Finally, an action film that shows the tougher, meatier side of Gerard Butler! Through his character, Mike Banning, Gerard shows off his sophisticated capability as a Secret Service agent who morphs into a merciless killer. Is this an unwitting audition for a James Bond role? Say it is or isn’t so, he is worth considering as the follow up to Daniel Craig if the franchise is maintained. As the protective agent in charge of guarding the First Family he definitely fits the role even when things take a tragic turn and he is demoted.
Olympus Has Fallen takes us through a thrill ride, demanding credibility through the A-list star cast of Aaron Eckhart (the President), Angela Basset (the Secret Service boss), Morgan Freeman (the Speaker), Ashley Judd (the First Lady), and Melissa Leo (the Secretary of Defense). Butler heads this impressive list of actors to fight the Korean terrorists who take over the White House, facing him squarely with a formidable nemesis, Rick Yune (Kang). Rick Yune, a Korean and former Versace model who also fought James Bond as a henchman in Die Another Day, performs well as the hardcore and possibly insane terrorist leader. Not to be ignored is Dylan McDermott (Forbes), playing both good and bad friend to agent Banning.
Directed by Antoine Fuqua, this film starts out pleasantly then builds into a highly suspenseful and action-packed drama. It touches the depths of Fuqua’s Training Day and Tears of the Sun. Explosions, security breaches, and mass street hysteria bring to life the possibility of events coming to fruition. Can these things really happen to the real White House and the entire nation? We may never know even as we are lead deep into the building and to its impenetrable bunker. Fuqua has managed to create a film encased in a patriotism that eerily touches on the current situation with Korea.
Butler, an extremely versatile actor, transforms rather easily into a tough, special ops trained killer in this film, yet he manages to sneak in that personable warmth in his scenes with Finley Jacobsen (Connor, the president’s son). Not since his role as King Leonidas in 300 has Butler shined in a lead role, powerfully commanding it, setting the tone for the film. It may have been a clever move that Butler produced the film, giving him some control in its direction. He certainly suits up well as a Secret Service agent and as a hero renegade in tactical gear.
Rated R, Olympus Has Fallen is not one for family movie night, as it is extremely violent. Shocking killings, the stark seriousness of the subject, and overall suspense of the film will keep you on the edge of your seat. Still, it is thought-provoking in terms of reality possibilities. Of course, things were not 100% accurately portrayed for national security reasons. Well performed by its actors, it’s fast-paced and smart, with only a touch of love. If you like action and high testosterone films, this is one to watch.