Review: Olympus Has Fallen (2013)
You know a teaser trailer has done its job well when people are eager to see the film right away after watching it. And most of the times, a trailer to an upcoming action flick does that to me. Back then last year, when ‘A Good Day to Die Hard’ trailer hit the Internet, I was totally blown away
(despite I was disappointed with the actual product, but that’s another story…). The thing is, an action film’s trailer is less obligated to tell about the movie premise and put its concern mostly on gunshots, explosions, and man fistfighting each other. And yes, I was fallen victim to Olympus Has Fallen trailer due to this reason.
The film told the story of Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) a Presidential Guard having such a dark past – which was clearly explained in the first ten minute of the movie – he was banned from ever again working for the President (Aaron Eckhart). Banning works at the Treasury Department, which was within the eyesight to the White House. Later on the White House was attacked by some Korean terrorist group led by former Bond villain Rick Yune playing the role of Kang Yeonsak, and the President was held captive in his own bunker 120 feet below the ground – and it was up to Banning to save his former boss and ultimately, save his country.
The premise was much interesting, albeit brought nothing new to the table. Remember how the original ‘Die Hard’ was such a blast back then? Basically this was done ALMOST in the same manner: the main protagonist infiltrates the bad guy’s turf in order to save someone important to him, and the main protagonist was so bad-ass he would actually stop at nothing, while the outside world had almost nothing to do except rooting for the good guy to do the dirty work and to prevail in the end. The henchmen will be thrown in for the audience’s entertainment; this will finally lead to the main protagonist having to confront the main villain at the finale, with his damsel in distress’ life hanging in the balance. Replace the Nakatomi Building in ‘Die Hard’ with the White House – or Olympus – this will generate large number of US audience coming to the theater, because they just can’t wait to see the White House got Michael Bay-ed.
Gerard Butler as the main protagonist and the die-hard (no pun intended) good guy was a brilliant move in the casting department. Butler is born to be Mike Banning. His physical stature and persona helps a lot but what truly plays an important part in transforming him into his character was his being this disgraced man who can’t move on from his past sin but having to deal with the situation he was abruptly put in. Not exactly Oscar material but it’s something we didn’t see in today’s action flick. Aaron Eckhart also did well, despite this clearly wasn’t his strongest suit. Oh, and I refused to give much comment on Morgan Freeman’s performance; let’s just say he did his best in such limited and forgettable role.
Director Antoine Fuqua wasn’t exactly a new kid on the block in directing an action thriller. Instead his filmography clearly suggests it’s his favorite area to work in. This was proven as Fuque managed to keep the audience at the edge of their seat with clear-cut action scenes involving shoot-and-hide gunfight between the bad guys and the good guys, showing how much of a veteran he is. Don’t expect the violence to be toned down – in fact Fuqua made the best use of the R-rating the film was given. Blood spattered, bones cracked, limbs stabbed at.. Action flick junkies will be going home getting higher than when they came. The background score also played a great role in creating the atmosphere of intense fight-or-die situation, which was quite successful in most parts.
The only thing making me cringe was the special effect. For the lack of better word, it sucks as hell. Despite of the fact that there wasn’t much computer-generated imagery (CGI) involved, but when it did, you can see that for a movie released in 2013, it’s so fake it’s laughable, not to mention that the particular scene with the CGI wasn’t really significant. I could name a lot of less-serious movie having a much better special effect than this one.
In short, Olympus Has Fallen will definitely satisfy general crowd, since it’s basically an action movie at its best. The minor side was the fact that it hardly offers anything new for hardcore movie fans. It will be clearly forgotten in years to come. In fact, you won’t miss much if you skip this one.