The Ninjabot

OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN review

Posted on March 21, 2013 at 6:00 am by David "Snackbar" Edmundson

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Olympus Has Fallen revolves around the unthinkable. What if a small group of highly trained terrorists were able to take control of The White House, “the most secure building on the planet“?  Director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) puts you on the edge of your seat from the very beginning, and refuses to let your pulse drop for 2 hours. Aaron Eckhart plays president Benjamin Asher, a likable president in his second term with strong ethics and family bonds. His head of Secret Service is Mike Banning played by the ass kicking Gerard Butler.  After an early tragedy Banning is removed from the president’s secret service detail, and accepts a desk job at the Treasury.  Fast forward 18 months, and a group of South Korean delegates are visiting the White House to discuss how best to handle the North Koreans.  This is where the stuff hits the fan.  BIG TIME!!!

OHF_08762.NEFI won’t spoil the spectacular attack on the White House, but I will warn those sensitive to real world depictions of violence, i.e. innocent civilians mowed down by rampaging terrorists, might be turned off by this scene.  It is hard to watch, but Fuqua pulls off some amazing action during these scenes.  Once the terrorists have the president and his staff locked under there control the film turns into Die Hard in the White House.  Mike Banning, arriving late to the party is the only person who makes it into the White House before it is locked down and booby trapped.  His tasks are clear; get the president’s son so he can’t be used to force the president to give into the terrorists demands, save the president, and kill every single person in the building.  This film follows the Die Hard formula to a tee, and that is not a knock in the least.  Gerard Butler is engaging as he banters with the terrorists, and picks them off one by one.  As a former secret serviceman he has intimate knowledge of the grounds, including all the secret passages not included on the official tour.  He’ll use all of them to sneak around and maintain the upper hand against a much larger force.

The supporting characters communicate with Banning to try and diffuse the situation.  Chief among them are Secret Service Director Lynn Jacobs played by Angela Basset and Speaker of the House/Acting President Allan Trumball played by Morgan Freeman.  They make the hard decisions behind the scenes, but serve mostly as back up for the one man wrecking crew that is Mike Banning.  The Terrorists are a faceless organization, with most of them wearing masks the entire film.  Rick Yune (Die Another Day) plays Kang the head terrorist and one evil baddie.  He infiltrates the South Korean delegate and has no qualm killing anyone if he thinks it will help him complete his mission or intimidate the acting President and his staff. His mission is to get codes that will destroy any nuclear missile launched from the US, basically pacifying us against any nuclear threat.  To achieve this he needs to get the three codes that protect them; from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Secretary of State, and President of the United States.

Olympus_Has_Fallen_13It’s the way in which the codes are presented that is my only complaint about the film.  I don’t want to ruin the resolution of the codes, but you get the impression that as long as the president can hold out there is no way that they will be able to get the codes.  We find out that may not be the case and it is kind of a let down in an otherwise great film.  The action never lets up, and it is great seeing the White House get retaken one room at a time.  Speaking of the White House, instead of shooting on a soundstage and relying on CGI to sell the picture, Fuqua and crew built a replica of the building in Louisiana… and then blew it to hell.  Immense care has been taken to recreate 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. and it shines through.

All in all, I cannot recommend this film highly enough.  If you love action, this is your film.  It starts early and doesn’t stop until the credits.  Some viewers will be turned off by the ultra violent and realistic attack on Washington D.C., but after that scene the film settles into a great action film.  The plot is easy to follow, and doesn’t try to be too complicated, with a slight let down on the way in which the nuclear codes are handled.

Snackbar’s grade : A-

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Snack-Size Review: Olympus Has Fallen is a non-stop thrill ride with amazing action. It keeps the intensity dialed to 11 the entire film. The film is what Die Hard would have been if John McClane knew every inch of the Nakatomi Plaza, and Gerard Butler is McClane on steroids. The film has a great flow, and director Antoine Fuqua keeps you on the edge of your seat. My only complaint is the Korean’s ultimate goal has a rushed/odd resolution, and some will be turned off by the hyper realistic attack on Washingtone D.C.

Have you seen it? Let us know what you thought of it in the comment section below.

You can follow Snackbar on Twitter @Snackie_Cakes

    • Erik

      Cannot wait to see this flick. Thanks to Gerard Butler being in it, my fiance will even see it. Double score, and since Butler does it for my wife, it might be triple score.:)

      • Marissa

        Gerard Butler is a very pretty man. Add this to what looks like a great action pic and its win win win win.

    • Kermit

      Thanks for the heads up. I'm turned off by realistic depictions of terrorism. The film looks great, but I'm not sure I want to see our capital destroyed and occupied. Meditate on this I must.

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