FILM: Overplayed patriotism

In Arts & Entertainment
Courtesy of MCT
Courtesy of MCT

Terrorists invade the White House in Olympus Has Fallen, this year’s Die Hard clone.

Gerard Butler (300) is Secret Service agent Mike Banning, the head of the team that protects U.S. President Benjamin Asher, played by Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight).

The film picks up 18 months after a tragic accident on a snowy highway, with Banning being transferred to working behind a desk at the Treasury Department and President Asher meeting with the South Korean prime minister at the White House.

Washington D.C. is suddenly attacked by a heavily-armed gunship and chaos ensues.

As the aircraft terrorizes the streets from above, the president and the prime minister’s staff are ushered into a security bunker below.

Terrorists violently take over the bunker and everyone inside is taken hostage.

Meanwhile above ground, the gunship is eventually shot down, taking the top of the Washington Monument with it. More terrorist mercenaries come off the streets and a firefight takes place on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The White House gates are eventually breached, and the terrorists advance on the main entrance.

Banning, having seen the attack from his office window, has made his way to the battle and begins taking out the enemies with deadly precision.

Banning sneaks inside the White House where the terrorists eventually take over and execute all remaining survivors.

The leader of the terrorist group is Kang Yeonsak, played by Chinese actor Rick Yune (The Fast and the Furious), who is in the White House bunker holding the president, his staff and his guests at gunpoint.

The new acting leaders for the United States is headed by Speaker of the House Allan Trumbull, acted by the exceptional Morgan Freeman (The Shawshank Redemption). He is ordered by Kang, via video conference, to remove American troops from the area around his country and is given a deadline.

More firefights ensue while a proverbial clock threatens the United States.

The movie is an extreme cliché and predictable. Blood is spilled from knives and bullets, with plenty of F-bombs thrown in to make sure the audience knows they are watching an R-rated film.

Standard action movie acting is present, where lines are said just to fill time and progress the absurd story.

There is also laughably bad, overly-dramatic acting by side characters; which is surprising since most are notable actors in their own right.

Even Freeman’s normal charisma is nowhere to be seen. Maybe it went to the movie’s star, for some of Butler’s charm shines through in small parts of action and comedy.

Other failed talent would be that of the no-so-special effects department.

Smoke grenades thrown on the White House lawn and an automated turret that pops out of the mansion’s roof are just two examples where computer generated objects look unnatural in real environments.

However, the most annoying thing is how painfully patriotic the movie tries to be. It is filled with American flags, sorrowful music and the constant reminder of being the world’s “number one nation.”

At one point, the Secretary of Defense even screams the Pledge of Allegiance as she is dragged away by the terrorists.

Perhaps it should have been released closer to July 4. The movie does, after all, take place the day after and the American audiences are usually in the mood to see of red, white and blue during that time of year. Lots of red blood, a white mansion and a blue mood of disappointment are a perfect fit for the film.

Olympus Has Fallen fails in its clear attempt to imitate.  It provides a lot of shooting with a few chuckles, but was doomed once the title was shown.

Giving the president’s mansion the name of Olympus may have been a little egotistic, for in this case, pride definitely goes before the fall.

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