Review: Olympus Has Fallen

olympus_has_fallenOlympus Has Fallen

  • Starring: Gerard Butler (Law-Abiding Citizen), Aaron Eckhart (Battle: Los Angeles), Morgan Freeman (Deep Impact) and more.
  • Directed by: Antoine Fuqua (Training Day)
  • Synopsis: “When the White House (Secret Service Code: “Olympus”) is captured by a terrorist mastermind and the President is kidnapped, disgraced former Presidential guard Mike Banning finds himself trapped within the building. As our national security team scrambles to respond, they are forced to rely on Banning’s inside knowledge to help retake the White House, save the President, and avert an even bigger disaster.”
  • Rated: Rated R for language and strong violence.
  • Must-Watch Trailer:

A while back, this film made it onto my list of anticipated disappointments of 2013. Hit the jump to read my thoughts if it met my expectations.Olympus has fallen movie

  • Review:


Did I just get teleported back to the ’90s? This latest movie starring Gerard Butler is a far cry from Director Antoine Fuqua’s Training Day in its characters/quality but it definitely is reminiscent of the action flicks of one of the funnest decades of movies. Butler, showing that he does still have what it takes to do more than the dribble-drabble rom-coms he’s been stuck to for the most part since 300, shows that he just might have a few aces up his sleeve and be worthy of an invite from Sylvester Stallone to join the crew of a future installment of The Expendables. (That’s not saying much acting-wise, but acTION-wise, Mr. Gerard Butler, I actually had fun watching you in this movie.)

wh_articleHollywood loves, I mean, LOVES to blow up the White House. Perhaps bitter descendants of British soldiers from the War of 1812 secretly rule and control the coffers of Hollywood (But, then again, perhaps they don’t since Judi Dench and Gary Oldman still never seem to win an Oscar.) In films like this, the question lingers in the back of one’s mind: “Man, what if this really happened? Could it happen like this?” and as the gravity of such a dire situation sinks in it adds a completely different element to the watching experience.

Only, it also calls for the “suspension of belief” as well. Olympus Has Fallen (or as I like to call it: “Die Hard in DC, part 1” [part 2 will star Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx in White House Down on June 28, 2013.]) definitely contains its more than fair share of demanding the “shutting off” of your brain for enjoyment’s sake. Remember the definition of “amuse”? “Muse” meaning “to think/ponder.” The prefix “A-” meaning “not to/the lack of”. Well, Olympus Has Fallen is definitely entertaining and engaging “amusement.” (There. There’s my “Socrates” moment for the day!)Olympus-Has-Fallen-2

An all-star cast is put together to tell this action-packed story that I must admit to enjoying. Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Melissa Leo, Dylan McDermott and more make this a gripping movie to watch from the very beginning to its torn and tattered end. Granted, it is not the best movie and while the Die Hard references will just not die, it is fun, albeit a bit expected, predictable and cookie-cutter, but that’s to be expected from a film like this. Come on! They ALL have the same formula and that’s why we watch them!


Where Olympus Has Fallen takes a turn for the different is in how much more violent it is. Due to the trailer/synopsis we know what is coming, but are held at the edge of our seats all the while! Are there elements of family in this film? yes. Are there elements of love in this film? yes. Are there elements of comedy in this film? yes. But this is not a film for anyone disturbed by terrorist-type violence committed by ruthless and heartless villains. I was surprised by the amount of explosions and executions. (Did Michael Bay produce this film?)OHF_09814.NEF

Here were some of my extra thoughts about Olympus Has Fallen that I recorded on my phone’s voice recorder as I left the theater immediately after watching it:


