Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Olympus Has Fallen (R/Approx. 130 Min.)
I should have hated (okay, greatly disliked) this movie. Not exactly what movie makers want to hear, I’m sure, but still. I should have. Yet I didn’t.
Olympus Has Fallen is about a terrorist take-over of the White House. The President has been taken hostage and only one man, a man who he probably feels let him down before, is in a position to get him out.
That’s about as cut and dried as I can get it. It sounds like a fun story, right? It’s sort of Die Hard meets Cliffhanger meets Taken meets 300 meets The Departed meets The American President. Minus the romance.
If you’ve seen the movie The Departed you might have some idea of why I shouldn’t have liked this movie. I was almost ill by the end of that film due to all the killing; especially the shots to the head. Olympus gave it a run for its money. The violence was so over the top but it didn’t bother me as much as the other did. Maybe I’m becoming numb to it. I hope not.
I hate ever having to say SPOILER ALERT but the following 2 paragraphs do give a small glimpse in to a couple of scenes. I don’t think it will ruin anything for anyone but I felt the need to put it out there just in case.
So, why should I have hated it? It was so completely unrealistic. But it’s a movie!!! I do understand that but the lack of reality was a tad offensive in some cases. Who could possibly be offended? Let’s start with the US Military and Secret Service. How dumb do the producers think these people are? Yes, our service men and women have been known to sacrifice their lives for their country but I found it very hard to believe that they were forced to do some of the things they did. You cannot sit there and tell me that the acting President is going to trust the inside man for all the intel he’s providing and then not listen to him when he, oh so fervently, warns him about a ginormous weapon that could be a danger to the soldiers being sent in to rescue the elected President. Also, and I know this is kind of vague, you should NEVER put all your eggs in one basket. You’re really going to trust the fate of the nation to a small number of human beings without some kind of overriding authority? I don’t think so.
As for the Secret Service…I strongly believe that if their fellow agents were being gunned down right in front of them and there was absolutely no way to stop the slaughter, they were not going to run out in to it too. It was a major (needless) 300 moment. They would have regrouped and come at it from a different angle. And I am going to take a risk here and believe that the agents have a set protocol for a reason. They do their job the way they’ve been trained and stick to it no matter what the President says. Otherwise, what’s the point? The President doesn’t feel like going to a secret cave when the country is under attack? Super. The President wants to decide who joins him in said cave? Oh well. Okay. Because he’s the President. The agents should just go with those whims. Right? Ummmm….no. And who on earth would put the President AND the Vice President IN THE SAME ROOM during this kind of crisis? Maybe I give them too much credit but I don’t think so. I’m worried about the country and any President if those protecting us are really that boneheaded. Having said that, the movie wouldn’t have gone the way it did had the agents not been so malleable.
Another thing I loved/hated was the foreshadowing. I knew the sparring match at the beginning was going to be useful later on. I knew we’d see the drone again. I knew the discussion between the First Son and the agent was going to come in to play at some point. I knew something was going to happen to the dog. So, I was right about at least one of them. The one I absolutely knew was going to happen didn’t. That was just a cheap shot. I know I won’t be the only person to expect the same. There was also one instance in which I wish they had used foreshadowing. Or maybe it ended up on the cutting room. Or maybe they just didn’t think of it. It involved the bad guy and the bad girl. I was expecting a Cliffhanger kind of relationship between the two of them. I was wrong.
Finally, a little technical criticism. The sound was wonky. I can’t believe I’m saying this but it wasn’t loud enough in parts. Usually I have to cover my ears during parts of action films but I didn’t have to at all this time (thank goodness) and some of the dialogue was really hard to hear. Just the rustle of popcorn bags covered it up and no one in the theater was being excessively noisy with their concessions. And at least one line seemed to have gotten dorked up in the editing process. Something Gerard Butler said kind of skipped. Whoops!
I considered not talking about any of the characters but I feel I must. At least a few of them, anyway.
Gerard Butler is Mike Banning; ex-Secret Service and the “inside man”. He got to play the action hero with the gooey inside. So the latter was only in a couple scenes but it was still there. I liked him in this movie. Then again, I’ve liked him in every movie in which I’ve seen him. There were parts of his character, though, that seemed to be lacking. The scenes with his wife (Radha Mitchell) almost didn’t need to be included. They didn’t do anything for the story except introduce someone who might worry about him. I wonder how many of Radha’s lines were left on the cutting room floor. I think they should have also played up Banning’s friendship with the First Son (Finley Jacobsen) more. But they didn’t. So there. Speaking of Finley…he was way underutilized. I did love his character’s call sign though.
Aaron Eckhart is President Benjamin Asher. I know he’s played many roles but I will always see him as Harvey Dent/Two Face. So I’m a Batfan. I thought he was going to have a bigger role in Olympus but he didn’t really. He got to be the loving husband for a little bit. He got to be the pal dad for an even shorter amount of time. What we saw most was the “you’ll-have-to-pry-this-nuke-from-my-cold-dead-fingers” side of him and there wasn’t even much of that. Once again, there had to have been so much more left in the cutting room.
Morgan Freeman is the Speaker of the House/Acting President. I don’t know if it’s in his movie contracts or what but there’s just something about Mr. Freeman that says, “I’m not going to look like an idiot.” Even though I didn’t agree with one or two of his decisions in Olympus it was hard not to respect him anyway. I would vote for him for President. At least I know his State of the Union addresses wouldn’t be boring.
Dylan McDermott is Agent Forbes and his character made me angrier than anyone else in the movie. Not only was he predictable but he didn’t stick to his guns, so to speak. I completely disagree that Forbes would have done what he did and then changed his mind at the last minute. He would have gone down fighting. Oh so frustrating!
I’ll end the character comments with Melissa Leo. What I couldn’t stand her for in The Fighter I loved her for in Olympus Has Fallen. She plays the Secretary of Defense and she is a tough old broad. Please excuse the “old”. She is involved in one of the violent scenes and I wanted to cringe for her but she was just so “bring it” that I cheered for her instead. I was a bit angry, though, that her bravado was banked by an order from the President. She was later involved in a scene in which I just barely stopped myself from covering my eyes. Oh the thrill of it all.
Olympus Has Fallen is rated R for a reason. Well, for two really. The cussing and the violence. There’s no need to break it down any more than that because that’s basically all there is. To say it’s violent is putting it mildly. The carnage was spectacular. I don’t mean that in a positive way. And they were not biased about who was affected. Some of the shooting scenes went too quickly to see exactly who all was hit but we saw it later in the hospital scenes. After the violence, the cussing seems almost unmentionable. Almost. It happens. And quite often. Please please PLEASE do NOT take children to see this movie. I’d be okay if PT never saw it.
If you liked any of the movies (except The American President) mentioned at the beginning of this post you’ll probably like Olympus Has Fallen. If you don’t like violence stay far, far away. I had a bit of trouble getting past the things previously mentioned but still ended up liking it. This probably isn’t anything I could watch repeatedly. I’d definitely watch it again but with Spike just to listen to him moan about the ridiculousness of it all. My only request for this film? Fix the sound and take another look at the cuttings. You left a few things out.
There was nothing after the credits at the pre-screening so head on home and discuss how you could have made this so much better but liked what you saw anyway.