Review: Olympus Has Fallen

Posted March 23rd, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Olympus Has Fallen is the first of two films this year that has a plot centered on the White House being assaulted. Purely set up as an all-out action film it succeeds by setting a chaotic and dire stage and never letting off the gas. It’s more Die Hard than A Good Day to Die Hard was.

Gerard Butler stars as a former Secret Service agent who finds himself in the midst of the takeover and as the only person in a position to put an end to it. A rogue North Korean faction takes control of the White House and with it the President hostage putting the group’s leader in a position of leverage to make demands that would allow North Korea to invade South Korea and ultimately bring down the United States by another means.

While the CGI shows flaws in certain instances it was still believable enough. The scope of the set pieces was more notable. What really established Olympus as more than just a bland action movie was the intensity of the scenes and the gravity of the events taking place that was reflected through them.

The takeover sequence was not just visually powerful but creatively planned out. There were many moving parts to it which made it seem at least semi-plausible. The close-combat scenes were visceral with some brutal kills. While its no The Raid: Redemption┬áin that sense it was a much harder “R” than anticipated.

Aaron Eckhart plays the President and if he comes across as a tad weak it’s probably because of movies like Air Force One where the POTUS refuses to give an inch and fights back no matter the circumstances. Eckhart’s performance considers the personal loss he has gone through and seeing others face death right in front of him – leaving the fighting to those who are trained for it. Morgan Freeman is the Speaker of the House and assumes the role as President during the situation. He’s pretty much what one would expect from Freeman in such a leadership role, though refreshingly he didn’t have all the answers either.

Olympus Has Fallen is an action film that feels as though it could have belonged in the 80’s or 90’s. It’s a non-stop adrenaline ride that racks up a high body count within a high concept plot and it works to a surprising extent.

Rating: ★★★★☆