I’ve decided to do a review of the Gerard Butler headed “Olympus has fallen” not because it was any good, but because it was so silly that I wanted to forensically dissect the silliness. That said, it’s a perfectly entertaining leave-brain-outside movie, it’s just that it was so crammed with dopiness that I had to write about it.
So: spoiler alert! Don’t read on if you’re planning to see it, because I’m going to give away some key “plot” (word used very loosely) points.
First of all, cliche watch:
Square jawed president? Check. Two actually, with Morgan Freeman as the acting president. I think you can actually see Morgan Freeman’s paycheque blutacked to the camera in some scenes.
Annoying cute young “I’m scared!” presidential son who inserts clunky “cute” back story @like that time you ate all the ice cream, Dad!”? Check.
Tragic background (“It wasn’t your fault, Mike, and the president knows it too!”) that explains ex-Special Forces (they’re ALWAYS ex-Special Forces. Is there anyone actually left IN the Special Forces?) Butler’s Secret Service sidelining? Check.
Kickass no nonsense black woman in position of power (USSS chief Angela Bassett)? Check.
North Koreans as baddies? Check.
Moronically stupid Secret Service personnel who seemed to be queuing up to run into sustained automatic gunfire as opposed to actually taking cover and waiting for help from the US Army, which is 15 minutes away? Check.
Blowhard general (Robert Foster) who keeps falling for the most obvious terrorist traps, and decides that Gerard Butler is the main problem, not the terrorists? Check.
Pointless estranged wife who spends entire movie looking constipated and turns up at the White House at the end despite not knowing that her husband was in it? Check.
Then, there’s the ludicrous terrorist plot. Never mind the actual attack on the White House, which is quite a spectacle and relatively credible. The entire attack is based initially on the premise that the life of the US president is worth more than the US’s entire national security, which no one bothers to question throughout the entire movie. In fact, Gerard Butler seems to know more about the Korean geo-political situation than the entire National Security Council. And I mean Gerard Butler the actor, not the agent he’s playing.
Finally, the whole political premises on which the movie is based seems to be written by someone who has only ever seen politics through movies, and not even political movies. At one point, the president juts his jaw out (he does this a lot) and declares that “the United States does not negotiate with terrorists!”, which is something Hollywood screenwriters always thinks sounds good, but sounds silly because everybody knows it is not actually true. If he said “the United States only negotiates with credible terrorist groups we’re actually afraid of,” at least that would be honest.
Finally, there are also glaring plot holes (Or maybe I just missed them) where the terrorists get some vital codes almost casually having spent the whole movie torturing people for them. Then there’s the bizarre point where the US has a system to destroy nuclear missiles which accidentally launch by causing them to explode in a nuclear fireball, which surely defeats the whole point?
Curiously, I did actually enjoy the flick, and have a suspicion it could become a cult so-bad-it’s-good favorite. Butler is quite good, Eckhart is very underused, and the action scenes are fun. Rick Yune, the lead terrorist, seems to be the go-to guy in Hollwood for baddy Koreans these days, which at least guarantees him a decent living until that nut in Pyongyang overplays his hand.