April 11, 2013 by Hope W.
Starring: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Melissa Leo, Angela Basset, Ashley Judd, Dylan McDermott, Rick Yune
Directed by: Antoine Fuqua
Release Date: 2013
Ah, love the start of the summer movie season. 🙂 Two of my most highly anticipated movies, Iron Man 3 and Star Trek Into Darkness, are coming out soon, which I was reminded of when sitting through the trailers before the screening of Olympus Has Fallen. Can’t wait!
Speaking of Olympus Has Fallen: I have been anticipating it ever since I found out that Aaron Eckhart is playing the President in it. (Huge fan, handsome guy, wish he acted in more movies that weren’t box-office failures.) And it lived up to its exciting promise, though I didn’t expect the extent of it to be like Die Hard, but set in the White House. The entire movie was a gripping, suspenseful ride ridden with bullets and bloody bodies.
I wasn’t fond of the violence, but I wholeheartedly supported Gerard Butler kicking ass. He plays a disgraced Secret Service agent formerly on the President’s detail who somehow ends up as the only free agent roaming around in the White House after it is attacked by terrorists. Naturally, he becomes a one-man avenger who sets things right, but not before tons of bruising, battering, and hostage crisis situations in the White House bunker involving cold and ruthless North Koreans, the raging but helpless President, and nuclear weapon self-destruct codes.
The cast is pretty stellar. Morgan Freeman plays the Speaker of the House who is called upon as Acting President since the actual man and substitute is trapped in the bunker. (And who better to be Acting President than “God” and “Nelson Mandala”?). Melissa Leo plays a tough-as-nails Secretary of Defense, who withstands brutal torture, but still (spoiler!!!) manages to make it out alive (with some timely intervention). And Ashley Judd makes an elegant five-minute cameo as the First Lady who dies in a tragic accident that explains why Gerard Butler wasn’t in the White House, and therefore could launch his attack from behind, so to speak.
He also launched his attacks in the dark. There were plenty of times when I couldn’t see what was going on clearly because there wasn’t much light. (Yes, “realism”, but a little more light would have been helpful.) Several cheesy lines requisite of this kind of movies also pop up: “I’m the best hope you’ve got”, “The United States of America doesn’t negotiate with terrorists”, “What are you planning to do with my son?!”, etc. But if you watch it for what it is — an action movie that entertains without need for dissection — then you will come out feeling that your two hours have been well spent.
It’s a strangely prescient movie too, the current world tensions as they are now. The filmmakers must have been shocked at how coincidental the timing is. It also exposes a gigantic hole in national security defenses. Things I’ve learnt from the movie: Shoot down all unidentified airplanes on sight, no questions asked; and B, *Never* invite foreign leaders into your secure bunker. Or trust former Secret Service agents who are visiting the White House with other countries’ diplomats.
At the end of the movie, my nerves and guts felt all twisted inside from all the thrills and excitement I have suffered in the past hour that it took me a while to stop feeling as though *I* was the one who had been under attack.