Olympus Has Fallen
Gerard Butler fights White House terrorists in big, boomy action thriller
Starring Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman & Aaron Eckhart
Directed by Antoine Fuque
R, 120 min.
At any given time, it’s never hard to find someone who thinks Washington is in ruins and a dangerous extremist is running the White House.
In “Olympus Has Fallen,” which takes that line of thinking quite literally, a group of North Korean terrorists storms the world’s most fortified residence, kills off the Secret Service staff, holds the president hostage, and prepares to bring the United States to its knees.
Only one man stands in the way of their cold-hearted leader and his evil plan: Mike Banning (Gerard Butler), a former Secret Service agent now droning away at a desk job after a tragic incident 18 months ago resulted in his dismissal from the White House detail.
If it sounds like something you’ve seen before, only in a new setting, in a new situation, with a new star...well, that’s because you HAVE seen it before: in “Die Hard,” its sequels, and countless other slam-bang, gung-ho, yippee-ki-yay action yarns that followed in its invincible, lone-hero footsteps over the past 25 years.
How Butler’s character, armed with only a handgun and a set of handcuffs, manages to get back inside the White House to BECOME the only thing between America and terrorist Armageddon is but one of the movie’s leaps of logic, of which there are many. But people who enjoy movies like this are willing to forgive leaps of logic, I suspect, as long as enough bad guys get stabbed in the head, have their necks snapped with a loud pop, and get plenty of red, white and blue revenge along with some snappy, profanity-peppered wisecracks.
The all-star cast features Aaron Eckhart as the president, who spends most of the movie trussed up, scowling and seething; Morgan Freeman as Speaker of the House, stepping into Chief of State duties over at the Pentagon once both the prez and his tough-cookie VP (Melissa Leo) have been shanghaied; Dylan McDermott as a Secret Service agent with more than one secret; and Angela Bassett as the Secret Service director. Newcomer Finley Jacobson plays the president’s young son, an underdeveloped role that seems to be begging for a bigger slice of the plot.
Ashley Judd gets even less screen time as the president’s wife, but her brief part in the beginning sets up everything else that follows.
There’s a traitorous turncoat, a garbage truck that becomes a weapon of mass destruction, and an Oscar-winning actress reciting the Pledge of Allegiance as she’s dragged kicking and screaming down a hall. Characters spout cheesy, overly dramatic lines like “We’ve just opened up the gates of hell,” “I’m the best hope you’ve got,” and “Now, too, America will know suffering and famine.”
The movie does a believable job of recreating the look of the interiors and exteriors of the White House, especially as all kind of mayhem breaks out in its normally dignified hallways underneath the stately, immutable gazes of presidential portraits of Truman, Kennedy, Nixon and other previous occupants.
The explosive, wall-to-wall action is stoked is by incendiary images of hallowed icons of liberty being desiccated or destroyed---an American flag strafed with gunfire and left in tatters, the upper third of the Washington Monument sliced off by an enemy airplane, the White House violated from within and without.
But for a story set at ground zero of America’s most politicized city, “Olympus Has Fallen” doesn’t really seem to make a political stand of its own---except, perhaps, in a scene when Butler’s character is fighting one of the terrorists and uses a bust of Abraham Lincoln to finish him off, crushing his wounded opponent’s skull with the sculpted, stoic noggin of the Great Emancipator.
The delicate dance of diplomacy, it seems to suggest, will only get you so far---and in this big, boomy, flag-waving bash of lug-headed escapism, it won’t get you anywhere at all.
