Die Hard in the White House. That’s how Olympus Has Fallen was described when it was first announced (along with the similarly themed White House Down) – and that’s exactly what it is.
Gerard Butler plays Mike Banning, a lone CIA agent tasked with rescuing the US president (Aaron Eckhart) after Korean terrorists take over the White House. Save for the opening of the film which sees Ashely Judd’s First Lady die in a car accident, Olympus Has Fallen pretty much follows John Mc Tiernan’s 1988 actioner beat for beat. It’s not nearly as good as the seminal Bruce Wills starrer, but Olympus Has Fallen is enjoyable Friday night fun.
Antoine Fuqua’s film feels like it was made in the 1990s, when a slew of ‘Die Hard on a…’ films hit screens (Under Siege, Passenger 57, Sudden Death, Speed, Air Force One and about a million others) and even the basic CGI looks like it’s from that time period. Fuqua knows that he’s not making art, and he embraces the ridiculousness of the endeavour by over doing everything. Olympus Has Fallen is not subtle.
Gerard Butler is reasonably adequate in the lead. The burly Scot is no Bruce Willis when it comes to acting, but he knows how to fire a gun and handle the fight sequences. Aaron Eckhart is good as the widowed Commander in Chief, but he’s given little to do other than sit around and look furious. They are surrounded by a roster of classy supporting actors, with the likes of Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Cole Hauser and Dylan McDermott rounding out the cast.
The Blu-ray of Olympus Has Fallen comes with a group of behind the scenes documentaries, which show how Antione Fuqua’s film was made. It’s a decent companion piece to the movie.