Olympus Has Fallen (2013)
Writers: Creighton Rothenburger & Katrin Benedikt
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Viewed: Saturday May 11 2013 @ Event Cinemas Toombul
There are many different reasons we enjoy going to the cinema. Sometimes we feel like experiencing a film that makes us really think, to take stock of our own lives and how we live. Sometimes we want to be shocked, or scared out of our minds, hiding behind our hands but still unable to completely look away. Occasionally we even want to watch the utterly unbelievable circumstances that bring two insanely beautiful people together to fall in love. Then sometimes we just want to be able to sit back in a comfy chair, switch off our brain and enjoy a couple of hours of loud noises, lots of shooting and just general, dumb fun. If this last example happens to be the mood you find yourself in, then Olympus Has Fallen is for you.
Eighteen months after being removed from The President’s (Aaron Eckhart, The Dark Knight) Secret Service detail for failing to save the First Lady (Ashley Judd, Kiss the Girls, remember her?) from a snowy, Christmas car crash, Mike Banning is unhappy in his new job working at the Treasury. Luckily for him the White House is very soon taken over by the North Koreans and it’s up to Banning to save the day as he uses all his skills (and apparently still-operational-after-18-months access codes to handy information inside the White House) to kill off the terrorists one by one while communicating with the acting President (Morgan Freeman, Kiss the Girls, though sharing no screen time with his old co-star) and Bannings’ boss (Angela Bassett, pretty much just playing the same part she did in This Means War) on the outside. Its basically Die Hard if John McClane had been a highly trained Secret Service Agent…and his wife had been somebody important.
It sounds pretty stupid…and it is, but that doesn’t stop it from being a lot of fun. And violent! In most action movies these days the violence is so watered down to achieve that coveted American PG-13 rating and allow the target audience of teenage boys to attend that there isn’t much point in anyone else paying to see it. This isn’t the case here. I can safely say that Olympus Has Fallen boasts the highest on-screen body count that I have seen in a movie for a long time. Innocent bystanders are showered with bullets on the streets, knives are plunged in to skulls, bodies are blown in all directions by explosions and a woman has the shit beaten out of her. The thirteen minute scene (the bad guy is considerate enough to tell us how long it takes) of the ambush on the White House is an absolute bloodbath.
There is no denying that Olympus Has Fallen has its problems. I mean, it’s a movie about the White House being taken over by North Korean terrorists! You’d expect a plot hole or two. I did however take major issue with one moment towards the end of the movie. *SPOILER* As the terrorists prepare to escape the bunker and White House we see them placing sacks over the hostages heads, including the President. Moments later we see that this was all a rouse and the President hasn’t been taken anywhere! Which makes me ask: Why did they put the sack over his head, just to remove it again almost instantly? The other hostages are bagged so it’s not for their benefit. The other terrorists would see someone with a bag being kept behind and become suspicious, so it’s not to fool them in to thinking they are taking him. It’s for us. It’s a glaring, deliberate cheat to make us believe the President is with the other hostages, and it’s unforgivable.
With guns, fights, explosions, destruction, and witty one-liners. Olympus Has Fallen has everything we have come to love and expect from the action movie. Some of the acting isn’t great (Morgan Freeman in particular seems like he was only on set for a day or two to pick up his pay cheque), the motives of the bad guys aren’t very original (Nuclear meltdown! Yawn!) and you can’t help but wonder how dumb the Secret Service can be as all these guys pile out of the White House to be mowed down by bullets, but the good (perhaps doesn’t outweigh but) counter balances the bad. I particularly enjoyed the nice touch of having a segment of Hamish MacDonald from Ten News cut in to the Australian version of the movie. I’m assuming a similar thing was done with news personalities from other countries? For all these reasons I give Olympus Has Fallen 2 ½ Rant and Rave Points.
Please comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Show your support for Rant and Rave reviews and click the Follow button at the top of the page.