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
South Texas Living Archives
Atascosa County Craft Show is Nov. 12 (October 26, 2016)
Baptist church to offer holiday decorating ideas (October 26, 2016)
Boldtville church plans fair, barbecue (October 26, 2016)
Dobie Dichos kicks off Storyfest (October 26, 2016)
Don’t miss tricks or treats at ‘The Dark Side of F Street’ (October 26, 2016)
DRT plans 125th anniversary celebration (October 26, 2016)
Egg cups (October 26, 2016)
Enjoy Hallelujah Night in Kenedy (October 26, 2016)
Enjoy spooky fun at Haunted Harvest Fest (October 26, 2016)
Enjoy ‘unusual’ Halloween Concert in Boerne (October 26, 2016)
Floresville Opry gets set for monthly schedule (October 26, 2016)
How much does a funeral cost? (October 26, 2016)
Kicaster Cemetery fund-raiser is Oct. 29 (October 26, 2016)
Labatt Club enjoys salad demo at October meeting (October 26, 2016)
Letters from Wilson County, Part I (October 26, 2016)
LV Band Boosters Pancake Breakfast (October 26, 2016)
New book celebrates Spurs Nation (October 26, 2016)
Plan for St. Mark Fall Festival (October 26, 2016)
See ‘A Brush With Color’ (October 26, 2016)
Show Barn Country Dance (October 26, 2016)
Three Oaks Senior Dinner is Nov. 2 (October 26, 2016)
Tips to get your teen to eat more fruits and vegetables (October 26, 2016)
Turkey Dinner Nov. 6 at St. Jerome (October 26, 2016)
Ways to support the bereaved at holiday time (October 26, 2016)
What every Spurs fan should know (October 26, 2016)
Zumba for a cause Oct. 29 (October 26, 2016)
A creepy Halloween party appetizer (October 19, 2016)
Applying for Social Security (October 19, 2016)
Chili Cook-off to benefit Wilson County youth (October 19, 2016)
DRT joins Heritage Music Festival (October 19, 2016)
DRT to meet Oct. 24 in Kerrville (October 19, 2016)
Enjoy Harvest Festival in Marion (October 19, 2016)
Enter Pecan Bake Show (October 19, 2016)
Little Golden Books (October 19, 2016)
Make plans for Halloween fun and fall fests (October 19, 2016)
Meeting the needs of the community: St. Vincent de Paul (October 19, 2016)
R&B legend opens Carver season Oct. 29 (October 19, 2016)
Readers share their spooky tales, part two (October 19, 2016)
Road Runners plan Oct. 22 group run (October 19, 2016)
See country legends Oct. 22 (October 19, 2016)
Try your hand at square dancing (October 19, 2016)
Turn yard waste into gardener’s gold (October 19, 2016)
Baptist church to ring in 100 years (October 12, 2016)
Church plans Junk and Treasure Sale (October 12, 2016)
Comal Country Music Show is Oct. 18 (October 12, 2016)
Davy Crockett (October 12, 2016)
Enjoy fried chicken in Poth Oct. 23 (October 12, 2016)
Enjoy this flashy winter resident (October 12, 2016)
Join in the 2016 Rosary Crusade (October 12, 2016)
National Charity League plans celebration (October 12, 2016)
New program increases student knowledge of E-cigarette dangers (October 12, 2016)
Play bunco in La Vernia Oct. 22 (October 12, 2016)
Pondering a poignant letter from the past (October 12, 2016)
Save the date for Oct. 22 March for Life (October 12, 2016)
Should you redeem old savings bonds? (October 12, 2016)
Show Barn Cook-off approaching (October 12, 2016)
Sutherland Springs Old Town Day (October 12, 2016)
The business of aging grows more complex (October 12, 2016)
Try your luck at China Grove Lions Club Casino Night (October 12, 2016)
Atascosa County Craft Show seeks vendors (October 5, 2016)
Beautify your landscape with cacti (October 5, 2016)
Experience Oktoberfest in San Antonio (October 5, 2016)
Gilded peanuts and golden memories — recalling past Floresville Peanut Festivals (October 5, 2016)
Japan Fest set for Oct. 16 (October 5, 2016)
Meal service delivery options for seniors who don’t cook (October 5, 2016)
Oktoberfest comes to Floresville Oct. 15 (October 5, 2016)
Past Pirate champions will never be forgotten (October 5, 2016)
Readers share their ‘spooky’ tales (October 5, 2016)
Sacred Springs PowWow (October 5, 2016)
Shorter teapot (October 5, 2016)
Sinatra tribute comes to Kerrville (October 5, 2016)
Stockdale librarian updates Blue Bonnet Club members (October 5, 2016)
Sunnyside 4-H Bake Sale (October 5, 2016)
Time for turkey in Cestohowa (October 5, 2016)