Ah it feels good to be back reviewing movies. Too long of a hiatus. Now I received an invite to go to a preview screening of the latest action-thriller Olympus Has Fallen which debuts next week in theaters. So look who’s here with the early review! So does Olympus rise or does it follow its title into the depths of movie oblivion?
I won’t lie when I say that I didn’t have high expectations for this movie. I mean the trailer doesn’t do anything any justice when it leaves you with just quick one-liners and explosions coming out of nowhere. Well to much of my dismay that was carried over into the final product but at the same time I was surprised with the full outcome.
Gerard Butler stars as Mike Banning, a Secret Service agent, who was taken off the force during a car crash that led to the First Lady’s death while Mike clung to the screaming President (played by Aaron Eckhart). So while Eckhart was angry with Butler for making him lose yet another woman in his life (Rachel anyone?) he takes Mike off of the force and puts him at a desk job in the Treasury. 18 months later and an attack on the White House that ends with the President’s capture gives Mike a redeeming moment to save the President and eliminate the North Korean terrorists who are threatening the American way.
Honestly I could live with the premise. The whole backstory of Mike saving the President but pissing him off because he let his wife die worked and I thought it was a nice background to why it was Mike who had to come and save him. But they left us with just the opening scene and nothing else.
I didn’t need too much of a reconciliation but just something that said “Hey you screwed up and I won’t forget that but I still appreciate what you do,” would of been nice and completed the story. Instead it was instantly fixed at the end and the story was pretty much trashed.
The violence also hit a catastrophic level. Now this is an R rated action/thriller but that didn’t give it a pass to go overboard on the gore. It felt a little over the top and would take away from the movie at times because of how unnecessary it would be. When you are spraying citizens from a helicopter and assassinating people close-up on the camera, you know you have gone too far.
That being said I found the action at times to be entertaining. Butler is a comparable action actor and fit the role well. He was entertaining when on screen and helped to add some comedy to an action/thriller that at times would dabble in taking itself too seriously (i.e. assassinating people in front of the camera).
Morgan Freeman did a fine job in his role and even Eckhart showed up well in his limited scenes. That being said, Dylan McDermott’s character was stupid and unnecessary. He didn’t bring anything to the plot and could of been left out.
Director Antoine Fuqua did a solid job at crafting a decent thriller that at times was very fun but fell flat also. It is a sure-fire matinee pick but not nearly worth full price. I would recommend it if you would of liked to see Independence Day rated R and with North Koreans. Which by the way, with tensions growing between us and the North Koreans, lets hope that they don’t check out this borderline offensive to them movie. It wouldn’t help at all.
But again, Olympus Has Fallen was a solid action flick that tried to have the political subtext of Die Hard but got bored and added more explosions. It is worth a Redbox or rental but don’t go and pay full price for this, go spend it on something more worth the cash.