Olympus Has Fallen

Olympus has Fallen

Full of explosions, machine gun fire and hand to hand combat, all in support of an absolutely preposterous scenario, “Olympus Has Fallen” offers us big dumb summer movie fun in the first days of Spring.

Mike Banning (Gerard Butler), a high-ranking Secret Service Agent, is taken off of the President’s protective detail when he fails to save the First Lady’s (Ashley Judd) life after a wintry car crash. He performed his duties properly and saved the President first, but the President (Aaron Eckhart) doesn’t want to constantly see him and be reminded of the tragedy on a daily basis, so he’s reassigned to Treasury.

Thankfully, Banning’s new station is still within walking distance of the White House, because mere months after the loss of the First Lady, the White House is stormed by a North Korean paramilitary group, and the President and his staff are taken hostage. The Secret Service guarding the White House is massacred in the assault, and Banning, who rushed over as the attack commenced, is the sole agent left alive.

The government regroups and names the Speaker of the House (Morgan Freeman) interim President. Advised by the head of the Secret Service (Angela Bassett) and a high-ranking General (Robert Forster), the new President negotiates for the old President’s life with the terrorist commander (Rick Yune). It isn’t long, however, before they realize that the terrorists may not actually want American forces to withdraw from the Korean Demilitarized Zone, as they’re saying, but that they’re after top-secret codes pertaining to America’s nuclear arsenal.

With the White House in the hands of armed terrorists, the President being held hostage, and the keys to America’s nukes in the balance, the provisional Government has only one hope: Mike Banning.

“Olympus Has Fallen” certainly doesn’t have much in the way of realism. The Korean takeover of the White House is ridiculously easy, and the American military response is ridiculously slow. When they bring the U.S. nuclear arsenal into play, the cheese begins to build.

Yet this isn’t a “split grade” scenario. With a cast that boasts Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Robert Forster, Aaron Eckhart and Dylan McDermott in support of Gerard Butler, “Olympus” isn’t lacking in star wattage. And the action that the movie delivers is fun, if not exactly top-notch. While the movie isn’t very plausible, it’s paced and plotted well enough to keep things moving, and to keep you from questioning anything for too long. Plus, the fact that it’s the White House being attacked, and the President that’s being held hostage, gives the movie a certain amount of weight it wouldn’t have had if the standoff was set in say… a shopping mall.

The result is a fun, if not wholly original, action movie that you won’t have to turn your brain off all the way in order to enjoy. Butler gets to kick a lot of ass, the White House gets trashed, and we get to see Morgan Freeman in his second term as movie president (“Deep Impact”). There’s a lot to enjoy, and it’s an easy recommendation for fans of shoot ’em ups.


Daniel Fogarty


54 thoughts on “Olympus Has Fallen

  1. Really glad to see someone else share my enthusiasm. I posted my review a few hours ago and notice that we share some of the same thoughts. This thing is a lot of fun. I love the fact that it unashamedly sets out to be a specific kind of movie and never deviates from that. It was an almost nostalgic old-school action romp that was 20X better than the latest Die Hard debacle.

    • I definitely was a better “Die Hard” movie than “A Good Day to Die Hard” there’s no doubt about it. Comparisons will be inevitable, there’s just too many similarities.

      Yeah, I liked it. It wasn’t trying to be anything grand, as you point out, just trying to serve up some good entertainment… and I think it succeeds!

    • LOL. Ha! Even though she was in it for like ten seconds. 😀 That’s funny.

      Definitely Butler’s best movie in quite some time. The difference is he’s not being asked to carry the load himself. 😀

  2. I’ve been thinking “rental” on this one. About right? Or should I swing by the second run theatre once it lands there? I imagine it’s not quite worth full-ticket prices.

    • Actually, that’s a pretty good term for it Al. It had that summer movie feel, to me. Not a lot of nuances in the plot or characters, but fun and entertaining nonetheless, you know?

      Plus, they shoot the White House up real good 😀 LOL

    • You know? I’m as surprised as you were. I’m well on record saying that this looked as if it were going to stink, but it didnt. It was definitely fun, Mike. Give it a chance when it hits home market or something 😉

  3. I dunno about not having to turn your brain off entirely, lol. This is one of those where the more thought you put into it, the more stupid you realize an already pretty stupid premise becomes. But it’s just as well, because this movie was fun enough that none of the stupidity of it all really drags things down too much. Nice review, Fogs! 🙂

  4. This film is the reason why we all love action flicks! It’s good to see Gerard Butler kicking ass and I hope he sticks to more action films in the future. Good review as always.

    • You need to watch “Machine Gun Preacher”. Gerard Butler’s best film IMO; such a great story. And Michael Shannon is great in it, as well.

      • It’s a series where I track down and watch movies that people say I should check out. I have a standard set of five questions I email to everyone who recommends a flick, and then I do a quick review after. Last one was “Strangers on a Train” if you want to see an example… still should be on the front page.

