I don't know if there are any more innovation could be added to this kind of movies. More brainy plots, more visually stunning effects, more massacres, new villains, new heroes... what else? Filmmakers need to be creative enough to renew action-thriller movies like "Olympus Has Fallen", because if they don't, movies like this will be just other forms of reinventing the wheel. That's why I don't really like this genre because, well, beside that it is not my cup of tea, there's nothing particularly fresh from it. "Olympus Has Fallen" is still on the nearly similar track, except that Antoine Fuqua, the director, put a brand new villain in the story: Korean terrorists.
“Olympus Has Fallen”—“Olympus” refers to the White House—is opened by a scene of U.S. President, Benjamin Asher (played by Aaron Eckhart), lost his wife in a severe car accident. Mike Banning (played by Gerard Butler) is one of the presidential guard team member who has the most guilt for this accident. As he now works in the US Treasury, in one bad day the White House is attacked by a group of Korean terrorists led by Kang (played by Rick Yune). The president and all White House staffs are kidnapped in the building, and all decision of the nation security is now handed to the Speaker of the House, Allan Trumbull (played by Morgan Freeman). Banning is called to prove his loyalty to his nation—and particularly to the president—as he tries to enter the house and save the President.
You may think that I have already said enough about “Olympus Has Fallen” in the first paragraph. Well, although I can not find one good and precise example of similar movies to this one, I admit that these Korean terrorists as villains are the ones that distinguish it from others. And the idea of the story—attack to the White House—may seem too odd and—I don’t know is it just me—maybe too “high-sounding”. Haha. I mean, please, the safest and the most protected place on earth is attacked by unknown Korean terrorists? It is not a ridiculous idea, actually—there’s still a chance of it, like one similar occurrence happened in history and it is mentioned in a scene—but I couldn’t clear up my mind to accept this. Still, I like “Olympus Has Fallen” because, although it barely offers something new, it is very sufficient as a good action-thriller. It is just “enough”. I said, it is lucky for this movie to have a solid ground of story that, although a bit imaginative, is not annoying. “Olympus Has Fallen” has the tension, good action scenes, nice adrenaline-pusher scenes, and a hidden moral value—just as what the tagline says, “We are never stronger than when we are tested”—that can easily be absorbed by viewers, especially the American viewers. More than that, I don’t find anything specifically fresh from “Olympus Has Fallen” beside, of course, that Korean villains.
Lucky that "Olympus Has Fallen" is poured with so many notable (and good) actors—anyone noticed Melissa Leo playing Ruth McMillan, the Secretary of Defense?—that makes it a bit more "high-graded". Morgan Freeman is of course the one that you expect the most. He is always gonna be a good player for this "decision-maker" role, and all my disappointment due to him not being the president is very much erased. The president is played by Aaron Eckhart, and becoming the president, I guess he is just too young. He has his charisma and gestures, but well, he’s too young. What he did as “the president” was not much, because perhaps more than 60% of the duration is him being arrested as hostages. Physically, he didn’t act much, but he did most of his scenes by his stressful mimic. Well, I guess I have no problem about Gerard Butler. As the hero, I think he’s just okay. Maybe because I can’t find other actors that possibly could portray Mike Banning better. His posture, his action scenes, his face (-_-), his expression of loyalty to his country... he is enough. And I won’t finish this paragraph without explaining my opinion about the Korean! Haha. Rick Yune as Kang, the boss of the terrorist, is just good. But, well, he was described too stilted. Well, it is okay if he was described more as a master-mind villain instead of bad-ass terrorist, but when he had his scene with Butler—person-to-person scene between the villain and the hero—he lost his antagonist side. Finally he ended up becoming too easy to be underestimated by the viewers because he doesn’t have his “terrifying power” to make the whole story a bit more balanced instead of heavy on the protagonist side.
For the record (and if you really want to know), going to cinema and watching “Olympus Has Fallen” is just my getaway. But lucky that this movie is not that bad. Sometimes, putting off all your expectation to the movie you’re gonna watch can make it surprisingly looks better, no? I appreciate “Olympus Has Fallen” because, different to any other movies with too much bang-bang-boom-boom scenes, “Olympus Has Fallen” has a story. It is predictable and surely not a fresh one, but its adequacy of being an action-thriller and its effort not to make the viewers look stupid (for just swallowing the story as what it is) is the reason that makes “Olympus Has Fallen” become the movie you can opt for this weekend.
▲ An "enough" action-thriller, Morgan Freeman
▼ Rick Yune was not too protagonist, Aaron Eckhart
OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN | COUNTRY USA YEAR 2013 RATING Rated R for strong violence and language throughout RUNTIME 120 min GENRE Action, Thriller CAST Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Rick Yune, Melissa Leo WRITER Creighton Rothenberger & Katrin Benedikt (screenplay) DIRECTOR Antoine Fuqua MORE INFO