Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Review: Olympus Has Fallen

Olympus Has Fallen (2013)

Never underestimate Hollywood's ability to get a van load of good to great actors to sign on to action movies with the most ridiculous notions. This movie is just the newest example of this phenomenon, in case you forgot that top-tier actors (Morgan Freeman, for one) are not above making turds like Olympus Has Fallen.

The proper start of the movie is when an AC-130 gunship flies over DC, fends off multiple F-22s (multiple F-22s, I said) and circles around the capital's landmarks, indiscriminately laying down bullets the size of Red Bull cans. Meanwhile, the Secret Service just let a North Korean terrorist into the White House with the belief that he was a native South Korean and a member of a diplomat's security detail. The Secret Service and 60 Minutes must have the same background check team.

In addition to the terrorist inside the White House already, 30-50 North Korean terrorists have sidled up to the perimeter of the White House. On cue, one of them blows himself up and the fence leading onto the White House lawn. The terrorists swoop in and within fifteen minutes the president is hostage and, as far as I could tell, every Secret Service agent is dead, except for Gerard Butler, who plays a former agent turned US Treasury security, turned unofficial Secret Service agent when he starts running up on North Korean terrorists and putting bullets in the back of their heads.

Okay, there is no point in explaining the plot minutiae of such a movie because you already know lots of people are going to die and the film will end with an American triumph. Spoiler alert: it does. But what are all these good actors doing to waste an hour or two of your lives? Well, Morgan Freeman becomes acting president while the prez, played by Aaron Eckhart is far below the White House in a bunker. Angela Bassett, Secret Service Director, is sitting around a table with Freeman and Robert Forster, who plays a four-star general. Melissa Leo, a recent Oscar nominee for The Fighter, is in the bunker with the prez. In one particular scene, which encapsulates the over-the-top cheesiness that just oozes from action flicks like this one, Leo is dragged down a hallway to be executed, presumably, and she starts screaming the Pledge of Allegiance, channeling her inner Oscar nominee and failing, miserably.

A little less improbable than a gang of terrorists armed with semi-autos taking over the White House in 15 minutes, is that Gerard Butler single-handedly kills the entire North Korean crew, saves the president's son midway through, falls through two floors of the White House, shrugs it off, and saves the president. Also, a little less probable than a gang of terrorists armed with semi-autos taking over the White House in 15 minutes, is that there is a computer system in the White House bunker that enables the administrator (the president) to blow up every nuclear missile under US command with the click of a button. Luckily, Butler arrives at the computer terminal with 30 seconds before the US becomes a giant mass of radioactive goo. He gets the deactivation code from Freeman and supporting conference table cast and enters it with three seconds to spare.

If you are truly invested in Olympus Has Fallen at this point, you might let out a sigh of relief. If you see right through it, you are probably double-checking the length of the movie to see just how many minutes of your life you cannot get back.

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