        Working on a backlog of a couple of months or so, but if you’d like to add it to the list, I’d be happy to check it out when its turn comes up!

      • Yeah I will do one. Whenever you get a chance. No rush. I don’t have a review for it or anything.

  5. This was my view of the trailer. It looks less than believable but it looked like the casting and quality of acting could pull it up into the realm of suspension of disbelief.

  6. Once again, what have they done to me. I would sit through this with my eyes peeled open, not for Gerry’s biceps, but for the earnestness of the gore. Kids movie – wah, splatterbloodsplatter – hells yeah. Think that about sums up my life 😦 Although I’m just awfully glad to see a non-superhero/fairytale/sci fi action movie for once. It’s like having a little taste of 24 again!!!

    • LOL. It is kind of 24-ish, for sure. There was some gore, I guess, too… they definitely earned their R rating (which I also appreciated) between the graphic kills and the F Bombs. 😀

      It IS nice to get a non superhero action movie, too. Let’s hope there’s more to follow!

  7. Great news! Stephanie Meyer’s new epic film/series “The Host” is coming out soon; looking forward to a “The Host” all-day marathon in 2019! lol.

    • Ohhhhhhhhhhghghghgck. God. There’s more than one of those? Is that a series? I thought it was just ONE book. Then again, how would I know… hang on.

      Oh for Christs sake, LOL. Per Wikipedia, Meyers is planning to make it a trilogy. 🙄 Anyways, no marathon, I’ll be catching those in the theatre as they come out… sorry to disappoint. LOL 😀

  8. WOW, you weren’t kidding Fogs! You did manage NOT to include Die Hard in your review, well done man! B+ sounds right, I actually don’t mind seeing this again with my hubby as he hasn’t seen it yet.

    • Yeah, but I probably wouldnt have if I hadnt seen you “say” that. LOL. It was harder than I thought it would be, I mean they’re SO similar! 😀

      Going back for a second helping, huh? Telling you, you and Gerry will be back together before you know it!

      • Ahah, well that’s cool that you took up my ‘challenge’ though even I couldn’t do it, ahah. It really was billed as Die Hard in the White House 😀

        He..he.. not so fast. We’ll see what his next project is, if it’s another vapid rom-com, we’re over for good!!

  9. I think one of the keys to this movie is its serious veneer. Fuqua doesn’t go for tongue-in-cheek here at all; he and his cast bear down and go straight-faced, and they stick with it outside of the occasional Butler one-liner. Sometimes you need to play it straight to highlight how silly something is, and in the case of Olympus Has Fallen, that’s essential to making this pile o’ tropes work. You can’t have that many shots with American flags blowing in the background and expect anybody to take your movie all that seriously.

    That and Butler, who I legitimately liked as a grim-but-wise-cracking action hero. When he’s on, the dude knows how kick butt like a champ. It’d just be nice to see him use his talents in that field more in films like this and stay away from sappy, terrible rom-coms.

    Missed opportunity: the films sets up the fact that the White House has had its windows wired with C4, and it never at any point has Butler eject a bad guy through one of them and into a splattery death. Boooooo!

    • You’re right, Fuqua plays it straight as an arrow here, and that does make it more enjoyable. You realize how silly it is, but at the same time, it’s taking itself stone cold seriously. 😀

      I didnt think it was bad, though. I mean there’s a lot of movies I enjoy because they’re laughably bad… I didnt think that was the case here, even though there were numerous instances of ludicrous events, and things you should rationally dismiss.

      You’re right about Butler, too. I hope he stays in this zone. Leave the Rom Coms to someone else, and get back to kicking ass! It did well at the theatre this weekend, so maybe that will encourage him!

      • Oh, I agree. It’s not bad at all. I mean, it’s goofy, cheesy, melodramatic, and dopey, but it knows it. Fuqua knows it, and I think that sort of self-awareness goes a long way toward making movies like this more palatable.

  10. Another “right-on” review. Just have to go into this movie with the right mind set in order to enjoy the unbelievable action. You are so right: Who cares how easily the take-over was,or how long it took our special forces to arrive.

  11. Finally caught up with it over the weekend. Very entertaining and it was a real throwback to those 90’s style action flicks. It plays it straight with the story and characters, and although some of the violence was a bit over the top it worked dramatically. Butler needs to stick to action oriented material, he just does not seem to be successful in rom-coms.

    • Exactly. He should stick to the actioners…

      I liked it. Like you said, it was a bit of a throwback. I liked that, though, of course. 😀 I had a good time with it, within reason… Glad to hear you did too Richard!

  12. Pingback: Olympus Has Fallen Review: Welcome Back, Mr. Butler | Rorschach Reviews

  13. Pingback: LAMBScores: Destruction in an All-Girls College | The Large Association of Movie Blogs

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