Olympus Has Fallen

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Former Special Forces U.S. Army Ranger Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is the lead Secret Service agent assigned to head the Presidential Detail. He maintains a personal, friendly relationship with President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart), First Lady Margaret (Ashley Judd) and, especially, their son Connor (Finley Jacobsen). During a Christmas evening drive from Camp David to a campaign fundraiser, a tree branch falls and strikes the front of the president’s convoy, making the vehicles skid out of control on black ice on a bridge. The lead SUV crashes through the guard rail and falls into the icy river below, leaving the presidential limousine teetering on the edge of the bridge. Banning is able to save President Asher, but Margaret and two other agents die when their vehicle falls and crashes.

Eighteen months later, Banning works at the Treasury Department, within sight of the White House. He has been removed from the Presidential Detail because the sight of him triggers Asher’s memories of the night Margaret died. During a political meeting between Asher and South Korean Prime Minister Lee Tae-Woo (Keong Sim), Korean-led guerilla forces, under guise as local garbage services and a crowd of tourists, mount an air and ground assault. Aided inside the White House by treasonous members of Prime Minister Lee’s own detail, who include Dave Forbes (Dylan McDermott), an ex-US Secret Service agent turned private contractor and aerial cover fire from a US military gunship, the attack results in the eventual capture of the White House. Asher and several top officials are held hostage in the White House bunker, where Prime Minister Lee is killed. Before he is killed, Agent Roma (Cole Hauser) alerts the Director of the Secret Service Lynne Jacobs (Angela Bassett) that “Olympus has fallen”.

The attack has been masterminded by Kang Yeonsak (Rick Yune), a former North Korean terrorist who appears to be motivated by hope for a reunification of Korea. Kang seeks to use Asher’s hostage status as leverage to force U.S. officials to withdraw military forces from the Korean Peninsula, allowing the civil war to end. He also seeks to destroy all of America’s nuclear weapons in their respective silos spread across the country and turn the United States into an irradiated wasteland as revenge for the deaths of his parents when his mother was killed by an American landmine and his father was executed for crimes against North Korea. To accomplish this, he requires the access codes to Cerberus: a fail-safe device that self-detonates any U.S. nuclear missiles during an abort, which are held by three top government officials within the bunker, including the president. Asher orders the other two officials to reveal their codes to save their lives, certain that he will not give up his code.

During the assault by Kang’s forces on the front lawn, Banning joins the White House’s defenders. He falls back into the building, disables the internal surveillance and gains access to Asher’s satellite phone, which he uses to maintain contact with Jacobs and Allan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman), the Speaker of the House who is now the Acting President. Authorized to proceed, Banning’s first act is to save Connor, who Kang plans to use to force Asher to reveal his Cerberus code. Despite resistance, Banning finds Connor hiding in the hidden tunnels behind the Lincoln bedroom walls, thanks to the training Banning had given him before, and sneaks him out of the White House before beginning reconnaissance and reducing the terrorists’ numbers one by one. This includes Forbes, but not before Banning convinces Forbes to report to Kang that he killed Banning. Meanwhile, Army Chief of Staff General Edward Clegg (Robert Forster) convinces Trumbull to order an aerial SEAL assault on the White House in an attempt to enter through the roof and shut down Cerberus, but Kang’s team deploys an advanced anti-aircraft remote gun system called the Hydra 6, mounted and assembled directly under the White House rooftop. Discovering this, Banning advises Trumbull and Clegg to abort the mission, but it proceeds and Kang’s henchwoman Lim (Malana Lea), by computer command, annihilates the assault force before Banning can stop it. Kang retaliates for the attempted infiltration by killing Vice President Charlie Rodriguez (Phil Austin).

After Banning disables Kang’s communications, Kang tries to execute Secretary of Defense Ruth McMillan (Melissa Leo) outside the White House in front of the media, but Banning’s intervention allows her to escape and he takes out several more of Kang’s men in the process. With Kang’s forces dwindling, he fakes his own death as well as Asher’s by sacrificing several of his men and the remaining hostages. Kang, Asher and the few remaining terrorists stay in the bunker, unknown to the outside world. Kang eventually cracks Asher’s code and activate Cerberus as Banning realizes that his suicide was staged. As Kang attempts to escape with Asher, Banning kills the remaining terrorists and kills Kang by stabbing him in the head with a knife after overpowering him in hand to hand combat. Banning disables Cerberus with the assistance of Trumbull with only seconds to spare and he assists Asher as the two walk out of the White House at the light of day. Sometime after the events, Washington begins to heal from the terrorist attack and Banning once again becomes head of the Presidential Detail with Banning, Jacobs and Connor observing President Asher as he addresses the public.

