Director: Antoine Fuqua
Writers: Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt
Stars: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Dylan McDermott, Finley Jacobsen, Rick Yune, Angela Bassett, Melissa Leo Thriller / Action-Adventure
Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is a secret service agent and the president (Aaron Eckhart) can’t stand the sight of him. So he’s stuck behind a desk, moldering away, frustrated. But he has mad skills (a handy thing), and a strong sense of loyalty.
When something goes terribly, terribly wrong, Mike is in the right place at the right time, and he dives in posthaste to do his part and set things straight. Welcome to Antoine Fugua’s Olympus Has Fallen.
This movie is really uneven. Good performances, but some plot issues.
Banning is great, staying focused through his anger, using common sense, and being super tough. Connor, the president’s preteen son (Finley Jacobsen), also keeps his head throughout, despite his fear. The rest of the U.S. force is unorganized, slow-to-respond, and generally inept. They argue among themselves, and can be petty. They don’t learn from their mistakes, and don’t listen to what intel they are getting.
By contrast, the attackers are perfectly coordinated, with great planning and lots of weapons. They never make a misstep, follow orders without question, and nothing delays them. They have great marksmanship, too. They don’t make mistakes, and they’ve planned for every eventuality.
Even the newscasters are better coordinated than the U.S. defense force.
The bad guys have a distinct goal–that they go after in pieces, slowly–there didn’t seem to be any reason for the delay. Their endgame seemed a bit ill-conceived, too.
Despite all of the ineptitude, I still had fun. Gerard Butler played Mike Banning as earnest and very, very watchable, while Morgan Freeman as Speaker of the House Allan Trumball is so sensible and decisive–I’m ready to vote for him right now. It was entertaining.
There are plot twists I really didn’t see coming. At all. The CGI visuals of the attack are really well done–although some of the images are disturbing (they’re reminiscent of nine-eleven). Tthe light-hearted bits had the entire theater laughing out loud.
And on the very good side of things, this movie features some really strong women characters in key roles. One is the head of the secret service, played by the always watchable Angela Bassett, the other is the secretary of defense (Melissa Leo)–who is tougher than the head of the joint chiefs. And Banning has a wife just to show that he’s a great guy, and that being bitter hasn’t ruined his relationship–she’s an ER nurse, just as busy as he is.
So, go see it. Just don’t expect it to make too much sense . . . .
Elektra Hammond emulates her multi-sided idol Buckaroo Banzai by going in several directions at once.
Elektra lives in Delaware with her husband, Mike, and the cat herd of BlueBlaze/Benegesserit catteries. When not freelancing or appearing at science fiction conventions she travels world-wide judging cat shows.