Olympus Has Fallen – 3/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

olympusOlympus Has Fallen – 3/5 – In watching films, you will start to have a good recognition of what makes a film great, good or bad.  Even with a slight standard category in my own mind, there are those things know as guilty pleasures.  These kinds of films tend to be so bad, or so ‘unrealistic’, that even for how terrible they are, it’s just so awesome to watch it.  This film particular falls in this kind of category.  It is a guilty pleasure film.  Granted, it isn’t really that terrible, but the film is more in line to being way ‘over-the-top’, that it makes the action just so good.  Overall, if you’re in the mood to not be captured ‘in depth’ by story or drama, and want popcorn entertainment, Olympus Has Fallen is the movie to start your weekend off.

Premise: When the White House (Secret Service Code: “Olympus”) is captured by a terrorist mastermind, he kidnaps everyone within, including the President (Aaron Eckhart).  Within these events, disgraced former Presidential guard Mike Banning (Gerald Butler) finds himself trapped within the building.  As our national security team scrambles to respond, they are forced to rely on Banning’s inside knowledge to help retake the White House, save the President and avert an even bigger global disaster

In the main role of Mike Banning, we have Gerald Butler.  Known for his roles in action films like 300 and Gamer, this is a movie where his particular acting skill sets shine.  He provides a man, who seems to be just another ‘secret service’ agent, which has more muscle behind his suit.  Throughout the film, you watch as he puts his skills to the test, taking out foes one by one.  Even though some of the one-liners are cliché and the shootouts are ‘over the top’, most of the ‘one on one’ fight scenes he is involved in is very raw, with the use of a lot of ground combat combine in some awesome but gruesome kills.  Through it, you are giving a raw perspective, even if it’s very familiar to the audience.  In the other prominent roles in the film, Aaron Eckhart plays the President, Morgan Freeman plays the Speaker of the House and in the villain role, we have Korean actor Rick Yun.  They do respectful jobs in their roles, with the small time they can talk, even for their ‘one liners’ in the film.  Even for the genuine feel you have for these characters, they are very common archetype that you find in these kinds of action films.  For the other supporting cast, they also fall into the same typical characters you see in these films (frantic citizens, hostages, aloof bad guys, arrogance generals, ignorant politicians).  Even for the commonalities of the characters, the film is still watchable.

The direction of the film is a very common action type, a repetitive shtick that I don’t need to go too much ‘in depth’.  It is as followed:

Major attack by (insert any kind of bad guy group) on a prominent institution or building

Unwarranted killings, hostages taken

Antagonist makes demands or (insert typical destruction ploy) to the country and/or world

Single man (unsung hero) left to save the day through glorified action

This is a generic treatment of story elements you can take away from any 80s or 90s action flick (Die Hard, True Lies, Lethal Weapon, etc.)  For this, you will have convenient setup for certain action scenes, gruesome killings, and the ultimate saving grace in the climax.  Even for these ploys, the homage to those action flicks of old is very real.  In doing this kind of angle, and recognize what kind of film it is, it does provide great elements in its own action set pieces, fighting, explosions and marked killings.  In ‘this is what we are’ kind of mentality in the direction, you are entertained.  One aspect of the film that is divergent from classic action setups is that it adds a twist to the ‘typical enemy’.  It introduces elements of ‘real-life’ threats, in an over-the-top fashion.  This is one of the great redeem qualities in the film, to go along with some really hard action scenes.

The cinematography is part good, and part terrible.  The good comes in the recreation of the US Capital.  When it comes to the backdrop of Washington DC, you felt horrified by the scenes created from the attack of the terrorist.  This makes it feel ‘at home’ and that you’re really in danger.  The bad is in the CGI.  From the blood, to the planes, all the way to the buildings crumbling, you realize the use of CGI.  They didn’t try to hide the facts of being computer generated, and it reflects what we call being filmed on a ‘shoe string’ budget.

Overall, Olympus Has Fallen is pleasant popcorn action flick.  There isn’t anything new with the story or action basics, but with some gruesome fight scene, enjoyable over the top actions and ‘real-life’ scenarios, you will be gripped.  I’d recommend this for any fans of action films, and looking for just pure popcorn entertainment.

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