Olympus Has Fallen

Two review For you on the film for you.

By Amy-Jo Shriner

Mike Banning (Butler) is a Secret Service agent in the Presidential detail, and it could be argued a friend to the President; he even lands a punch in an opening boxing practice. All of that changes when, during a horrible automobile accident, the President’s wife is killed. Mike couldn’t save them both, so he chose to save the President. After making “the right call”, as his director (Angela Bassett) tells him; the President just couldn’t stand to be reminded of the failure and moves Mike to the Treasury. Mike wants back into the detail, and he gets his chance when a Korean terrorist infiltrates the White House and all of the fail safes in place to keep an incursion from happening. Banning jumps into action and becomes the only one left/able to save the President and his son.

Admittedly I am a Gerard Butler fan. I see this character as a watered-down, but trying really hard, version of John McLane ala Die Hard. Except the one liners feel forced, not funny, as does the unwarranted use of foul language. A New York cop is one thing for cursing, but it just doesn’t feel right seeing it come out of a Secret Service Agent. Morgan Freeman does an excellent job portraying a man making the tough decisions as Speaker Trumbull (the acting President for much of the movie); he makes mistakes and corrects his actions based on those mistakes. Aaron Eckhart is ok as the President, but doesn’t have the gravity needed to really pull that level of authority off; he is very much an every-man version of the President. His relationship with his son and that of Banning’s and the President’s son is very believable and heartfelt.

While action packed and fast paced; the plot is wholly unbelievable. Maybe I’m just an arrogant American, but I highly doubt the sheer number of protocols that were breached would actually happen. It felt like Eckhart’s character was overriding them through the whole attack sequence. I actually could believe the amount of time it took to respond to the call, but I’ve been to the North Lawn, and could see the snipers from the street and on the surrounding buildings. The White House is just too protected to make an assault like the one depicted.

I enjoyed the movie as long as I didn’t think too much about what was actually happening.

3.5 out of 5

Second Review by Rebecca Fox

Finally a movie worth seeing! I think they could have come up with a better movie title but I digress. We start out by being introduced to some of the main players. Gerard Butler is Mike Banning, head of the Secret Service detail for the President of the United States, played by Aaron Eckhart. Banning’s character was believable, he was serious, but sweet and the camaraderie between him, the President and his family, and his fellow Secret Service co-workers was natural. This introduction was a slow build but it never felt sluggish, and ended up with President Asher demoting Banning to a desk job. Not because he was a horrible agent but because Banning reminds him of something he doesn’t want to remember. That will make more sense when you wee it.

Afterwards we are jumped to eighteen months from our introduction. Banning’s new desk job happens to have a great view of the White House, taunting him with the job he’ll never have again. The scenes with Banning’s wife, Leah, played by Radha Mitchell, were unnecessary but didn’t drag the movie down, only slightly helping towards making Banning seem like an everyman while revealing bits of his character and how hard it’s been for him to be sidelined. Bannign provides this all on his own.

One day while at work all hell breaks loose and the unthinkable happens, Olympus, code name for the White House, has ‘fallen’. The President and members of his senior staff have been taken hostage inside a bunker in the White House. Now, there are large parts in these takeover scenes that just would never happen, tactically and strategically but I have to say it didn’t matter. For me, being ex-military, I could spot almost all the inaccuracies and I still did not get pulled out of the entertainment.

Banning, seeing this from his work window immediately sets out to try and help. Naturally becoming the only eyes the Pentagon has inside. Just to clarify he doesn’t have ‘inside information’ as the previews say, he just is the man on the inside, the only one that can really be relied on. What ensues is entertaining and suspense filled, with a touch of humor. There are moments of sadness but more often moments where you want to stand up and applaud something that was said or done, it just pulls you in.

Morgan Freeman does a good job playing House Speaker, and acting President, Trumball. I did expect a little bit more from him, almost as if he wasn’t fully used, but it was still a great performance. Vouching for Banning in the Pentagon situation/war room is Secret Service Director Lynn Jacobs, played by Angela Bassett, she was believable as Banning’s cheering section and friend.

Finley Jacobsen did good playing Connor, the President’s son, as a child actor it’s harder for me to enjoy the performance but he didn’t annoy me so it worked. Ashley Judd played the Presidents wife Margaret Asher. Cole Hauser played Roma, the new head of the Secret Service detail for the President, an old co-worker, and Dylan McDermott played ‘retired’ Secret Service agent Forbes, also an old co-worker who now works private security. Melissa Leo, gave, at times, an inspirational performance as Secretary of Defense Ruth McMillan. Then there’s Rick Yune who plays Kang our bad guy. He and Banning had a subtle cat and mouse game almost the whole time that succeeded in creating tension. He did a really great job at making me hate Kang without trying to oversell that we are supposed to hate him.

The movie itself was a great pace, never too slow and the violence while graphic, is not gory or drawn out. You won’t miss anything if you don’t see it in theatres but I’d recommend it.

4 out of 5 stars.