For what this is, it’s actually pretty good. ‘Olympus Has Fallen’ marks the first film since 9/11 to show a terrorist attack on the White House. With that premise, it doesn’t sound great, The Red Dragon does not recall many of the old ‘The President is in danger!’ films being particularly enthralling, however, it is delivered via a fairly no nonsense approach here, and the orchestration of the attack itself is reasonably believable given events in the real world a decade ago, although the same cannot truly be said of its execution. It does also suffer from an inevitable cheese factor, but it’s at least cut and fed to us in thin slices, not detracting from the film as much as some of its predecessors.
Gerard Butler plays the secret service agent who must don his John McClane cap (lots of strong parallels with the original ‘Die Hard’ (88), and one can’t help but feel this could have served as a much better version of the fifth instalment, ‘A Good Day to Die Hard’) in order to try and save the beleaguered President, played by Aaron Eckhart, whilst Morgan Freeman, who of course played the President in ‘Deep Impact’ (98), also appears as the member of the White House staff who must take on the reins of power in light of his commander in chief’s compromised position. Also with another good turn from Melissa Leo, who certainly gains the audience’s sympathy by essentially being used as a punchbag at one point. From director Antoine Fuqua, who helmed the much maligned but really not that bad ‘King Arthur’ in 2004 (with the enchanting Miss Knightley of course) as well as ‘Training Day’ (01) and ‘Brooklyn’s Finest’ (09). Expect strong violence, explosions, bullets, and, well, death, throughout.