Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Political Die Hard
Every now and again, we get a movie that seems identical to another movie that is released sometime the same year. For example, in 1998, both A Bugs Life, and Antz were released, along with Armageddon and Deep Impact. The Prestige and The Illusionist in 2006 and 2012 had Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman. The list goes on and on, and this year, a few others are added onto the list. Such as Oblivion and After Earth, A Haunted House and Scary Movie 5, and finally how can you forget Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down? The latter seems to be a pair that has the closest plot out of any of the aforementioned films. Usually, whatever the case may be, one usually comes out on top…so how is Olympus Has Fallen?
This film centers on Gerard Butler’s character, Mike Banning. Banning used to be on the President’s detail, and was one of the best secret service agents around, thanks to a history in Special Forces. When the First Lady dies in a traffic accident on Banning’s clock, he leaves the secret service. A year and a half later, Banning works in the treasury department when the White House is taken under siege. Among the chaos, the President (Aaron Ekhart) is taken into the bunker and Banning makes his way into the White House, where he silently strikes and takes down the terrorists one by one in order to save the President, and ultimately, the country, as the plans for a nuclear holocaust are divulged.
In the scheme of things, the movie is strikingly similar to the plot of the first Die Hard film. The White House is taken hostage, and a white action hero scours the building alone, making sarcastic remarks to the terrorist, who lurks beneath, all the while speaking to the black guy who is talking him through the whole ordeal. In that regards, you might think Bruce Willis may be a better fit than Butler. Even Kiefer Sutherland’s history in the TV show, 24 may have given him enough credentials to fit the role perfectly; however, he is currently busy with his new show, Touch. Gerard Butler does hold his own, even if he wasn’t the best fit for the role. The acting wasn’t the issue.
The cast was also comprised of incredible talent that we all recognize. Butler, Ekhart, Morgan Freeman, Dylan McDermott, and Ashley Judd among the list. The plot is thought provoking, and a promising action flick. The problem arises when all you can really say about the plot is the fact that it is promising, because it doesn’t successfully go beyond that. One incredibly important element to a film, that in essence acts as glue, is the film’s tone. Unfortunately, Olympus Has Fallen feels too much like a production. It looks and feels fake.
A movie feeling like a production is a dangerous place for a movie to be in, because you then lose any sense of emotion from the actors, you aren’t convinced that this is actually happening, so you don’t feel in danger. The CGI effects seem dull, and the White House doesn’t really feel like the White House. You soon realize that apart from the Oval Office, they try to convince the audience that this is really the White House simply by throwing in plenty of presidential paintings. I can throw official paintings of presidents up on my wall at home…that doesn’t make my house the White House.
The fact of the matter is that the movie had a great idea, and maybe Roland Emmerich’s White House Down will hold more water into the believability about what is truly happening. The actors gave it their all, and all of this should be recognized and respected. If there wasn’t another movie coming out soon with practically the same plot, I would say this is definitely a movie you should at least give the benefit of the doubt, but as it is now…you have an option between two movies, and given Emmerich’s reputation, White House Down is most likely going to be the better film of the two.
Regardless, you will still want to know what happens in the end of the movie, so it isn’t a waste to check out. Olympus Has Fallen came to theaters on Mar. 22, check it out!