Part one of the 2013 White House takeovers comes in the form of Antoine Fuqua’s Olympus Has Fallen.
Gerard Butler plays Mike Banning; a former Presidential guard who finds himself fighting through the White House after a North Korean terrorist group overthrow the most secure building in the world.
President Benjamin Asher, played by Aaron Eckhart, is held hostage in the bunker of the White House, whilst Speaker Morgan Freeman steps in as acting commander-in-chief. With the assistance of Freeman and several other White House officials, Banning is left to seek out the whereabouts of the President and his son.
A number of character twists make Banning’s task a difficult one, but his inside knowledge and training means the North Korean terrorist group, lead by Rick Yune, have a tough obstacle to overcome should they achieve their target of nuclear warfare.
North Korea now seems to be the stereotypical go-to country when producing the concept of a terrorist film. But it must be questioned just how secure the most secure building in the world supposedly is to some. In this example, Olympus Has Fallen makes the White House out to be relatively simple to infiltrate and completely blitz. Big plane with guns and an undercover Korean, hopefully it doesn’t give them any ideas…
Many aspects of the film itself are also very sketchy. Elements of the special effects are questionable, especially for a film with a $70,000,000 budget. In addition, much of the dialogue is sleazy and cheap; best summed up by Butler’s line “Why don’t you and I play a game of go fuck yourself?”
Nevertheless, some of the action sequences are very engaging and there are plenty of them. Butler steals the show with his typical, no-mercy style hero, with a number of killing methods involving guns, knives and the simplicity of fists.
However, like many terrorist threatening flicks, too much attention is based on big explosions, gunshots and blood flying up walls. Olympus Has Fallen offers an entertaining watch, but nothing more than another Die Hard-like film.
Part Two of the 2013, “let’s attack the White House” saga comes from the simple titled, White House Down later this year and time will tell whether we see anything more than a repeat of its relatively mediocre rival.