Search the Internet for director Antoine Fuqua (“Shooter” 2007, “Training Day” 2001) and you will have a pretty good idea of what you are getting yourself into. “Olympus Has Fallen” is classic Fuqua, complete with political implications, blood, sweat, tense relationships and tears, all wrapped up with a happy ending.
The film is set in modern day America at the White House in Washington D.C. However, the movie opens at Camp David, a lodge where the President of the United States, Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart, “The Dark Knight”), and his family are spending the Christmas holiday. The Asher clan are in the midst of preparations to attend a billionaire’s Christmas bash for the evening, all while sweetly lamenting that “duty calls” celebrating as the quiet North American family they “truly” are, is no longer an option. On this note, they depart the snowy lodge, shrouded in Secret Service agents.
During the drive, the President and his wife share a tender and marriage-affirming moment in their limo, exchanging surprise gifts and longing glances. Then, right on cue, all hell breaks loose.
Months later, the president is faced with yet another crisis. In the midst of coping through his personal loss, he must quell the rumblings within his governance. South Korea is revolting, and there are rumors of war. In an effort to maintain peace, President Asher has an amicable meeting with the South Korean president at the White House.All of a sudden, a rogue U.S. Air Force fighter pilot breaches a secure airspace and launches a full-scale attack on the White House out of nowhere.
As the United States’ best and brightest are busy being wiped out by the masses, one man, the President’s former body-guard and close friend, former U.S. Army Ranger Mike Banning (Gerard Butler, “Law Abiding Citizen”), slips through the cracks. He maneuvers through gutted walls and forgotten tunnels to single handedly save the day. This character is of importance because, surprise, he feels responsible for the accidental death of the first lady and consequently must make amends by saving his good friend, the president.
Believe it or not, this movie is worth being seen. Though it reeks of cliches in everything from relationships to maniacal secret terrorists, Butler and Eckhart give a pretty swell performance and Morgan Freeman is, well, Morgan Freeman. This film leaves viewers with a profound sense of patriotism for our young country while being full of explosions, F-bombs, hand-to-hand combat, swanky suits and potential nuclear annihilation, this is a win-win.