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Olympus Has Fallen
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Olympus Has Fallen More at IMDbPro »

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11 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Oval office war porn

Author: tieman64 from United Kingdom
8 September 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a review of "Olympus Has Fallen" and "White House Down", two similar films released in 2013.

Directed by Antoine Fuqua, "Olympus" stars Gerard Butler as a Secret Service agent who defends his son, the White House and the US President from North Korean terrorists. Right-wing, xenophobic and ultra jingoistic, the film mostly consists of Butler perforating evil Asians. The film ends with the villains attempting to detonate nuclear weapons across the United States.

Like "Red Dawn" (2012) and "Tomorrow When The War Began" (2010), "Olympus" hinges on a very specific paranoid fantasy; the belief that the United States, the most powerful military force mankind has ever known, with an annual military budget that dwarfs the combined economies of most of the world's countries, is not the planet's chief terrorist state, but a poor nation besieged by evil Orientals (the US has sabotaged unification and democratic elections in Korea for over sixty years). Such paranoid fantasies go all the way back to D.W. Griffith's "Birth of a Nation" (1915), the first blockbuster vigilante picture. All the genre's clichés begin there: a government that's powerless, woman and citizens who are under attack by an alien Other, enlightened individuals (the Klan, the CIA etc) who are forced to "break laws" and "take justice into their own hands" etc etc. And of course the heroes of such films are oft emasculated or disgraced men, who've lost their wives, daughters or jobs ("Death Wish", "Die Hard" etc), but who restore both their reputations and social orders through violence.

As "Olympus" was directed by super-hack Antoine Fuqua, it's mostly inept. Fuqua's White House sets are unconvincing, his CGI is terrible, his action sequences are devoid of either tension or imagination, his screenplay plays like a cliché conveyor belt and his violence is depressingly cruel and crude, women beaten and waves of humans mechanically gunned down. Fuqua thinks he's being "realistic" and "shocking", but the effect is something else; desensitising, exploitative, a kind of pornographic corporeality in which imagination is bulldozed by banal literalism. As with most modern, R rated action movies, video game First Person Shooters are the chief influence, these films trying and failing to keep up with the insta-kill, head-shot aesthetic of games. Most of these games are similarly senseless (and unashamedly pro-America, the recent "Battlefield 3", for example, spinning the story of an Iranian WMD attack on the West which provokes a US invasion of Iran). Hilariously, the film stars Morgan Freeman in another "wise black figurehead" role. Elsewhere it resembles action movies from the late 1980s and 1990s ("In The Line of Fire", "Die Hard 1, 2, 3", "Executive Decision", "Airforce One", "Under Siege 1 and 2" etc), all of which were better. "Olympus Has Fallen" was a big box office success.

Directed by Roland Emmerich, "White House Down" tells the same tale but with a left-wing slant. Here Channing Tatum plays a wannabe Secret Service agent (he's called John Cale, a nod to "Die Hard's" John Mclane) who wears a Bruce Willis vest and who learns that he must protect his daughter, the White House and US President from a band of terrorists. As this is a decidedly left-wing movie, some slight changes are made to the formula: here the terrorists are a band of evil US personnel who wish to trigger a war with Iran. America and the Military Industrial Complex, then, are the bad guys. The US president (Jaime Foxx), meanwhile, is portrayed as an Obama-avatar who wishes to "pull all US troops out of the middle east", "reverse the policies of his evil predecessors" and "bring peace to the world". Elsewhere the film is more interested in civil liberties and "the enemy within" than foreign threats, and the hero's daughter says things like "won't peace with Iran stop the violence between Shiites and Sunnis in Southern Pakistan?" You go girl.

Whilst "Down" is directed with some competence, it's still mostly terrible. The film's White House sets are more convincing than Fuqua's, but Emmerich missteps by playing things as a straight action movie rather than a comedic buddy movie; Tatum and Foxx's characters work best when winking at the audience.

"Down" bombed at the box office, perhaps because "Olympus" was released several months prior. More interesting is the way the whole concept of a "left-wing action movie" is somewhat contradictory. A good example of this was Steven Seagal's first action vehicle, "Above The Law". "Law" saw Seagal playing a detective who grows disillusioned with American arrogance, torture farms, CIA drug-running and coups. He then beats up bad guys and gives them a speech about the danger of empires and the virtues of good government. Seriously. The absurdity of such films, though, is that the hero can never resolve conflicts without force and without breaking every law imaginable. This is not necessarily bad – if you're looking to change the rules, it makes no sense in abiding by them, and if conditions are stacked against the majority, in fighting for fairness you don't have to play fair – but it creates the illusion that ethics can be resumed, when they were never there in the first place. If politics is essentially Machiavellian, "Olympus" may indeed be the more right-wing of the two White House films. For Fuqua, there's never any question that the US President is just another bastard amongst bastards. For Emmerich, though, our Obama-avatar's a good guy, and there always exists the nostalgic notion that paradise is restorable via a little faith and in-house cleaning.

