Starring: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Running Time: 119 mins
Olympus Has Fallen is an American film about a former Secret Service agent who finds himself holed up in the White House after terrorists attack the building and take the President hostage. With Washington D.C. in chaos, only he can save the world from destruction.
As far as big, loud and pretty much apocalyptic Hollywood blockbusters go, Olympus Has Fallen is often surprisingly entertaining, but also predictably bland. With relatively middling visual effects, a fairly generic story and underwhelming performances, it’s far from a thrill ride of a blockbuster, but its endless implausibility makes it an enjoyable watch regardless.
For the most part, Olympus Has Fallen is pretty much everything you’d expect from a Gerard Butler-led action thriller. Loud, full of explosions, and short on dramatic depth, the film is far from a cinematic masterpiece, but you can’t deny its capacity to entertain at times.
While it’s by no means on the level of the likes of Die Hard, lacking a certain charisma, the film does have a wonderfully enjoyable implausibility about it all the way through. It can feel that seemingly preposterous movies bear themselves out ever more in the real world, but Olympus Has Fallen is even too ridiculous for reality to mimic it.
In that, if you go into this film with measured expectations, not looking for gripping emotional drama and nuanced characterisation, then there is a good amount of fun to be had with it. Its violence may seem a little on the heavy side, but the movie is largely a modern rerun of Hollywood blockbusters from the late ’90s, many of which have their charms.
Saying that, however, there are still so many things about Olympus Has Fallen that make it a spectacularly mediocre watch. For one, Gerard Butler is hardly the charismatic lead that such a bland blockbuster desperately needs, bringing little to his leading role among a mostly low-energy ensemble cast.
Also, despite the heavy reliance on visual effects, a lot of the CGI here is really rather poor. 2013 wasn’t all too long ago, and Olympus Has Fallen often looks at least ten years older than when it was released, a real shock for a film with such a high ($70m) budget.
And finally, while it doesn’t really need saying, there isn’t much to this story that makes it particularly interesting. The appeal of Olympus Has Fallen is the chaos and destruction on screen, and its screenwriting, characterisation and such do little to bring anything else to the table.
Lacking emotional depth, interesting twists, three-dimensional characters and so much more, this is as thin as blockbuster writing gets, but the film is salvaged by its propensity for total ridiculousness.
Overall, then, Olympus Has Fallen really is quite the mixed bag. Despite being enjoyably implausible, the film is a largely bland affair, with disappointing visuals, writing and acting across the board. So, that’s why I’m giving it a 6.6.