Friday, August 2, 2013

Olympus Has Fallen

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Ted Nugent loves this movie...only because the President is white in it.

Olympus Has Fallen – 3 out of 5

Well, if I was President (I would run on a platform of making sure we have a national holiday to celebrate how awesome peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are), I think I would want Gerard Butler to come save my ass if some terrorists came and overran the White House. But I’m NOT President and Butler has asked me to stop calling him so that’s not going to happen anytime soon.

Butler, seen here wondering if he'll get to do a sequel to The Bounty Hunter.

 Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is a former Ranger and Secret Service agent who uncomfortably settles into a life behind a desk at the Treasury Department after being demoted when he failed to stop an accident while serving under the President (Aaron Eckhart). Without warning, a terrorist group led by a man named Kang (No, not the Marvel character or brain-alien from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles...besides, that's Krang, not Kang.) heads-up an assault on the White House and ends up taking the President hostage. Banning finds himself in the midst of it all and becomes the only man capable of saving the President and stopping Kang from enacting a plan that will result in mass devastation.

It didn't help that half the Secret Service on the ground were
yelling, "Pew Pew Pew" back at the plane.

Olympus Has Fallen didn’t completely wow me as a viewer but it didn’t act as a complete waste of time either. The movie isn’t perfect, it has some issues. The action is great, I liked the cast but the movie doesn’t have enough content to fill its two hour running length so it ends up dragging at points.

There's a dick joke in here somewhere...

I believe in Harvey Dent--I mean, vote for Eckhart!
 First off, there are performers in this movie that I will admit I’m a fan of. Aaron Eckhart as the President? He’s got my vote (and that's not a bad pun.  I mean I would literally vote for Eckhart if he ran for office). Sadly, Eckhart doesn’t shine the greatest as the President but does his job passably. Even Gerard Butler, who hasn’t been able to recapture the intense action-presence that he had in 300, felt a little underwhelming as the film’s hero…but that might have to do with his bad American accent. And then there's Morgan Freeman, who plays the Speaker of the House and the acting President while Eckhart is held hostage, he goes the opposite direction and felt like he was laying on the drama a little too thick…and that says a lot considering his role is spent in a isolated room the entire film. But if he could win an award for sitting in a chair looking forlorn, he would be a shoe-in!

It ain't easy being Morgan Freeman.

McDermott, looking like he showed up to set drunk.
That isn’t to say that any of these players are performing terribly, just not to what I’ve seen them in the past. Overall, I would say they were passable. The film has Dylan McDermott, who plays a member of the South Korean Prime Minster’s entourage in the film, and it feels like he’s covering his role in a thick layer of cheese but, still, he wasn’t unbearably bad. The real highlight in the cast for me, ultimately, was Rick Yune as Kang (not Krang...seriously, why did you think that? I thought you were a fan of TMNT). He really killed it as the cold and ruthless terrorist leader and really made for a great threat for the film—it’s just a little sad that Butler couldn’t match Yune’s performance on the good guy side.

Okay, despite the fact he looks like his girlfriend just said she's breaking up with him
in this pic, trust me, he was a great villain.

All this is moot, however, because the real reason to watch this movie is to see shit blow up. This movie doesn’t disappoint on the action front. In fact, the moment the assault on the White House starts, things get pretty damn awesome. There are enough explosions within this time frame that would make Michael Bay pass out from exhaustion due to furious masturbation. The action even gets pretty grim as they don’t shy away from the darkest of the dark as director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) did NOT refrain from violence towards women.

I would make fun of the face Butler is making but it's far more dignified than the
one I would make while holding and firing a gun.

Let’s face it, in movies it’s usually faceless dudes that take bullets to the skull during shoot outs and this movie actually showed a woman take a bullet to the brain. I’m not use to seeing such things, so that was a little bit surprising. This ended up making much of the action less about glorious fun as we see bright balls of flame and billowing clouds of smoke as the bullets fly and the bodies die, but more about the nasty and grisly nature of violence. It was clear that Fuqua wasn’t making a film that made violence look cool but a film that showed you violence can be just absolutely horrifying…seriously, a lot of people die in this movie and most of them are not the bad guys.

Like that old lady there...yeah, she's not going to make it.

I dig action movies but I really dug the way Fuqua treated the violence in this film—even if it sometimes came with times where the special effects were questionable. However, the movie, despite how the trailer and poster looked, isn’t a boom-boom, shoot ‘em up orgy. There’s actually some story going on…sadly, there wasn’t enough content in the story to fill the two hour running length so there are plenty of moments (mostly towards the end) where the movie starts to drag and I found myself saying, “Let’s just get to the final fight between Banning and Kang.”

This is what Michael Bay sees every time he closes his eyes.

Olympus Has Fallen has plenty of issues but they weren’t overpowering enough to keep me from getting some entertainment from the film. Even thought the performances aren’t the best, I still liked the cast. Even though the film’s protagonist is flat, the antagonist is great. And even though some of the special effects look ridiculous, the action is wild…albeit, often horrifying. Is this a movie I will watch again? Probably not. Was this movie a Die Hard set in the White House? Absolutely not. But there’s some good going on and it was enough to justify the money spent to see it at the budget cinema…but don’t tell the theater I snuck in for this one.


  1. I have watched a lot of Butler films, and critics always seem to concentrate on his accent! I never have a problem with it! Perhaps when one listens with intent, and not just the free flowing behavior, one hears something the average movie goer does not. I have never read or heard complaints from the audience about his accents. There are so many American accents, after all...Poor Butler, his Scottish fans complain that he is starting to sound like a yank in his ordinary speech!

    He did a great job showing a tough ex ranger, seal type guy, so I disagree with you there. The scene where he puts a knife in the flesh of the two men while questioning them shows some of that necessary brutality. I liked him, and Rick Yune. The plot, after Butler gets into the white house is ok, up to the moment of the silly thing about the coded pass words to set off destruction. Could have left that entire segment out. Would like to see a Mike Banning sequel. Women love Butler (his two rom coms, UGly Truth and that horrid thing with Anniston were terrible deviations)in action. Young women adore him in PS I Love you, which most male critics hate. He has women scream that phrase at him around the world. Loved him in the Phantom. DiCaprio is boring...Ryan Gosling has eyes that are too close together. More Butler!

  2. Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
    thank you :)


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