Olympus Has Fallen

I honestly stayed away from trailers, promos, reviews and interviews of a lot of big budget movies this year and that is so true of Olympus Has Fallen. I almost forgot about this movie until a few days ago and finally watched it last night. Die Hard In the White House – that’s the phrase that kept playing in my head from the moment the White House was taken over by the terrorists and I feel like they should have gone with that as a tagline for the movie! You can call it an homage, to me it’s like rehashing an old formula and frankly I wasn’t very impressed. Still I stuck with it and the cliches and cheesiness of trying to make a patriotic hero out of a fallen one and – are we now going to see Arabs moving out as villains to make way for North Koreans in Hollywood blockbusters?

The movie, directed by Antoine Fuqua, stars Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, and Morgan Freeman. Butler co-produced the film with Alan Siegel & Mark Gill. The cast is rounded out by Angela Basset, Dylan McDermott, Radha Mitcher, Cole Hauser & Melissa Leo and a brief appearance by Ashley Judd. So what’s the movie about? Well we have the President Benjamin Asher boxing in a private ring with his lead Secret Service agent, Mike Banning, before he is called to get ready for a party. Banning has a friendly relationship with the Prez, the first lady & their son Connor. On their way from Camp David to a fundraiser party, a tree falls in front of the President’s convoy, making the vehicles skid out of control on black ice on a bridge. The President’s car hits a bridge and hangs on balance at the edge; Banning is able to pull Asher out but just as he does so, the car falls into the icy river below, killing the First Lady and two agents. 18 months later, Banning is now working at the Treasury Department, quite near the White House as seeing him reminds Asher of his wife’s death. So that’s fallen out of favour part. Ok, now the South Korean PM is on his way to the White House for a meeting with the US Prez. That’s when all hell breaks loose.

Among his entourage are North Korean supporters and they and a large guerrilla force who have infiltrated the group begin the attack on the white house. This group includes Dave Forbes, an ex-US Secret Service agent turned private contractor. The guerrilla forces, mount an air and ground assault that results in the capture of the White House. Several Secret service men are killed but they are able to inflict considerable damage to the Koreans before dying. In the melee Asher and several top officials are held hostage in the White House bunker where Prime Minister Lee is killed by Kang Yeonsak, an ex-terrorist & the mastermind behind the attack. He hopes to reunite the two Koreas and demands that the US military withdraws it’s force from South Korea thereby leaving the nation at the mercy of the bigger military forces of the North. He also seeks to destroy all of America’s nuclear weapons in their silos and turn the United States into an irradiated wasteland as revenge for the death of his parents when his mother was killed by an American landmine and his father was executed for crimes against North Korea. He demands the access codes  to a system in the bunker called Cerberus: a fail-safe device that self-detonates any U.S. nuclear missiles during an abort, which are held by three top government officials within the bunker, including the President. Asher orders the other two officials to reveal their codes to save their lives, certain that he will not give up his code.

Banning meanwhile has shot, fought and karate chopped his way into the white house, killing a bunch of the terrorists on the way. disables the internal surveillance and gains access to Asher’s satellite phone, which he uses to maintain contact with Allan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman), the Speaker of the House who is now the Acting President. He must first find and rescue Connor, which he does and leads him to the roof where waiting US soldiers pull him to safety. Forbes is sent to find and kill Banning but the traitor is found out and killed after a brief fight. Meanwhile, Trumbull orders an aerial SEAL assault on the White House, but Kang’s team deploys an advanced anti-aircraft gun system in his possession owned by the United States, called the Hydra 6. Banning pleads to abort it but but it proceeds and Kang’s henchwoman Lim (Malana Lea) annihilates the assault force before Banning can stop it. Kang retaliates for the attempted infiltration by killing Vice President Charlie Rodriguez. Banning then uses the controls in the Oval office to cut Kang from the communications and the terrorists bring Secretary of Defense Ruth McMillan outside to kill her but with Banning’s help she escapes and several of Kang’s men are killed. With Kang’s forces dwindling, he fakes his own death as well as Asher’s death by sacrificing several of his men and the remaining hostages.

Finally it’s just a couple of his men and him, so Kang activates Cerberus and attempts to escape. Banning catches up to them kills of the men and finally engages in a violent knife fight which ends in Banning killing Kang by stabbing him in the head. Just as he promised him earlier! He then ultimately disables Cerberus with the assistance of Trumbull. Banning and Asher escape the White House. After the events, Washington begins to heal from the attack and Banning once again becomes head of the Presidential Detail with Banning observing President Asher as he addresses the public. Hero is redeamed and all is well. The end! Die Hard rules! 7 outta 10 just for the amazing effort to attack the White House!