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Review: Olympus Has Fallen

2.5 / 5

‘Olympus has fallen,’ whispers a Secret Service agent as he crawls bloodily away from a masked gunman down a White House corridor. ‘I repeat, Olympus has fallen.” And the action clichés continue from there.

Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) has been taken off the President’s security detail after a snowy accident claimed the life of the First Lady while he was on duty. Stuck in a tedious office position, he longs to return to protecting President Asher (Aaron Eckhart) and son Connor (cute newcomer Finley Jacobsen), who Banning has (fortunately) taught the ins-and-outs of the White House.

He’s trudging through paperwork when the South Korean President and his envoy arrive for a meeting with Asher, and things turn pear-shaped real quick. The White House (code name Olympus) is soon taken by a group of North Korean rebels, led by the ice cold Kang (a wonderfully villainous Ricky Yune) who demands US troops out of the demilitarised zone separating North and South Korea, or he’ll start executing the hostages in the bunker – the President and high ranking political figures. Sound familiar?

While the film gets off to a rather slow start, the ridiculous amount of action that suddenly launches itself at you more than makes up for it. It’s like a combination of all the action sequences you’ve ever seen squished into a mind-scattering 10 minutes. Suicide bombers? Check. Dozens of civilians shot down by planes? Check. Machine guns in garage trucks? Ch- wait, what? The film is often stunning implausible, with plenty of plot holes, plus there’s all the clichés you would expect from an American political action film; we see the bullet-ridden flag fall in slow-mo, the famous obelisk crumble, smoke and flames billowing from those white walls. But it is heavy on the patriotism, and you get the feeling that everything is probably going to work out.

There’s action sequences that are sometimes shaky and difficult to follow, and CGI effects more suited to a video game than a Hollywood blockbuster. Plus, there’s an overload of explosive bloodshed, and violence galore (Gerard is killer with his fists, knives AND guns, apparently).

All this aside, Olympus Has Fallen is actually damn entertaining. While some lines are laughably corny and Butler can’t seem to go five words without adding a cuss, it’s edge-of-your-seat suspenseful and sometimes genuinely amusing – plus no one can deny there is some simply good action in there (maybe to distract from the lack of plot). And you get to see Morgan Freeman do what he does best – look pensive and be the voice of reason.

For those that enjoy a good shoot-up or no brainer action flick, you’ll love it. Also for those of you who like to stare at Gerard Butler being badass for two hours, it’s good for that too.

Olympus Has Fallen is showing in cinemas everywhere now.

Published at On The Record.

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