Judging from the previews for Olympus Has Fallen, it would be easy to brush it off as “Die Hard At The White House“. I’m here to tell you that it’s a lot like Die Hard…the original one! Olympus Has Fallen might be the best, rip-roaring, action flick since 1988′s Die Hard and it might just save the R-rated action genre, which has been on life support for a few years now.
Director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) never lets up on the pulse-pounding action; whether it’s the initial aerial attack on Washington D.C. or inside the world’s most famous house. You’ll have to throw your brain out early on during the attack, because of its implausibility, but once the movie travels inside the White House is when it shines.
Olympus Has Fallen centers on a former Presidential Secret Service Agent named Mike Banning (Gerard Butler). After his decision costs the President (Aaron Eckhart) a loved one (shown in the first 5 minutes of the film), he becomes unsure of his role as an agent. It doesn’t take long until he finds himself trapped inside the White House in the wake of a shocking North Korean terrorist attack. Using his inside knowledge of the White House and his deadly set of skills, Banning becomes a one man army, working with Washington officials (Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Robert Forster) trying to rescue the President from his kidnappers, led by their lethal terrorist leader (Rick Yune).
The code word for the White House is “Olympus” and boy does it ever fall! The set pieces here are on a grand scale. The action is jaw-dropping and Banning’s shoot-outs/hand-to-hand combat scenes are straight out of the best action films of the late 80s & early 90s. Butler is very impressive and believable as our hero. Eckhart makes for a Bill Pullman-esque movie president, who never backs down or cowers to his captors. Morgan Freeman could read the telephone book and make it sound like an important public address, so he makes for a strong Speaker of the House. For what was supposed to be a ho-hum generic action film, the supporting cast is impressive. Besides those whom I’ve already mentioned; Dylan McDermott, Ashley Judd, Melissa Leo, Radha Mitchell and Cole Hauser round out the stellar cast.
Olympus Has Fallen takes what we loved best about movies like Die Hard and Air Force One and creates the best action movie of this decade. It’s been a long time since you could literally cheer for a movie from this genre. The wait is over.
I give OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN **** out of ****.