By Gary Murray

Starring Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart and Morgan Freeman

Written by Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt

Directed by Antoine Fuqua

Running time 118 Min

MPAA Rating R

Selig Film Rating Cable


Olympus is the Secret Service Code for the White House.  Olympus has Fallen is a cooler way to say that the White House has been taken over.  It is the latest in the re-imaging of the 1980’s action flick. 

The story starts on a dark and stormy night at Camp David.  The President (Aaron Eckhart) and the First Lady (Ashley Judd) are off to a fund-raiser.  Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is part of the Secret Service, a serious man who has a special bond with the President’s young son Conner (Finley Jacobsen). 

On the drive late at night, there is an accident and the First Lady dies in transit.  We then flash-forward a few months and Banning is now working Treasury.  It seems that the President doesn’t want anyone around who reminds him of that night.  Banning still sees his former Secret Service members around town.

A delegation from South Korea is visiting the White House.  During the meet and greet, a transport plane begins to fly toward DC.  The jets scramble and are taken out almost instantly.  Then a giant group of Asians begin an assault of the Presidents home. 

The Secret Service takes the President and the Korean delegation down into the underground bunker.  Once the doors are sealed, it becomes obvious that the South Korean delegation has traitors in their ranks.  The bad guys are run by Kang (Rick Rune) a terrorist who wants the US out of the Demilitarized Zone between the two Koreas.  He wants launch codes that the President has.

Banning sees the attack and goes toward the White House.  He watches the melee of death and destruction but goes inside the building anyway.  Once inside, he soon finds that he is the only man left to save the President’s son who is somewhere in the building.  The forces of evil are also on the hunt for the kid.  Kang wants to use the boy as leverage to force the President’s hand.

Banning becomes a one-man killing machine as he first hunts down the boy and eventually finds a way to rescue the Commander in Chief.  Again, we have the lone hero going against the odds and showing off super-human resolve.

This film is a blood-bath on a Rambo scale.  Hundreds of bodies are blown to bits in every manner of fashion.  It is gruesome and not that entertaining.  It may just be me, but it feels like the high body count as a form of entertainment is no longer that interesting or exciting.  Killing for the sake of killing is just over-done and more and more than disturbing. 

As an action hero Gerard Butler does show some promise.  He’s rough and gruff but still has those moments of flippancy.  He seems to be channeling his own inner Arnold or Bruce while taking out the bad guys, with a quip here and there.  Think of his performance as Die Hard in the White House

The film is directed by Antoine Fuqua, the man behind the brilliant Training Day.  Here he is more of a hired-hand director and not a visionary artist.  There are so many trite moments in this movie.  It runs between jingoistic and anarchism, wrapping itself around the burning flag.  This film should irritate both the left and the right in equal measure.

Truly the smartest person in Olympus has Fallen is Ashley Judd as the First Lady.  She was cleaver enough to die within a few minutes of the film and not have to suffer being in the rest of this mess of a flick.  The movie is so much of a waste of time and talent.   Every time one sees Aaron Eckhart, the thought bubbles up “How did Two Face become the President?”

But, if you want to see The White House blow-up in a more precise way than in Independence Day, then Olympus has Fallen is your cup of Boston Harbor Tea.  I just found the entire film much ado about nothing. 




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