Action Movie Fanatix Review: Olympus Has Fallen

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The White House Under Siege.  A Nation Under Attack.

Starring: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Finley Jacobsen, Dylan McDermott, Rick Yune, Angela Bassett, Radha Mitchell, Cole Hauser, Ashley Judd

Director: Antoine Fuqua

2013  |  119 Minutes  |  Rated R

“You might wanna take a headcount.  The bodies are piling up.” – Mike Banning

I’m not sure if there was some copycatting going on with Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down coming out at basically the same time this year or if it is a case of

Mike Banning (Gerard Butler), a disgraced Secret Service agent, must come to the rescue when North Korean terrorists descend on the White House and take the president hostage.

The big complaint that most people had with Olympus Has Fallen was the at-times dodgy CGI.  They are completely justified in those complaints.  A Hollywood movie of this scale should never have distracting CGI in 2013.  I will say, though, for me, it never distracted enough to pull me out of the movie.

Right off the bat, the thing that really impressed me with Olympus Has Fallen is the way it played up the civilian casualties.  Many movies ignore or shy away from showing civilians dying in a huge attack like this.  Olympus Has Fallen definitely does not.

Along with the destruction of innocent human life the terrorists destroy some pretty powerful United States icons such as the American flag, the Washington Monument and, of course, the White House.  I don’t know if movies like this play as well in other countries but in the good ole US of A these are powerful images.

What many people, including those that didn’t like the CGI, have really been impressed with is Rick Yune’s performance.  Any action fan worth his or her own salt knows that every great action movie needs a great action movie villain.  Kang is exactly that.

I also liked that Kang’s attack on the White House felt like a fully fleshed out plan.  We know that real terrorists put a lot of thought and planning into their attacks, they don’t just strap a bomb on their chests and walk into the White House. Because of this pseudo-attack plan it gave the semi-ridiculous plot a real sense of realism.

Leading the charge against Kang and his goons is the always believable badass Gerard Butler.  He is true to his non-rom-com ass kicking form.  He’s been given a very John McLane / one man army type of character after every single other Secret Service agent around him is killed.

The action is intense from start to finish.  Some of the violence was downright shocking, even for this grizzled old action movie veteran.  And it’s all expertly performed and shot.  Beautiful!  I don’t know if the blood was CGI or if this was one of the few movies still using squibs but the blood effects looked really, really good.

I can’t even believe that anyone could not like this Olympus Has Fallen.  It’s an absolute recommend from me for every single action fan.  In a year full of action comebacks and super heroes, Olympus Has Fallen stands out as a something of a throwback to the glory days action movies.

2 thoughts on “Action Movie Fanatix Review: Olympus Has Fallen

  1. Totally agree. One of the best of 2013 for sure. Way better than W.H.D (i liked but it didn’t manage to top Olympus). As for the images that you asking how they play in other countries, well for my they worked the same way they work in U.S and i think it worked the same way for people around the world that are not blinded by some sort of “i hate America but i dont really know why, ideology” or are Stalin’s and eastern’s block orphans who still think that we are still in 1800.

    • I haven’t had a chance to check out WHD yet. I’ll get around to it but it isn’t necessarily at the top of my list.

      And appreciate the feedback about a lot of the symbolism. Good to know you aren’t all “I hate America but i don’t really know why, ideology” types outside the U.S.

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