Review: Olympus Has Fallen Dies Hard

Matthew Greenberg , Sports Editor

3 stars

Olympus Has Fallen -Screenshot courtesy of FILMDISTRICT
Olympus Has Fallen -Screenshot courtesy of FILMDISTRICT

Let’s have a round of applause and welcome back, from his abominable stint in the world of horrendous romantic comedies, Gerard Butler. And not a moment too soon, because there is a distinct possibility that if he had done one more movie like Playing for Keeps, he would have forgotten how to punch the bad guy and tried to prove that he was boyfriend-material instead. Perhaps the vast amount of punched bad guys is what made Olympus Has Fallen at least worthwhile. Well, almost worthwhile. The main reason this film was fun was because it was like watching a Die Hard remake, but without super old Bruce Willis pretending his back doesn’t hurt, and with way more clichés.
The story follows Mike Banning (Butler), a Secret Service agent who, after a dramatic incident which lead to the death of the First Lady, finds himself behind a desk at the Treasury. Events quickly become hectic when the White House comes under attack by North Korean extremists, President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) and key members of his staff are taken hostage in the bunker below the White House, and Banning ends up as the last man alive who can save the day.
Director Antoine Fuqua has a knack for bringing out the best in his dramatic action stars. Most notably, he led Denzel Washington to his Oscar for Training Day. Besides bringing Butler back from rom/com purgatory, Morgan Freeman is fantastic as Speaker of House Allan Trumbull, and although Freeman surely does not need any help reaching his dramatic best, Fuqua certainly lends a helpful hand.
With Michael Bay-style explosions and Die Hard-esque action sequences, Olympus Has Fallen certainly fulfills the entertainment requirement of going to the movies. Unfortunately, its overzealous patriotic agenda forces every “America is broken and oh look we fixed it” cliché straight down the audience’s throat. Corey Hall of the Metro Times says it best, “The cliché count is neck-and-neck with the body count in this hyper-violent and cheerfully destructive thriller.” That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it certainly isn’t a good one either.