‘Olympus Has Fallen’ is everything Die Hard 5, a.k.a ‘A Good Day to Die Hard’ should’ve been and more. Whilst I enjoyed old man Bruce Willis’ latest outing as John McClane, it was incohesive, lacked a good villain/story and just passed the time for 90 mins with explosion after explosion. Fast-forward a month or two to ‘Olympus Has Fallen’ and Gerard Butler has shown big Bruce how to do it whilst managing to evoke echoes of the original ‘Die Hard’.
Let’s get things straight. ‘Olympus’ isn’t an earth-shattering film by an stretch. Yet Butler delivers in his role, aping Willis, with some killer lines and some killer moves to match. He carries the brunt of the movie, yet he’s not annoying. Sure he’s super-human at times but my major issue with him in the past is that he has been very annoying, both on the big screen and in interviews.
The story isn’t anything magical either but surprisingly relevant and bang up-to-date: North and South Korea are having a bit of a tiff, and before we know it the Northerners have bombarded the White House, codename Olympus, and it’s left to disgraced ex-agent, Mike Banning (Butler), to save the President and the President’s son. See what I mean?! However, it just works and is funny, action-packed and must have one of the highest kill-to-minute ratios of any film released in a long time. Action aficionados will either find it tiresome or a welcome return back to the drawing board of the classic 80′s and 90′s action films rather than newer, flatter pictures.
Alongside the impressive Butler are a couple of genuinely good performances. Aaron Eckhart may be tied up as President Asher for the bulk of the film but provides a touch of quality in the role which is good to see in this type of film. Morgan Freeman pops up again just a few days after his bit-part appearance in ‘Oblivion’,and has a tad bit more to do and is doing it well. I mean who can’t resist seeing Morgan Freeman playing the part of the President of the United States of America even if it is ‘acting’.
Then, the villains. Whilst it may be slightly stereotypical to have the Americans being heroes against an Asian enemy, at least ‘Olympus’ attempted to create a realistic back story and the leader of the opposition is great, a real highlight. The way they bring down the White House is quick, slick and deceiving with our villain appearing almost out of thin air but actor Rick Yune is great, relishing his part, getting his snarls and glares down to a tee. You genuinely hate him and with regards to a villain, that is just what is needed.
Little sub-plots with Butler’s wife aren’t featured as annoyingly as they could’ve been and his connection with the President’s son is a nice touch. There isn’t a lot more to say really except ‘Olympus’ is a straight-forward, to-the-point action film that isn’t scared of getting violent or sweary but is an entertaining ride for its duration.
3 Stars ★★★✰✰