You should have stopped with Sparta, Gerard
Oh no! It’s happened again! We’re on the brink of World War III – but fear not readers, for Gerard Butler and the Land of the Free are here to save the day!
While Butler himself may be Scottish, you wouldn’t think it in Olympus Has Fallen. He stars as Mike Banning, the former head of security for the universally-adored President Asher (Eckhart). After a fatal accident 18 months prior left the Asher family in tatters, the disgraced Banning is pushed back to a sideline government role. Meanwhile at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, a clan of highly-skilled North Korean terrorists infiltrate the world’s most fortified house without a hiccup, and take the president hostage. Not only do they want American forces to withdraw their support for South Korea, they intend to use the States’ own nukes to turn the nation into a destitute wasteland. With the acting president, House Speaker Trumbull (Freeman), and the rest of Team America in dire straits, it’s left to the broad-shouldered Banning to use his Intel and military expertise to save the president – nay, the world – as we know it.
Given the current climate surrounding a potential North Korean nuclear attack, seeing this star-spangled, preposterously right-wing American film was slightly discomforting – not because it is an intelligent and harrowingly coincidental portrayal of the current situation, but because one can imagine gun-toting patriots taking some sort of solace in the inherently prejudicial picture.
Directed by Training Day’s Antoine Fuqua, Olympus Has Fallen is a clunky, ‘one man vs the world’ procedure that plays out like a deviant adaptation of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six series, mixed together with Die Hard. Unlike Bruce Willis, Butler is so devoid of humour or charm that his boisterous action-hero shtick – not to mention a sketchy American accent – is excruciating.
Relying on bloodied fight sequences and shoddy CGI explosions, the supporting cast are given nothing in the way of a good script or space to show off their acting credentials. Instead, they’re left hanging off the screen looking either despondent or aghast. After stomaching this two-hour snooze fest, I was beginning to share their pain.
Olympus Has Fallen (15)
Dir: Antoine Fuqua; US action, 2013, 120 mins, Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Aaron Eckhart
Premiered April 4