0/10 – Worth no viewings.

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16 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

I got dumber by watching this movie

Author: Jon Hovda from United States
29 June 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I concur with others that stated in their review they wanted to stab a pencil through their ear to pull out the part of their brain holding any memory of this horrible, awful movie.

Yes, huge plot holes are very evident, but given the director and screenwriters backgrounds, I am not surprised. You have to suspend logic while you watch this. How exactly would a C-130 fly from North Korea to the US east coast? What countries do they have basing rights with, and what sort of air bridge is set up to facilitate fueling this plane for that long of a trip? How exactly did over 100 North Korean Nationals make it to the US without rousing suspicion. How exactly did they get all of the weapons (including the huge gun on the top of the white house)? It became evident as soon as the SecDef walked out the front door that no, the front door is not booby trapped. So, she walks out, and they don't send any special forces in at that point??? They figure they will let the star handle everything, no need for assistance? Another thing, once the gun on the roof was taken out, why not send your troops in through the roof again? The threat is gone, and there was at least one H-60 that had ropes that survived the attack.

It seemed the bad guys kept multiplying as the movie went on. At the start of the movie, there were about 20 or 30 bad guys on the lawn, and half of them were taken out, but throughout the movie, we saw WAY more than that in the actual white house.

As others have stated, the phony nationalism is just ridiculous. So the "double-agent" speaks out about wall street, are we to think wall street is now "good". Do we forget how they destroyed the housing market? Are we THAT stupid? How is it that 80% of the reviews are 5 star or below, but the overall rating is 6.7 (as of today)? Unfortunately, the folks clicking on the 7, 8, 9 or 10 stars on the IMDb page for this movie validate Hollywood's perception of dumb theater audiences. Even though the vast majority of critics called this a pile of garbage, if folks are paying to see this, and validating this horrible movie with a high rating, the terrible directors and producers will continue to pump out this non-sense.

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20 out of 35 people found the following review useful:


Author: wonderin badger from England
3 May 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The film as a whole is utter face-numbing drivel. It couldn't be anymore up it's own backside. It plays up to the American ideal so much that it felt like some-kind of recruitment ad for the US military. The characters, each and everyone are a shallow cliché. I see many reviews claiming the film to be the next Die Hard, it's not. Die Hard is responsible for many action film clichés but what made Die Hard special for me at least, was the reluctant hero who is out of his depth but pushes and quips his way to victory.

The writing is is hammy, despite the pretty cool premise the film is marred by a seemingly inept good guys who manage to some how let a huge plane fly right over the most important building in the US. This is then followed by highly trained special agents running into the line of fire and government officials making continually bad decisions.

Poor film.

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109 out of 213 people found the following review useful:

I want 2 hours of my life back

Author: John Levins from Cary, NC
20 April 2013

I seriously can't believe the high ratings, is it just me??? I won't go into a ton of detail, but just my quick two cents. My biggest gripe is that the movie failed miserably to make my "believe" the story, at any point of the movie. The ease with which the bad guys take over the White House and outsmart the Americans every step of the way was far too unbelievable, IMHO. Plus, there and I don't want to give a spoiler here, so I'll just say that a couple of sub-plots were woefully undeveloped.

I love Morgan Freeman (who doesn't?), but unfortunately not only was he not present enough to save the movie, the script and direction left him sorely handicapped. Similar story for Gerard Butler, who was very present throughout as our leading character, but for me, never truly shined. Perhaps I was blinded to their otherwise good performances by my utter anger at having actually paid $30 at the theater for us to go see this yawner of a wasted film best left for Redbox, if not the dumpster.

I only give it 3 because, well, my wife agreed it was awful but that it didn't rate the lowly 1 I was "going" to give it ... a plot with such good promise, an opportunity squandered by a director whose movies I'll be much more suspect of in the future.

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Sweet Action Goodness

Author: beavanjb from United States
8 February 2014

Not many good action movies that keep there intensity throughout, but this is a rare breed. Good acting across the board and great cinema sound help push this beyond the average action flick. After the 15-minute introduction to the characters it's pretty much non-stop action movie shooting and killing goodness. If you like non-stop violence and one-man war machine this is your movie. If you want a movie that makes perfect sense...well you wouldn't be watching movies would you? Obviously this scenario is pretty much impossible, but beyond that it's fun to watch! I would recommend this film to any action movie fan.

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Great action movie!

Author: Angelina Woodall
5 January 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

So the plot is that the president's wife is killed in a car accident and Mike Banning, who was part of the Secret Service is discharged because of it. Later on, Korean terrorists take over the White House and bomb and gun down innocent civilians and completely destroy a part of the White House. In the end, Banning has found his way into the bunker where the President is being held against his will by the Korean leader, Kang and rescues him. This is just the main idea of the film; it's a lot more complicated than that.

