One of two films that see the residence of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW under attack this year, Olympus Has Fallen is pretty much Die Hard in the White House.


I know I’m not the first to say that, but there is no getting away from the fact. Olympus Has Fallen carries its influences on its sleeve in very much the same way Oasis tried to be The Beatles.

A generic and cliched action film, which sees Gerard Butler as the generic and cliched leading man, Mike Banning – a disgraced former presidential bodyguard, who is in the right place at the wrong time and finds himself trapped inside the White House in the wake of a terrorist attack.

It’s all a bit predictable, yet oddly an enjoyable film and with a cast that also includes Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Ang

ela Bassett, rent-a-villain Rick Yune, Melissa Leo, Ashley Judd and Radha Mitchell, it’s hard not to lose yourself within all the over-the-top mayhem.

As mentioned earlier, the film sees the White House overrun by North Korean terrorists who hold the President and his staff hostage and make unrealistic demands that cannot be possibly met.

As thrilling as the action scenes are, they are completely predictable. When the camera focuses on various landmarks that surround the White House, you know it’s only a matter of time until they are raised to the ground and quite often it’s in epic style.


Leading man Gerard Butler does a decent job of playing the disgraced Mike Banning, ashamed yet eager to redeem himself from the tragic opening scenes of the film. His accent may be a bit all over the place, but he carries the film and action off quite well, especially during some bone crunching fight scenes.

Aaron Eckhart also settles into his role with little difficulty – in fact, in all honesty President Benjamin Asher is not too far removed from Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight. If there is one complaint, Aaron Eckhart is not in the film nearly as much as he should be.

On the supporting side of things we have Morgan Freeman as the acting president, Speaker Trumbull (again, not a stretch considering he played the President in Deep Impact).

While Olympus Has Fallen unashamedly draws many comparisons with the earlier Die Hard films, it does let itself down when it comes to the films villains. While Rick Yune is perfectly menacing as the bastard of the piece, Kang, it has got to be said that he is no Hans Grubber.

I was really expecting the worse when I sat down to watch this film, but I’d be lying to say that I didn’t enjoy it. The pacing is just right and there is a fair balance of action and suspense through out the film, a pattern that director Antoine Fuqua deftly handled since Training Day (2001).

With its overblown patriotism, sentimental script, shockingly bad dialogue and its cliched ridden plot, it somehow all works when it is blended together.

It’s everything a high concept, big budget action movie should be and whereas the Die Hard series has lost sight of its origins with its recent 12A instalments, it’s encouraging to see other action films such as this pick up the reins.


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About The Author

Colin lives in south west London. Looks like a hobbit and has been watching films ever since he saw Return of the Jedi at the age of 3. You can follow Colin on Twitter @obicolkenobi.