By Dave Steele| @KyKernel
Former Army Ranger Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) has finally earned his place at the head of the Secret Service Presidential Detail. After months on the job, Banning has built up a strong, visceral relationship with President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart), his wife, Margaret (Ashley Judd), and their son, Connor.
On a snowy December night while returning from a trip to Camp David, the President’s limo crashes and is left teetering high above a frozen lake. As training kicks in, Banning saves Asher first, but to his dismay, he has no time to save the first lady and she falls to an icy grave.
Eighteen months later, Banning has been reassigned to a desk job for the Treasury Department. He wants nothing more than to rejoin the Presidential Detail, but Asher insists that the memories are too painful.
Meanwhile, back at the White House, Asher is holding a meeting with the South Korean prime minister to discuss diplomatic issues concerning North Korea. Just as everything seems to be going so smoothly, all hell breaks loose. A hijacked USAF gunship enters restricted airspace and starts raining high caliber bullets on what should be the most protected building on earth.
After the plane is finally shot down, hundreds of terrorists disguised as civilians storm the gates and overwhelm the already pummeled security forces.
As Asher and the South Korean prime minister are whisked away to the bunker, they soon realize that one of the South Korean escorts is really terrorist leader Kang Yeonsak in disguise. With help from a traitor working inside the White House, what’s thought to be a mindless attack has now come to light as an incredibly sophisticated hostage crisis. Yeonsak demands access to sensitive nuclear codes in exchange for the president’s life.
Hearing the commotion from his office at the Treasury, Banning manages to sneak into the White House before the terrorists seal it off. Now Banning is the only source of intel to Speaker of the House Allan Trumbell (Morgan Freeman), who is now the acting president. It’s now up to Banning and Trumbell’s team at the Pentagon to coordinate a plan to rescue Asher and save the country from nuclear chaos.
“Olympus Has Fallen” has many characteristics of some of today’s most popular video games. Its fast-paced, mindless violence and epic battle sequences set the stage for what could be the next “Die Hard,” set in our nation’s capital. Sounds fun, right? Now imagine having to sit there and watch your friend play through the entire game. That is what some audience members will feel like after sitting through nearly two hours of nothing but shooting, stabbing and exploding at the controls of director Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day”). For every 30 minutes of killing there might be two minutes of actual plot and elaboration. While this might be perfect for games like “Call of Duty,” moviegoers are going to want a little more than the occasional in-game cut scene.
Props go to Eckhart, Butler, and Freeman, who truly give it their all, but in the end, they just aren’t given very much to work with in terms of dialogue. The film just seems like an endless cycle of one-liners that will roll the eyes of even the most seasoned action junkies.
Despite the film’s flaws, Fuqua keeps things moving fast enough to make up for the two-hour run time.
If you know what you’re getting into, “Olympus Has Fallen” can actually be fun, but don’t expect anything new here.