Olympus Has Fallen. (2013). Run Time: 120 mins. MPAA: R (for strong violence and language throughout). Starring: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, and Morgan Freeman. Written by Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt. Directed by Antoine Fuqua.
It’s been twelve years since the 9/11 attacks in New York, and it’s been that long since anyone has attempted to make a Hollywood action flick that involves anything regarding attacks near our nations capital. Twelve years is an absurd amount of time in my opinion, and some will argue that it is still too soon, but it’s 2013, and we now have the first of two movies that center around the same plotline, (White House Down comes in June.) And whether you think it’s too soon or not, it’s here, and let me tell you, it’s better than you might think. Much better actually.
Whether you think the film’s story about a group of North Koreans who destroy the White House (Codename: Olympus) and take the president hostage bothers you or not, the truth is this: if you like the original Die Hard, you are bound to like this movie. I personally love Die Hard and consider it not only one of the best action movies ever made, but one of the best movies period. Now this movie’s script, almost every minute of it, is taken straight from Die Hard, and that works to its advantage. This isn’t a movie to walk into and pull apart every detail. This is a movie to simply watch, and have fun doing so. I had an absolute blast with Olympus Has Fallen, and it is one of the most entertaining movies I’ve seen so far this year.
One of the most impressive aspects of this movie is without a doubt the cast. Aaron Eckhart, made famous in my book with his role of Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight (how he didn’t he nab an Oscar nom along with the deserved win Heath Ledger for that film we may never know), plays the captured president, and man what a performance. Now it isn’t Oscar caliber, but he surprised the heck out of me. I was watching this seemingly silly story unfold, and Eckhart, along with the other actors as well, sucked me in and actually made me care. Stepping into the president’s position while the hostage situation unfolds is the Speaker of the House, played by the always fantastic Morgan Freeman, and this also is the best I’ve seen him in a long time. But then again, it’s Morgan Freeman. If he ever gives a bad performance, or at least one that doesn’t entertain you, let me know. And how about that Gerard Butler? I missed you bud. I’ve always liked Gerard Butler a lot, but unfortunately he has recently tended to pick bad movies (The Bounty Hunter, Playing For Keeps, yikes!). Here he is in top form, and he gives his best performance in years, pumping continuous clever lines and becomes an extremely likeable character.
Antoine Fuqua directs Olympus Has Fallen, and he does a bang up job of it. The camerawork starts off a little shaky toward the opening, but as the film progresses and the events unfold it evens out and the camerawork becomes less of an annoying gimmick and more of an intense bonus to the film’s resonating effects. Fuqua, previously bringing us movies such as Training Day, Shooter, and Brooklyn’s Finest, was a perfect choice for this project, and the results are nothing short of entertaining.
FINAL VERDICT: Olympus Has Fallen, the first of two releases this year that revolve around the overtaking of the White House and kidnapping of the president, is the most entertaining action movie this year. Sure, the plot may be silly, but the stunning performances of Butler, Eckhart, and Freeman make the audience actually care. Whether you feel it is too soon or not, this terrorist attack focused movie is pure popcorn entertainment at its best. (B+)