Film Review: ‘Olympus Has Fallen’ by Erica Laxson

If you think the sequester hit DC hard, just wait til you see what the terrorists have in store for the capitol in Olympus Has Fallen, written by Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt. With current tensions heating up in the East, Director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day and Tears of the Sun) has a created a culturally relevant, edge of your seat thriller that inspires conflicting fear and awe as you watch this all too realistic worst case scenario.

Finley Jacobsen, left, and Gerard Buter star in "Olympus Has Fallen." (Phil Caruso/FilmDistrict/MCT)
Finley Jacobsen, left, and Gerard Buter star in “Olympus Has Fallen.” (Phil Caruso/FilmDistrict/MCT)

In a classic redemption tale turned explosive adventure, disgraced Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) uses tactical prowess, sheer will power, and good old fashioned love of America to save the White House, and President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart), from terrorist mastermind Kang Yeonsak (Rick Yune). Though both terrorist and American casualties add up, it was disheartening to think our future is resting in one man’s hands.

Supported by reluctantly powerful Speaker Allan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman) and dedicated Secret Service Director Lynn Jacobs (Angela Bassett), Banning sneaks, shoots, and stabs his way through the halls our nations’ most well-known building, which was recreated in stunning detail. Kudos to Connor (Finley Jacobsen) and Margaret Asher (Ashley Judd) for rounding out the modern royal family of America and bringing humanity to Eckhart’s President Asher.

Don’t let the opening lull fool you, as viewers are in for quite a bit of anxiety. Once you get used to Fuqua’s penchant for violently killing off characters, the brutal mortality of everyone in the world becomes refreshingly honest. People die every day, just as they are forced to make tough decisions with major consequences. Secretary of Defense Ruth McMillan (Melissa Leo), Forbes (Dylan McDermott) and Agent Roma (Cole Hauser) all make an important choice and must pay for their actions, be they noble or self serving.

With quite a few women holding positions of power in this universe, it was wonderful to see women as a part of the invading forces as well. From the technical genius of Lim (Malana Lea) to the marksmanship and courage of several terrorists, confident and independent women are absolutely present in this world and they are not to be messed with. Despite Banning’s own love, Leah (Radha Mitchell) fulfilling an important role as a nurse, her brief appearances make it obvious she was created purely as a receptacle for Banning’s love, rather than a fully fleshed out character.

Olympus-Has-Fallen poster 2 useThe special effects deserve a lion’s share of this movie’s success. Without the beautifully shot fire fights, well executed explosions, and thorough destruction of America’s most sacred sites Olympus Has Fallen would join the ranks of other, less thrilling and easily forgettable movies of the same genre. Fans will be eager to watch this again and again, despite knowing the outcome, just to experience the epic pyrotechnics.

Olympus Has Fallen exposes the humanity of even the most powerful, or godlike, among us. We are constantly forced to confront the tough decisions when it comes to life. Honestly, is one life more important than another? We, like Banning, must ask if we’d be willing to make a personal sacrifice in the name of something greater.

As a bonus for DC area residents, you’ll spend the entire movie thinking about where you would be in a similar real world situation and what you would do next. I imagine crowds of our nation’s military will get an extra kick out of putting themselves in Banning’s nearly impossible to fill shoes. This movie is perfect for fans of Butler’s previous action flick work (300, Gamer, and Law Abiding Citizen) but it will also please moviegoers who enjoy a good ass kicking or love watching a hero save the day.

Olympus Has Fallen is a suspenseful thrill-ride full of stunning explosions, top notch tactical executions, and American bravery that keeps you guessing until the very end.

Olympus Has Fallen opened nationwide on March 22, 2013.

Running Time: One Hour and 40 minutes.

Here are DC area theatres where Olympus Has Fallen is playing:

AMC Loews Georgetown 14
3111 K Street N.W., Washington, DC
‎10:15‎  ‎11:40am‎  ‎1:15‎  ‎2:30‎  ‎4:15‎  ‎5:30‎  ‎7:15‎  ‎8:30‎  ‎10:15pm

AMC Tysons Corner 16
7850 Tysons Corner Center, McLean, VA
‎7:50‎  ‎10:40pm‎
Regal Ballston Common 12
671 N. Glebe Road, Arlington, VA
‎1:50‎  ‎3:30‎  ‎4:50‎  ‎6:20‎  ‎7:00‎  ‎7:40‎  ‎9:10‎  ‎9:50‎  ‎10:30pm‎
Regal Gallery Place Stadium 14
707 Seventh Street NW, Washington, DC
‎11:10am‎  ‎12:10‎  ‎2:00‎  ‎3:10‎  ‎4:10‎  ‎4:55‎  ‎6:10‎  ‎7:10‎  ‎8:00‎  ‎9:10‎  ‎10:10‎  ‎10:50pm‎
AMC Loews Center Park 8
4001 Powder Mill Rd., Beltsville, MD
‎11:00am‎  ‎1:45‎  ‎4:30‎  ‎7:15pm‎
Regal Hyattsville Royale Stadium 14
6505 America Blvd., Hyattsville, MD
‎12:45‎  ‎3:30‎  ‎4:25‎  ‎6:20‎  ‎7:20‎  ‎9:20‎  ‎10:25pm‎
Regal Cinemas Germantown Stadium 14
20000 Century Boulevard, Germantown, MD
‎11:10am‎  ‎2:00‎  ‎3:30‎  ‎4:40‎  ‎7:10‎  ‎7:50‎  ‎9:50‎  ‎10:30pm‎
Academy Stadium Theaters
6198 Greenbelt Rd., Greenbelt, MD
‎11:15am‎  ‎2:00‎  ‎4:40‎  ‎7:25pm‎
AMC Loews White Flint 5
11301 Rockville Pike, Kensington, MD
‎10:10am‎  ‎12:55‎  ‎4:30‎  ‎7:15pm‎
Regal Rockville Stadium 13
199 East Montgomery Avenue, Rockville, MD
‎12:45‎  ‎3:40‎  ‎4:45‎  ‎6:40‎  ‎7:40‎  ‎9:35‎  ‎10:35pm‎
Regal Bethesda 10
7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, MD
‎12:40‎  ‎4:00‎  ‎7:10‎  ‎10:15pm‎
Montgomery Royal Theatres
11006 Viers Mill Road, Wheaton, MD
‎11:20am‎  ‎1:35‎  ‎4:00‎  ‎6:15‎  ‎8:25‎  ‎10:20pm‎
AMC Mazza Gallerie
5300 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, DC
‎11:10am‎  ‎2:00‎  ‎4:50‎  ‎7:40‎  ‎10:30pm‎
Regal Majestic 20 & IMAX
900 Ellsworth Drive, Silver Spring, MD
‎10:10‎  ‎11:00am‎  ‎12:45‎  ‎1:50‎  ‎3:35‎  ‎4:30‎  ‎6:35‎  ‎7:30‎  ‎9:15‎  ‎10:10pm‎
AMC Loews Rio Cinemas 18
9811 Washingtonian Blvd., Gaithersburg, MD
‎11:05am‎  ‎12:30‎  ‎2:10‎  ‎3:20‎  ‎5:10‎  ‎6:20‎  ‎8:15‎  ‎9:20pm‎
Kentlands Stadium 10
629 Center Point Way, Gaithersburg, MD

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