Film review: Olympus has fallen

I was excited by the trailer of the movie, Olympus Has Fallen and even more so when I discovered that it was directed by Antoine Fuqua who also directed Training Day. I was further buoyed when I received a text from a friend that read “Olympus Has Fallen is the best movie you will see for years”.

Now, I am not entirely sure what movies my friend believes I have watched in recent years but his claim is a ludicrous one. Undoubtedly, Olympus Has Fallen is a good action show with a solid performance from Gerard Butler but beyond that and the stereotypes there really isn’t that much substance.

Butler plays the role of Mike Banning, the President’s (Aaron Eckhart) bodyguard and close friend. However, it all turns sour when Banning must make a split second decision to save the President’s life which results in the President’s wife plungeing to her death. Banning is a troubled soul but when North Korean terrorists attack the White House, he seizes the opportunity to regain favour.

There is a hint of realism to the plot given that the nuclear threat from North Korea seems to be a legitimate one these days. However, we are asked to suspend our disbelief for a few moments as “Kang” the villain and his forces hatch an elaborate plan to take down the White House and hold the president of the United States hostage. President Obama must surely be re-evaluating security measures in the event of such an attack, as the response time for military aid is poor to say the very least!

Banning single-handedly throws down the gauntlet to the North Koreans and exacts a reign of terror on any man in his path. Guns, knives and martial arts, Banning has the lot and gives a master class on how to save America from nuclear destruction. Fuqua attempts to depict Banning as a cross between John McLane of Die Hard and the battle hardened Jack Bauer of 24. To his credit, Banning cuts that figure pretty well except for the satirical jibes which seem to force the laughs a little too much.

One of the film’s saving graces is the role of Morgan Freeman. When all seems lost in the Pentagon crisis room, Freeman steps up to the plate as acting President. He delivers the much needed soothing voice of reason that allows Banning to carry out his task. Olympus Has Fallen is a fairly enjoyable action movie; it will never be regarded as classic but it certainly is worth a watch. It delivers on thrills, drama and a pretty impressive cast so if that’s what you fancy, then take a visit to the cinema. Check out the trailer.

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