Review: Olympus has Fallen

OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN (R16) (120 minutes)
Directed by Antoine Fugua
Starring: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman

Calling all Steven Seagal, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Sly Stallone fans.

Thought your favourite genre of gun-slinging, knife-stabbing, punch-crushing, all-action movie was left for dead in the ’90s Think again.

Olympus has Fallen is a return to the true values of a Hollywood blockbuster: A fast-paced flick of no-nonsense explosions, gunfights and hand-to-hand combat set against a plot that no-one really cares about.

Of 300 fame, Gerard Butler takes the lead role of Mike Banning in this film about a terrorist attack on the White House.

He plays an ex-secret service agent reassigned to US Treasury detail from the President’s protection service after the First Lady died on his watch.

Working across the road from the White House, when the attack begins, Banning reaches for his gun and joins in the defence of the President’s home – codenamed Olympus.

The story from here is an all out assault on the senses as the audience is treated to battles involving weaponry dating back to the Korean War mixed with futuristic military designs.

As well as the high impact devastation of explosives and high-calibre weaponry, a la Stallone films, the hand-to-hand combat is simply brutal. The blood, bone-snapping sound effects and savagery of JCVD-style kicking is not for the faint-hearted and did have me wondering whether the film’s R16 rating was strict enough.

Perhaps the censors’ senses were dulled by the Seagal-esque script-writing with its attempts at depth limited to weak references to Greek mythology.

Weapon names were often Greek, including the Cerberus nuclear device.

Activating this device served as the main goal of the terrorists and its threat was realised by Morgan Freeman playing the Acting President when he described its effect as like ”opening the gates of hell”. Real Seagal script writing genius there.

Ultimately though, the script does not matter as long as the action sequences are swift and without much pause for the audience to think. It is here that Olympus has Fallen shows its true red, white and blue.

In movie-time the initial assault on the White House took 13 minutes and the rest of the movie is set across one night.

You might think it would take Banning a bit more than that to save the White House, the USA and the world – and earn redemption from the President – but actually all it takes is a couple of hours of amazing combat.

And it’s combat worth watching.

Not a movie for someone wanting to challenge their mind, but definitely one for people hoping just to kick-back and go along for a hard-hitting action ride.

Olympus has Fallen opens today

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