Saturday, 7 September 2013

Olympus Has Fallen, dir. Antoine Fuqua, wr. Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt, st. Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Robert Forster, Cole Hauser, Finley Jacobsen, Ashley Judd, Melissa Leo, Dylan McDermott, Radha Mitchell, Rick Yune

When the Korean Unification Front storm the White House and hold the POTUS and his staff hostage in his underground bunker, retired Special Forces and ex-Presidential aide Mike Banning (Butler) discovers that old habits die hard as he infiltrates the Swiss-cheesed building and takes out Playstation goons that re-spawn at regular intervals. Olympus Has Fallen very quickly descends into Air Force One-style "Foreigners Against the USA" jingoism but with none of the real sense of urgency or leading man charisma. Director Fuqua directs one hell of an opening salvo though, as the Koreans' meticulously orchestrated assault and infiltration unfolds with brutal relentlessness, but Butler is patently no John McClane or James Marshall and the film's clear-the-level-and-move-on structuring is tiring. The violence is unpalatably casually explicit at times for such a popcorn flick, and the immense body count unsettles - especially during the film's climactic rescue, when Banning and the President (Eckhart) stumble out of the White House - the last survivors - and josh with each other about insurance as the corpses of his staff litter his lawn.