Gerard Butler is in it- Check. There are explosions- Check. Is the hero a sarcastic little bastard- Check.
The above usually qualifies as part of my “Must See Movie” checklist. So, the second I saw Olympus Has Fallen’s trailer, I knew I had to see it. But, like most people, I was fairly skeptical about it, since it did look terrible and cheesy at the same time. I went to see it anyway, and I wasn’t disappointed.
The trailer gives all the plot details you need to know- a terrorist organization launches the biggest attack on Washington DC in history. They end up wiping out most of the area itself, some of the police/military force, as well as the entirety of the Secret Service. That leaves one man- Mike Banning, an ex-secret service agent who left after failing to save the first lady from a fatal car crash. As someone who cared strongly for the president and his son, he fights his way in to continue his job and save the President and his son, even if he dies trying.
The last half of the movie’s opening twenty minutes was perhaps the biggest thrill ride of the movie. Not because of all the violence or action in general, but because of the connection that all Americans have to it, because of that terror we faced on 9/11. The movie essentially forces you to flash back to watching your television, seeing the Twin Towers down, the destruction Pentagon , remains of United 93, and “We don’t negotiate with terrorists” (quoted several times in this movie’s storyline, no less). Because of that, you’re aware that (God forbid that it ever does) the attack that the movie has could happen, and that’s terrifying to anyone. My stomach was turning throughout that entire segment. With all that said- the special effects people took all that damage and increased it tenfold. The terrorists destroy D.C and its people to the point that the carnage rivals that of Independence Day– yeah, the one where the aliens blow up D.C- except there’s more blood and dead bodies scattered around in this case.
The rest of the movie takes less of an emotional toll, but keeps you on the edge of your seat just as much. It let you get into the action and suspense of Banning’s trek through the White House to the point where your jaw is down for most of the movie up until the ending.
The characters were likeable enough for your standard “Yeah, America!” movie. Banning (Gerard Butler) was a wise-cracking, sarcastic, doesn’t-take-any-crap kind of guy- someone you really wouldn’t want the President’s life in the hands of, but hey, it’s Hollywood, so why not? Even the President (Aaron Eckhart) and members of the cabinet were likeable enough with their “not going to cave in and give to Evil’s demands, even if it kills me” attitudes. As another little aside- it was really refreshing to see Gerard Butler back in an action role. They suit him more compared to the romantic comedies he’s been in, and it definitely shows in his performance.
Of course, as expected, there were some really bad spots. There were painfully cliché plot points here and there. The political stuff/foreign policy issues were inevitable with a storyline like this, but it still got too obnoxious for my liking a few times. Suspension of Disbelief has to be your best friend with this movie. Characters do stunts that they would never survive,and the lead terrorist has ninja skills at one point. Overall, they’re just your typical action movie tropes. Also, the ending is a bit too cheesy for my liking. I won’t give away too much, but… it earns a laugh or a scoff. Maybe even both.
Overall, I’d say go see this. Don’t go expecting a masterpiece, but it’s worth it for the entertainment value and the thrill ride. If I had to do a rating out of ten: a 7.5/10.