Film review: Olympus has Fallen (5 out of 10)

There are some films that will get a good ‘home’ audience but very likely won’t travel too well.

Tuesday, 23rd April 2013, 9:50 am
Gerard Butler in Olympus has Fallen.
Gerard Butler in Olympus has Fallen.

This is a good example of a movie that US audiences may well lap up but which is possibly just too over the top for a British audience.

I say ‘possibly’ because although I didn’t enjoy the extreme patriotism, the cinema was quite full (although one or two people did walk out).

In a strange quirk of fate this will be the first of two films on a similar theme (White House Down comes out later in the year).

Hopefully that will be a little less over the top.

Olympus has Fallen has all the right ingredients, it’s just too obvious in its plot and doesn’t try to do anything different.

In fact, if you’d stuck Bruce Willis in Gerard Butler’s role you could have just called it Die Hard at the White House.

For such a patriotic movie it’s a bit strange that the all-conquering hero is Scottish (albeit sporting a pretty decent American accent).

Butler is Mike Banning, a Presidential guard who at the beginning of the film is unable to save the President’s wife following an accident.

Several months later he’s been moved to the Treasury on a desk job.

However, the White House is attacked by a North Korean paramilitary group who manage to capture the President.

Banning sprints over from the nearby Treasury building and ends up in the White House attempting to save the President, world peace and his marriage.

It’s very violent and director Antoine Fuqua attempts to make the numerous deaths as realistic as possible.

But all the special effects on the planet don’t really make up for being able to guess how the plot pans out.

Butler is OK in his role but has some pretty dumb dialogue. Aaron Eckhart is actually good as the President but spends much of his time snarling and shouting at his captors.

Morgan Freeman, a former on-screen President, is fine as Speaker Trumbull who is thrust into taking charge of life and death decisions.

In view of the recent sabre-rattling on the South/North Korean border and atrocities on home soil, American audiences may enjoy good old fashioned ‘good overcoming evil’, but for those of us looking for more depth in a movie this is just too shallow.

Film details: Olympus has Fallen (15) 120mins

Director: Antoine Fuqua

Starring: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman

Screening courtesy of Cineworld Crawley

Steve Payne