‘Olympus Has Fallen’ Short of Expectation

Photo Courtesy of FilmDistrict

Photo Courtesy of FilmDistrict

REDECORATING THE WHITE HOUSE: Mike Banning, played by Gerard Butler, is the only thing standing between the United States and a hostile Korean take over.

Monica Terada, Staff Writer

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As the audience settles into their seats and gets comfy, hundreds of civilians perish in an over the top shower of airplane gunshots and firebombs. North Koreans lead a hell of a guerilla attack against the White House, Secret Service hunk Mike Banning, played by Gerard Butler, throws hard blows with a smug grin. After the 13 minute invasion, “Olympus Has Fallen.”

This action packed motion picture presumes to carry out the taking down of the White House. At first, all seems possible.

The North Koreans appear to have an ample and in depth understanding of the president’s home, even more so than the president (Aaron Eckhart), his Secret Service squad, and almost everyone else running the country. Not only that, but “bad boys” team captain Kang Yeonsak, played by Rick Yune, is intimidating with his well-defined pecs and heavy accent. He says, “Simon says,” and American traitors are at his beck and call.

On the Americans’ side, Banning not only has the rugged pecs, but the integrity of a bull as well. He fights and defeats numerous highly trained Korean enemies, tries to save the president and his son (Finley Jacobsen), while trying to prevent the U.S. from a nuclear disaster, and halfway through all of this, remembers to call his wife to check in on her.

The daring plot moves along just as expected, the hero chasing the villain while the world — in other words, United States — is at stake. There is plenty of fighting for the fans of a good action movie, however, not enough lighting to see who has won. Although obstacles come up, there are hardly any twists to make audiences gasp. A feeling of relief comes at the end, not from the “world” having been saved, but from finally being able to see the exit doors.

The script is too preposterous and clichéd to be taken seriously. When too many loose ends are tied together with cheap explanations, not even Morgan Freeman (Speaker Trumbull) can save the day. A page-one rewrite would help the movie a lot, however not enough to warrant it as a must watch film.

The writers, Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt, wrote the movie in 2002, but in 2011 rewrote the entire thing as it showed some promise. “Olympus Has Fallen” is their first sold script and it marks their debut as big movie writers, possibly giving them a small taste of the Hollywood glitz.

Screenwriting is a craft perfected by practice and who you know in the business. Now that Rothenberger and Benedikt know the right people all they need is tons of practice.

It’s a mediocre flick to take the action hungry teens, but be sure to bring a flashlight to illuminate the exit doors.

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