Olympus Has FallenCultureCinemaMovie reviews
Die Hard is back. (Sort of). Only months after the franchise’s latest instalment, Olympus Has Fallen takes up the mantle of terrorist action-thriller and steals a good deal of the original’s plot in the process. Though the location has shifted to the White House and the German terrorists have been swapped for a very timely group of North Koreans (one wonders if Kim Jong-un is on the marketing team), the basic premise remains the same.
Gerard Butler stars as Mike Banning, an ex-Secret Service agent who finds himself the only man available to save America from a terrorist cell holding the President and his staff hostage in the White House bunker. John McClane’s walkie-talkie has been replaced by a bluetooth headset and there’s a new attempt to pull at heart strings with the inclusion of the President’s son, but many of the 80s tropes still remain, including the American blockbuster cliché that you should never trust a foreigner.
Director Antoine Fuqua (the man behind 2004’s disappointing King Arthur re-boot) provides the first full-on White House explosion since 9/11, proving that America is now ready for movies depicting terrorist invasion. Indeed, the scene in which the top of the Washington Monument caves in is an eerie echo of the collapse of the Twin Towers.
Despite these attempts at realism, the plot’s sheer lack of believability ultimately scuppers Fuqua’s film. Given America’s defence budget, a group of terrorists being able to bring the White House to its knees in 13 minutes flat is just one of the plot holes that has to be overlooked in order to truly enjoy this film.
With the exception of a distinctly average Morgan Freeman, the star-studded cast work hard with what they’ve been given. While Gerard Butler fails to outstrip Bruce Willis in the rookie hero role, Rick Yune gives an impressive turn as the lead villain, using his good looks to his advantage, with an ice-cold smile and a nonchalant approach.
Olympus Has Fallen certainly fails to better the films that influenced it, but with a well-tuned capacity to suspend disbelief it can provide an enjoyably tense two hours of nail-biting entertainment and a chance to pretend it’s the 80s all over again.
Olympus Has Fallen is released nationwide on 17th April 2013.
Watch the trailer for Olympus Has Fallen here: