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Olympus Has Fallen Review

By Tom Fugalli

Capital Offense


A recent North Korean homemade video of a missile attack on the U.S. capital, as well as Dennis Rodman's baffling dates with fresh young dictator Kim Jong-un, have inadvertently generated a lot of background buzz for Antoine Fuqua's "Olympus Has Fallen." Though many of its plot points are questionable, the movie unquestionably has good timing.

Former Presidential guard Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is sidelined to a Treasury Department desk job after his previous security position ends tragically. When the White House (code name: Olympus) is attacked by North Korean commandoes led by Kang (Rick June), Mike finds himself as the only hope for kidnapped President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) and a country held hostage.

Once our hero is inside the White House, the movie effectively becomes "Die Hard In D.C." but with less charismatic characters and a lazier script than that franchise (which, after "A Good Day to Die Hard", is really saying something). Mike's security codes unbelievably still work (over a year after he was reassigned!) which might help explain how the "world's most fortified building" could be breached in the first place.

North Korea is the new favorite enemy of an America weary of the War on Terror, but "Olympus Has Fallen" is not shy about evoking memories of 9/11, most explicitly in a shot of the Washington Monument collapsing in on itself like the Twin Towers. At times the movie's heavy-handed flag-waving risks turning patriotism into propaganda.

Perhaps the only thing Olympian about the movie is the cast, which is as star-studded as the zodiac. House Speaker Allan Trumbull, (Morgan Freeman) becomes the acting President, which is no problem for someone who has played the president before ("Deep Impact") or, for that matter, God ("Bruce Almighty"). Freeman's presence is only matched by that of Secret Service Director (Angela Bassett), and Secretary of Defense (Melissa Leo), who often stand out as the toughest characters in the room. Aaron Eckhart largely reprises his Harvey Dent character from "The Dark Knight". The intensity of Gerard Butler and Rick Yune is unfortunately diminished in their formulaic roles.

"Olympus Has Fallen" has as much firepower as star power, and is rated R due entirely to violence. In terms of explosions, gunfire, and high body counts, the average action movie fan will get plenty of bang for their buck from this otherwise average movie.

What did you think?

Movie title Olympus Has Fallen
Release year 2013
MPAA Rating R
Our rating
Summary This formulaic flick is too lazy to become anything more than a "Die Hard in D.C." knock-off.
View all articles by Tom Fugalli
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