad guys, but the story is solid. The villain has deadly conviction and it’s a testament to Yune that he could hold his own when compared to Alan Rickman’s iconic role in Die Hard. In fact, I would go so far as to say that Yune’s character is perhaps even more understandable as a villain than Rickman’s. He has a purpose and a plan, and while you will hate him, you might also leave the theatre wondering if there’s anything we, as Americans, can do in order to prevent a person like him from being created out in the real world.
If you are a fan of action films and if you still believe, even in our current state, that America can be beaten, but never broken, then you will no doubt enjoy this film.
Olympus Has Fallen opens nationwide on Friday, March 22nd.