Fallen from Grace – A review of Olympus Has Fallen
Summary: A taut action thriller with strong acting, compelling characters and far too much profanity.
I really hope that Washington, DC is not as potentially vulnerable to attack as it plays out in Olympus Has Fallen. Otherwise, some tyrannical powers-that-be in other parts of the globe may get ideas.
Korea is evidently becoming the new Soviet Union in modern action movies. They were the bad guys in Red Dawn and now they’re back to menace the President of the United States here.
A visiting delegation from South Korea arrives at the White House and unknowingly allows the enemy inside. The President (Aaron Eckhart) and members of his cabinet are taken hostage and their lives are threatened unless the US agrees to pull troops out of the Southeast Asian region. Doing so will almost assuredly allow South Korea to fall prey to their more violent neighbor.
Enter Mike Banning (Gerard Butler), a disgraced secret service man reassigned to the treasury department after the president’s wife dies in a freak accident. Turns out this guy has the skill set necessary to thwart the North Koreans.
Of course no thriller would be complete without a potentially world affecting threat and this one has a doozy. Even if Banning manages to save the President and the cabinet, will he be able to stop the threat in time?
Butler’s performance is solid as the action hero who’s in full John McClane mode. Like the original Die Hard, Banning has to rescue the hostages from a confined building, which lends to brilliantly choreographed action sequences.
Eckhart, however, falls victim too easily to the bad guys and one wonders if the fight training he undergoes at the beginning of the story is just for show. Even though elements of Air Force One are definitely prevalent, we can rest assured that Harrison Ford would have handled these punks a lot differently.
Rick Yune does a fine monofocused job as the head terrorist whose ultimate goal is the destruction of the U.S. as an economic world power.
Ultimately the film is exactly what we expect it to be – a popcorn thriller with edge of the seat excitement and nail biting suspense. Which leads me to question the motives of the movie executives who allowed excessive swearing to bump up the rating to an “R”. Nothing else I could see would have prohibited younger viewers from otherwise enjoying this action adventure.
I give Olympus Has Fallen 3-1/2 out of 5 stars.