Yeah Yeah I know I’m late but better late than never, eh? First thing’s first OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN has one hell of a cast attached to it Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Angela Bassett, Morgan Freeman, Melissa Leo, Dylan McDermott, Robert Foster, Rick Yune and Ashley Judd for a start. Wow. Big damn cast. Antoine Fuqua took on directing duties on the most expensive film that independent studio Millenium Films has ever produced and they’ve delivered what they set out to make.. A Die Hard Movie in The White House. (The 1st of two, WHITE HOUSE DOWN hits us in September) If Bruce Willis had taken the lead and not Gerard Butler and called this DIE HARD 5 it would’ve been an even bigger hit that what it is – especially considering how awful A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD is.
When the White House is attacked, the President (Eckhart) and his cabinet are taken hostage by a rogue North Korean terrorist cell it’s up to Treasury Agent and former Secret Service super agent Mike Banning (Butler) to save the day. That about sums it up. From there its let’s brutally murder as many baddies as we can.
The body count is high here, as is the blood, this is one gory action flick. Lots of head shot splatters, slit throats, stabbings to the neck and face amidst the wall to wall gunfire and destruction. It’s an interesting cause of conflict for me that the main character who we’re supposed to be rooting for is such a sadistic and brutally efficient killer. Banning’s kill list features snapping necks, stabbing faces, head shots, slashing necks, stabbing bodies and torpedoing munitions.
These are more observations than complaints though. This is what you go along to a film like this – you wanna see one man, under fire, decimate everybody. And he does.
On the dialogue side it swings from ham fisted American flag waving to everybody emphatically saying FUCK a lot. There is so much blood drenched nationalism in OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN I actually cringed a few times. It’s expected in films like these but it is VERY, VERY blatant here. The most laughable offender here is Melissa Leo’s Secretary Of State Ruth who, whilst being dragged presumably to her death, begins to quote the Pledge Of Allegiance.
All the performances here are suitable with such an array of 2 dimensional characters, there’s the charismatic U.S. President, the tough as nails head of the Military, the ruthless big bad terrorist, the double crossing agent, the honourable Speaker of the house and the one man killing machine likeable hero. They are all here, none of them are particularly well developed and the whole thing hinges on whether you like Gerard Butler or not. It’s the one crippling thing about 80’s action films – it’s all about the hero and everyone else is secondary (except for the original DIE HARD film which spent time with all the players) – and OLYMPUS suffers from this injury. I just didn’t really care about anyone in this.
The action set pieces are all chaotic and well made given that this is an independent production. The digital effects are solid (some of the early scenes are a bit unpolished but nothing that detracts from the show) and the practical effects and set design are its shining star. The recreation of the White House is top notch.
If you’re up for an action injection of old that you could easily see Chuck Norris, Bruce Willis or Arnold Schwarzenegger doing way back when then OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN won’t disappoint you. If you’re looking for a movie with a brain – look elsewhere. This is switch off, kick back and let the bullets and knives fly…
OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN is in Cinemas now through ROADSHOW FILMS