Saturday, May 04, 2013
Olympus Has Fallen Review
Redemption is an all too familiar theme of movies. In this movie, we join a secret service agent who has failed in the past with fatal consequences yet now finds himself in a position where he can redeem himself for his previous failings...oh, no wait. That's In the Line of Fire...and this is Olympus Has Fallen in which we join Mike Banning (played by Gerard Butler) a secret service agent who has failed in the past with fatal consequences yet now finds himself in a position where he can redeem himself for his previous failings. When terrorists take over the White House, it just so happens that Banning is the only person left who can possibly save the President...
On a side note; it has to be said that the White House is really not a great place to be this year if you're paying attention to Hollywood - not only does it take a severe beating here, but it will also come under similar attack when White House Down (starring Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx) launches later this year. It's like buses. You wait years for a movie about terrorists taking over the White House, and then two come along at once...
So, anyway, back to the review. Our protagonist, Mike Banning, used to work as the head of the President's security detail - that is, until a tragic road accident, in which the First Lady died, saw him demoted to a desk job working at the Treasury department (where he gazes longingly out of the window at the White House, sitting only yards away). But, when a terrorist attack rocks Washington DC, Mike finds himself on the scene and soon is the only man left inside the White House and the only man capable of saving the President (played by Aaron Eckhart) from a gang of highly armed and trained terrorists.
This is an out-and-out action movie that makes no pretence of being anything else; there is very little attempt to flesh out any of the characters involved and enjoying the movie does tend to rest on you not questioning some elements of the plot too hard. The method of the terrorist attack, and the utter ineffectiveness of pretty much everyone on the outside of the White House that subsequently follows, does stretch the bounds of plausibility a little, but this really isn't the movie to go and watch if you're expecting anything less than black and white morality and lots of violence.
It's predictable. And I don't say that necessarily as a criticism; after all, predictable can be fun. A roller coaster is predictable - we know what's going to happen; this turn, this dip, this loop; but we can still enjoy that wild, predictable, ride. So, if the conclusion of Olympus Has Fallen is never in doubt to anyone, is the ride at least a wild one?
Well, it has its moments. There's enough gunplay, martial arts and knife fighting to keep most people happy -although I did find some of the brutality felt a little out of place; not that I have anything against brutality in films as such, it's just that it's all about context. Some of the violence that was depicted, particularly to women, seemed rather callous - which, obviously, was the point that was being made about our villain but I felt it was rather a blunt means of demonstrating it and seemed slightly at odds with the tone of the rest of the movie.
Mike Banning is also no John Mclane; witty one liners are few and far between in this movie and I think it perhaps suffered a little for that. I find that humour serves as an excellent tool alongside action - to provide contrast against the darkness of the action, if you like. Having very little humour meant very little contrast, and so all the scenes sort of spilled up against each other haphazardly.
Olympus Has Fallen is not a bad movie. But I'd have a hard time telling you that it's a good movie. It's a very, very average movie - a composite of Hollywood clichés and tropes that are assembled professionally and then executed reasonably well. If you are looking for something to waste two hours on and are prepared to turn your brain off at the door, then this is reasonable entertainment. If you're looking for something filled with twists and turns, with revelations and intrigue, and characters that you can get invested in, then this isn't the movie for you.
Rating: 6.5 out of 10