REVIEW:

This year just hasn’t been the best for the White House, as two films have been released dealing with the terrorists plotting to destroy it and get to the president. Olympus Has Fallen seems to be the better of the two according to reviews, but audiences weren’t crazy about either. Should you take the time to watch?

What is this about?

Director Antoine Fuqua’s action thriller stars Gerard Butler as a disgraced Secret Service agent who must come to the rescue when Korean terrorists descend on the White House and take the president hostage.

What did I like?

Action. This is another throwback action flick, but I think it may do it better than some of the films recently that have been tying to recreate the winning formula from that era. Mixing great fight scenes, gunplay, some nice banter, and a few bloody kills put the icing on the cake. If you’ve been looking for a film that will get the adrenaline pumping from start to finish, then this may be what you’re looking for.

Back. Man, how long has it been since we last saw Gerard Butler kicking ass and taking names? I can’t recall exactly, but Gamer comes t mind. Everything else since then has been romantic comedies or dramas that somehow get labeled as action, such as Machine Gun Preacher. Butler is one of those guys that has the charm and charisma to pull off romantic comedies with the right script, which he hadn’t gotten, but is a bonafide action star. For some reason, studios, is agent, or somebody doesn’t quite get that. Thank goodness someone got the memo and cast him in this. Hopefully, Butler will be kicking more ass in future films and not chasing after Katherine Heigl, Jennifer Aniston, or some other rom-com shrew.

Plot. Earlier this week, the country was commemorating the tragedy of 9/11. One of the networks even went so far as to replay their broadcast from that fateful day. I remember when that happened thinking that it was something out of a movie. Well, here is a terrorist movie plot that hopefully we will never see. That being said, save for the obvious Die Hard influence, this is a great screenplay that will leave the audience on the edge of their seat, but also in sheer awe and enjoyment.

What didn’t I like?

Tried and true.  This film feels a lot like Die Hard, as I just mentioned. In some ways, that is a good thing, but I couldn’t help but feel this was a sad attempt at a remake for a franchise that isn’t dead. No, this won’t be turning into a franchise, as far as I know, but the way it was written and the build up of Butler’s character does lead one to believe they could make it one. I’m still not comfortable with the way too familiar plot, but as they say, “it if ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Casting. With the likes of Morgan Freeman, Melissa Leo, Radha Mitchell, and Ashley Judd in the mix, one would imagine they’d be given a fair amount of the workload, but that isn’t the case, except for Freeman, obviously. I’m just not a fan of bringing in such major talent and having them just make funny faces and/or read a couple of lines and that’s it. These are the kind of things you can get for much cheaper from up and comers.

Accent. In case you didn’t know, Gerard Butler is Scottish. This means that he has an accent. As an actor, he has learned to cover it up, but most roles I’ve seen from him just let him keep it. I don’t really see why this was any different, but I guess they wanted an American protecting the president. Here is the problem, Butler goes in and out of his accent so much, you could almost think he’s some kind of Scottish terrorist infiltrating the White House! I’m not sure who to blame for this, Butler, or the director for not picking up on his accent switching.

Olympus Has Fallen was surprising action thriller that did not have that section that slows everything down to a near complete stop. I was thoroughly entertained by this film from beginning to end and was especially glad to see that Gerard Butler is back in action, where he belongs. Tis gets a very high recommendation from me, but be warned you squeamish people who can’t stand violence. People get shot, blood splatters, buildings blow up, and there are some gory wounds to be seen. Check this out!

4 3/4 out of 5 stars

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3 Responses to “Olympus Has Fallen”

  1. […] Jackson: Sea of Monsters 9. Oz the Great and Powerful 8. Gangster Squad 7. Man of Steel 6. Olympus Has Fallen 5. G.I. Joe: […]

  2. Mystery Man Says:

    Reblogged this on Mr Movie Fiend's Movie Blog.

  3. […] to take over/destroy 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. There is a debate about which film is better, this or Olympus has Fallen, which I will weigh in on a bit later, but first, let’s get on to the review, shall […]

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