God I miss the 90’s. Remember when action films where straight up, unapologetic action films rather than über serious Bourne like spy thrillers or another superhero/comic book movies. The most we get now is a lifeless carbon copies of 80’s/90’s classics that only remind us of how much fun we had with the original. The word original is some thing that best describes Olympus Has Fallen as it is basically a blend of Die Hard with a bit of Air Force One, particularly when we will see the same plot again later this year with White House Down.
Gerard Butler is our John McClane, playing Mike Banning. A secret service anent close to President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) and his family. When a tragic accent happens, Banning is now banished to a desk job as South Korean Prime Minister pays visit to the White House. Everything seems normal when chaos erupts as very heavenly armed terrorists attack the monumental building with some of D.C with it. Banning, using his instinct and helps fight with his formal colleges until it is just him left to save the president and most of America and South Korea. Watching Olympus Has Fallen feels like a flashback to 1996 with all the clichés that comes with it. Such as the valiant hero with something to prove, Morgan Freeman in the control room as acting president with Angela Bassett vouching for Banning while an angry head of military (Robert Forster) doesn’t trust him and makes every bad decision that you can possibly make and of course it is unbelievably silly. However, criticising Olympus Has Fallen for being silly and predictable, would be missing the point as it doesn’t take itself seriously and neither should the audience. Despite the dead pan tone and big speeches of patriotism, it still winking its eye at the audience, telling us to just go with it.
What did surprise me the violence and the carnage that occurs just in the first 30 minutes. It maybe because after being use to so many 12a action films, that to see our hero have a fondness of stabbing bad guys in the head a bit odd. It is nice to see a recent action film that hasn’t been toned down its brutality of the fighting scenes. I would have preferred real blood packs rather than CGI gunshot wounds but it was so full on I didn’t care. There so many deaths on-screen that it may well be up there with one of the highest body counts I’ve seen in quite some time. Rick Yune does what he does best as the cold and vicious no-nonsense terrorist, willing to kill anyone to get what he wants without any remorse. Some of the special effects do look unfished. This maybe due to production being pushed forward due to Roland Emmerich’s rival film due out latter this year. Till then, I guess we’ll have to wait and see which Die Hard in the White House film succeeds. For now, this is a reminder of what action film looked like in the 90’s and I missed them