  • Man, that was just…fun. There were several moments that I had to “shut off” my brain as it were. Don’t question too much and you will enjoy it more.ohf
  • Goes to show what happens when protocol isn’t followed. One correct judgment call could’ve derailed the entire plot. I wonder what the plan would’ve been then.
  • Action-packed, violent and dark at times, yet pulls on the emotions with an adequate balance.
  • Created chills along with causing compassion through the characters.
  • The story leads to an ending, but I would’ve been alright watching Butler fight through the White House a little more, believe it or not.
  • Hated the horrible CGI. Bad. But…I’ve seen worse.
  • This film was on my list of “Anticipating the Top 12 Most Disappointing Movies of 2013, Part 1” and I don’t mind saying it actually surprised me instead as I may have rolled my eyes in a few places, (I wanted to throw up my hands a few time and ask “Really?”) but still liked watching it.
  • Hollywood must also really hate North Korea. ha
  • Anyone remember Sinbad’s First Kid? I thought about it during this movie.
  • Thank you, Gerard Butler, for a pretty good job on a “What If” movie that started strong and kept its momentum. Thank you for replacing some of the credibility of the destroyed name of the one who was King Leonidas.
  • I liked it and can’t say I didn’t.


Haha, I laughed listening to my 3am musings (<—there’s that word again!) of the film! I didn’t put all of my ramblings for you to read, nor shall I, but there ya go!


In conclusion,

Yes, many will compare it to Die Hard, and rightly so. But it still has its own credible threats with a villain that could have had more to offer, a storyline that was cliche but credible (or at least can make you believe so) and a set of events that brought home, literally, the “reality” of the situation and the level of danger. A few moments of “Saw that coming” and “Really? There’s No Way!” but it will still make you cringe, cover your eyes and maybe even cry. But you will also cheer and clap. Now, whether you do any of these because of what happens in the movie or because the credits begin rolling at the end is up to you, but I think it will be more for what the film accomplishes (or seeks to).


Olympus Has Fallen did not fall below my expectations. Again, it’s not the greatest, but it definitely released at the right time of the year and serves as a welcome reprieve given all the garbage in the theaters as of late. I’d go see it again personally before watching Oz the Great and Powerful a 2nd time.olympushasfallen

Score: out of 5 stars for Olympus Has Fallen 

(Remember, to read this review of mine and over 200 more, check out THE ARCHIVE of movies I have reviewed anytime. Know before you go…or rent…or buy!)


Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!

T, The Focused Filmographer


  1. I would’ve enjoyed this film more had it not taken itself so seriously and yes I was surprised how violent it was. Also, considering its budget, they should’ve spent more money on the effects, it looked like something out of the mid 90s. Heck some films from the mid-late 90s has better effects than this movie, Twister, ID4 and The Rock are just some examples.


    • I know what you mean, Ted. I still enjoyed it. There were a couple violent moments that shocked me and made me say “OOOH!” ha.

      I thought of ID4, The Rock and Twister while watching, so it was pretty funny to see you mention those 3 specifically. Ultimately though, I’d go see it again I think, with some friends.


    • Thanks my friend. I didn’t expect to really be impressed on any level with this film and it managed to make me like it. I feel all patriotic at the moment. haha.

      If you see it, please shoot me the link to your review. please


  2. Yeah, I enjoyed it too. Like you I was anticipating that this would be a disappointment, but I wound up pleasantly surprised. Yeah, like you say, I had to turn my brain off here and there, but I can do that easily enough 😉


    • Heehee. brain power OFF! That’s a good switch to have easy access to. I use it everyday myself. 🙂

      there were some moments in the film that definitely asked me to shut off my brain. “amusement.” ha, my Socrates moment was inspired by the comment you left on my Battleship review! remember?


  3. Glad we agree on the rating, T! Like you, I didn’t have a high expectations and would only go see this if it were free, luckily there’s an advanced screening for it. The flaws are quite massive but there are also some emotional and rousing moments that made you laugh and cheer throughout. I’m still not a big fan of GB like I used to but glad to see him in something that didn’t suck, ahah. He’s certainly got the charisma and strength as a one-man army, I feel bad for anyone who got in his way! 😀


    • absolutely! massive flaws mixed with massive emotions and rousing moments.

      oh man, I was moved when Melissa Leo was being dragged while screaming the Pledge of Allegiance. Talk about creating a sense of patriotism.

      GB did well and I hope this is a step in the right direction for him.


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