Movie review – Olympus Has Fallen

Gerard Butler and Olympus: is this 300? No m’am. In Olympus Has Fallen we see Mr Butler in a very different, non Spartan outfit. He is Mike Banning now, the bodyguard of the president of the United States (Aaron Eckhart). One evening the President takes his wife and son to a party, when the car slides nearly off a bridge.

Banning does not succeed at saving the whole family, which makes him retire as a bodyguard. He starts doing some easy paperwork in the White House, but when a year later the White House is attacked by an unknown enemy, the lives of Banning and the President change once more. Unfortunately the president is not as smart (really trying to avoid Trump jokes here! 😉 ) and he locks the enemy in his bunker.

Though I think it is interesting to see in a movie (only in a movie please!) what an attack on the presidential house and the debree that it will instigate would look like, Olympus Has Fallen is a huge let-down. It starts that moment of the car accident. Many action sequences in this movie are very flashy and vague, and the same goes for this accident. Sure, it’s night, it’s dark outside, but it simply does not look very dangerous. You hardly feel the treat of the car that is about to fall down.

The take over of the WH looks pretty impressive in this movie, but the computer animations are done poorly. A plane in the sky, an American flag going down; it is a little bit too obvious that they are animated. Too bad, cause if the computer graphics were done a bit better, it would have made this movie look a lot less cheap.

The cheapness and the lack of breath taking action continues throughout the film. It does not even have to do with the camera standpoints or animations per se; everything is so predictable and forgettable. It is such a standard action movie. Sure, it has a few things you will remember, but not in a positive way: the worst moment is when Banning told the enemy something like: “Let’s play a little game called fuck off, you go first”. Really?

Or that moment when Banning needs to type in a crazy long code into a computer which asks for a hashtag, is hilarious: even though the clock is ticking. He does not know where the hashtag can be found, so stand-in president Speaker Trumbull (Morgan Freeman) yells out: “Shift 3, Shift 3!” just to help Banning a bit. If you love Freeman as much as I do, it is hard to see him in a movie that does not make him shine as he should. The legendary actor plays a character that does not get any background story whatsoever.

Plus, it is hard to see Eckhart in a different role after the new Batman-movies. The choices his character makes are so stupid and one of the most important moments in the movie are even totally skipped by director Antoine Fuqua, so him being in the movie is not the best choice for his career. And Gerard Butler? I usually appreciate his presence. He played the Phantom in the Phantom of the Opera, he did a voice in How To Train Your Dragon and he played that legendary role in 300. This movie has not been a good choice for him though. He is just a grumpy man, you dont really get to know him and even his home situation does not really get a lot of attention. Even when he calls his girlfriend in the heat of the moment, you don’t feel anything. And again: playing a game of fuck off, really?

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