I could not stop screaming while watching the movie because it was so action packed. It is so intense in a lot of the parts and keeps you in the edge of your seat. I'm so glad I didn't watch it in a thereat because if I did, I would've gotten thrown out within the first five minutes. My favorite action thriller by far! I am still obsessed with it and it's been 5 days since I watched it. You need to see this movie as soon as possible. I love this film so much.

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9 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

The most ridiculous plot ever?

Author: abrie-4 from South Africa
30 August 2013

I love a mindless action movie as much as the next guy, and really have no problem suspending my disbelief for most of them. But really? This movie has such a ridiculous plot-line it is beyond laughable. Some movies need 1 or 2 implausible events to set the stage, but then at least the rest of the movie is believable enough. But not here. They just add one ridiculous plot event/decision on top of another until you can only conclude that there was undoubtedly no-one with any power of reason involved in the making of it.

If you want to just see some (fairly good) action sequences and can stomach seeing the people in charge of a country make one nonsensical, idiotic decision after the other, (and of course a few mandatory superficial emotional scenes/monologues thrown in), then watch it, but you can really do a lot better.

I give it 4 points for some decent action sequences and the fact that in spite of the script and direction the actors actually manage to make you believe that their characters are real.

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10 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Did someone rip off 'Under Siege' without realising?

Author: Glyn-52-910242 from United Kingdom
6 September 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

What a mistake, renting this film. I suppose it's because I'm not American. If you are an American red neck who whoops and yells 'God Bless America!!!' every 5 or 10 minutes throughout the day for no reason, and thinks that America is the centre of the universe, then you'll probably like this film. Right from the tear jerking long slow scene of an American flag with bullet holes, slowly fluttering down from the Whitehouse roof, to the part where they dare to hurt the beloved President! In fact, lets let North Korea invade South Korea killing millions.. as long as our beloved Mr. President is saved.

And is it just me, or is this more or less a direct rip off of 'Under Siege'? A bunch of people make their way inside pretending to be good guys, then turn out to be bad guys. A single good guy who's an ex special forces type guy, stalks the bad guys one by one from within and becomes a thorn in their side. Helicopters full of special forces attempt to storm the bad guys, but get shot down by automated Gatling guns. There are random one on one karate type fights with random bad guys, and there is a knife fight between the good guy and the main bad guy. Any of this sound familiar? Only, Under Siege was at least partly believable, and wasn't full of such patriotic garbage or massive inaccuracies.

The film was 2 hours long, and I don't know what happened at the end as I turned it off with 30 minutes to go. I really couldn't violate my brain any more. An hour and a half of my life I'll never get back. At least It wasn't the full 2 hours.

It's no wonder America is prepared to go it alone and bomb Syria, with little or no evidence to back up their actions, if this is the kind if drivel the nation is fed on.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A possible new Die Hard with a fun time

Author: alindsay-al from United Kingdom
18 June 2014

This is a fun film and nothing else really, this is just 2 hours of pure fun and sometimes that is good and this is one of those films. Ex Secret service member Michael Banning is the only man who can save the president of the united States from a North Korean Terrorist group attacking the white house. Gerard Butler is a good lead and is a great action hero with some one liners reminding me of a Die Hard film or an Arnold film. Aaron Eckhart is a great president and truly makes out like a president should be in a film like this in this situation. The Villain was good in his role as a seemingly generic terrorist and Morgan Freeman is great as the speaker and really does steal the show at a few points. The Story is pretty generic and really could be argued to be the biggest weakness as it really is as generic as possible and similar to previous films. Also the script is okay but it could have been better in these circumstances. The style though is really cool and the cinematography shows just how high the stakes are in this film and how important this film really is. Also the fact that this is an 18 means they take the violence up and it grounds this film in much more reality then films such as White House Down. This is a great action film and I believe that this is a good step for action films.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Just turn your brain off and enjoy the ride.

Author: hazysistersunshine33 from United States
3 July 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Gerard Butler is an ex CIA agent who happens to be near the White House when terrorists take it over. It's up to him to save the day. It's Die Hard in the White House pretty much and Butler is just as bad ass as Bruce Willis and almost as funny. It's incredibly violent and over the top and just completely ridiculous. None of this would ever happen. Like, they would never take the president to the same bunker as guests from other countries. Those people would go to a different safe room. Still, as unbelievable as the plot is, it sure was a fun movie. It was a roller-coaster ride from beginning to end. Aaron Eckert plays the president and he is pretty tough too. If fact everyone is tough in it, even the female secretary of state who really takes a beating from the terrorists. A lot of people take a good beating on both sides. The White House takes a good beating too. Good beatings all around! You may be surprised by a few twists and details in this, but the general story is pretty easy to predict and follow. I don't think that will get in the way of enjoying it. Just turn your brain off and enjoy the ride.

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