Running Time: 119 mins
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Starring: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman
Genre: Action, Thriller
There’s a little known, un-researched genetic disposition called McLean Syndrome, it renders the host perpetually in the wrong place at the right time and greatly affects their trigger finger across multiple movies. Mike Banning is one such man.
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Banning (disgraced former Secret Service Agent) finds himself trapped inside the White House on the day of a large scale terrorist attack, the likes of which has never been seen before. As Banning attempts to piece together the clues to who is behind the coup and prevent President Asher (Eckhart) from becoming the first U.S. Commander in Chief to be assassinated in his own home it becomes evident that someone on the inside it playing for the other side.
Going into Olympus Has Fallen expectations were somewhere around the Live Free or Die Hard level. After all we’ve seen this movie before. Whether it’s Die Hard, Sudden Death (aka Die Hard on ice), Under Siege (Die Hard under water) or A Good Day to Die Hard (Die Hard having been lobotomised, pumped full of steroids and filled with shit) there’s only so many ways to kill a hostage. What I wasn’t suspecting, what came as the most enjoyable surprise since the first twenty minutes of Mad Max: Fury Road was the level of ferocity Fuqua (Training Day) hit the ground running with. So many first acts in these films carefully place and plot half thought-out ideas in an attempt to persuade the audience that it’s something “more” than what it actually is. OHF has no interest in that. Imagine watching a season of 24 but starting in at about episode 16, that’s where Fuqua drops the audience. You’re expected to sink or swim, and even if you can swim you’re likely to be shredded by a tsunami of bullets.
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If you’re going into this film expecting character development then perhaps you need to ask yourself do I understand what to expect from this genre? Butler paints an action hero in broad strokes. Perhaps it’s that we’ve been spoiled by the quality of TV acting over the last decade plus, or perhaps it’s that we’ve seen him do this before (Gamer, Law Abiding Citizen) but he carries the film without really coming out of second gear. I like Aaron Eckhart, I’ve liked him since Erin Brockovich. I was stoked when he got the role in The Dark Knight and even Battle: LA was a decent enough movie because of him. Here he’s the archetypal single father/widower. Most of his dialogue is thick with exposition and character bios but he does have moments in which he come across as Presidential.
There’s not a great deal more that can be said. It’s a very entertaining movie as long as you don’t expect too much or interrogate what you’re given. Big, loud, and brash but with more wallop in it than an angry colt.