What Did I Like?
I watched this movie over the weekend and I was totally blown away. The trailers make it seem like a generic action flick. In actuality , it has a lot going for it. There are strong performances from all the main actors, and the action remains dramatic, tense and taught to the very end. In particular the villain, played by Rick Yune, is one dedicated and remorseless enemy. He steals the show with his menacing take no prisoners attitude.
The concept is over the top, but somehow it works. It’s also pretty brutal with scenes of women being beaten and bad guys getting knives thrust through their skulls like they were watermelons. Gerard Butler kicks some serious ass and you feel the weight of each punch, bullet and explosion. At times, it harkens back to old-school action films where one man beats all the elements to emerge victorious. I would probably sum it up as the child of Die Hard, 24 and Under Siege.
Antoine Fuqua’s direction also keeps things moving at a good pace. I never felt lost or confused by the action or the camera work, even though I was stuck sitting up in the front row. It’s also a good length and doesn’t feel rushed or too cliched in its execution.
What Did I Not Like?
Action movies can be a mixed bag. Some are smarter than others. Olympus Has Fallen is not an exception and a few things fall flat. For the most part, the script ties everything together and answers most of the question you might have. Start thinking too far outside the box and you’re only punishing yourself. I would have liked to have seen more character development, but that’s like asking an elephant to be a tiger. The film sets up a big character background for Gerard Butler, but it doesn’t really develop into anything meaningful. The same goes for the villain. There is a backstory, but it’s never presented to the audience in a substantial way. Aaron Eckhart is also passable as the president. Some of the one liners work, while others not so much. Finally, during the movie one of the characters asks a HUGE question to people around him. It’s the elephant in the room, but the movie COMPLETELY glosses over it. Heck, pointing it out added an extra dimension tot he drama and mystery, but it goes unresolved.
Overall, I enjoyed the movie and I was hooked all the way through. Try not to overthink it and forgive it for its small amount of negligence to the script, audience and the characters. It’s certainly a step above other mindless action movies with a robust cast, direction and drama. After a dull winter and Oscar season, Olympus Has Fallen lights the fire and paves the way (strewn with dead bodies and explosions) for a strong Spring and Summer movie season.