HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Olympus Has Fallen
HTS Overall Score:76
Gerard Butler is back, once again playing John McClane……errrr …. Scratch that. Gerard Butler is back, once again “In the line of fire”……..errrr, oops, wrong movie again. As you can tell, “Olympus has Fallen” is not going to shock audiences with an original storyline and is basically another “Die Hard” clone. That’s not a bad thing per se, since the last two “Die Hard” movies have been real stinkers (the last one in particular left such a bad taste in my mouth that I was gargling mouthwash for about a week after leaving the theaters). The method is tried and true. A lone man is struggling against insurmountable odds in order to hold his own in an impossible situation. What really makes this action genre work is the likeability of the characters and the sheer adrenaline rush of the action. You create a hero that’s unlikeable or make the action scenes boring and the movie falls apart. You create a character that spouts one liners that make the audience cheer and can kick bad guys through a stone wall and you got a winner. “Olympus” isn’t a perfect movie by any stretch of the imagination, but it has Gerard Butler in an amped up role as the macho tough guy, wielding signature one liners and more ammunition in a clip than most third world countries have in their entire stockpile, with Morgan Freeman… end of story.
Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is one of the most trusted Secret Service agents to the President of the United States (Aaron Ekhart) and almost a godfather to the President’s son, Connor. In one blink of an eye that’s all taken away when Banning has to save the President’s life, but in order to do so he must let the First Lady die. Even though he did the right thing in saving the President’s life, he’s banished from the Secret Service as a constant reminder to the President of what he’s lost. Working at the Treasury department, Mike craves to get back into the world of the Secret Service, bored spitless in his rather mundane life pushing papers. Fatefully, it looks like Mike is going to get what he wants. During a meeting with the North Korean leaders Olympus (the White House) falls under attack by a multi-pronged terrorist attack and the President along with most of his staff is taken hostage by a lunatic. Mike is just happens to be there on the front lines and gets into the White House before the gates are sealed. Alone and out manned he’s got to single handedly solve the situation.
Speaker of the House Trumball (Morgan Freeman) is the only one on the outside of the leadership staff and must take the reins of leadership during this time of crisis. It seems that the terrorists want the activation codes for Cerberus, a top secret nuclear failsafe that allows the self-destruct mechanisms of America’s nuclear warheads to be activated. Within the right hands it’s a great failsafe, but in the wrong hands, it would mean nuclear devastation for the United States if those missiles were destroyed while still in ground. To make matters worse all 3 parts of the code are captive inside the White House and it’s only a matter of time till the men and women holding those codes secret are broken. Now Mike has to get to the President through 40 gun toting terrorists, rescue the President’s son, Connor, and Take out the launch codes if they’ve already been activated. All in a day’s work for a Secret Service agent.
“Olympus has Fallen” is a big, dumb, action movie; but it’s a big, dumb, action movies that’s a LOT of fun, and a lot better than the last two “Die Hard” movies put together. Gerard Butler is chewing the scenery up, spitting out one liner after one liner doing what he SHOULD be doing instead of cheesy drama’s and Rom-Com’s. Antoine Fuqua has always had a good handle on action scenes and here’s he’s doing it again. The action is quick and frenetic without being riddled with excessive shaky cam. The first thing I noticed during the action scenes was that I could actually SEE the action, instead of being told that an action scene was going on because of the music and a blur of motion along with 10 million cuts per second. Gerard Butler is right at home playing the beleaguered agent under pressure and in my opinion does it quite well. Looking energetic and ticked off (unlike the sleepwalking mode that Bruce Willis has been doing) he rips through bad guy after bad guy with bone crunching enthusiasm. Aaran Ekhart is fantastic as the POTUS and comes across as a very likeable man, and an endearing relationship with his motherless son. That alone elevates the film so much more in light of the situation that is taking place and for events to come in the movie.
The story is definitely predictable, and definitely unoriginal, but it’s got such heart and does a great job of portraying what happens to a nation when it’s most precious and previously thought unbreachable fortress gets snatched right from under them, leaving the nation in shock and scrabbling to maintain order under such stress. Morgan Freeman is fantastic as the Speaker, turned Commander in Chief, portraying the man as one would guess, frightened, unsure of how to properly execute commands that he wasn’t’ trained for, and ultimately, having to make the hard decisions that no one wants to make. While some of the action scenes and premise are a bit far-fetched (It’s kind of hard to believe that a group could actually capture Olympus the way it’s portrayed with the INSANE amounts of security the capital actually has), but it’s a fun and wild ride, lean back, grab a bag of popcorn and watch things blow up on a summer evening.
Rated R for strong violence and language throughout
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=12472[/img]Hmmmmmmmmmmm, I usually have to say “It’s a Sony encode. How can it get any better”? For once I can’t actually say that. Sony has given us a pretty solid encode today that is heavily marred by two things. Some excessive softness and some SERIOUSLY bad black levels. The black levels are really the major weak point in the film. Detail is normally quite good and there’s some SERIOUS pop in the outdoor scenes, but during the indoor scenes there’s some soft sections that look unnatural for the situation. Being that the film is shot in the dark and darkish scenes most of the time, the bad black levels tend to suck the life out of the picture. The blacks leaned towards being greyish most of the time and created a sort of “haze” over the 35mm film and a significant amount of black crush is present too, absorbing most of the detail in said dark scenes. Those two flaws aside there’s actually a decent amount of good in the picture. The 35 mm film stock (which is a rarity these days) creates a nice gritty looking picture with a nice layer of natural film grain and the colors are beautiful. Greens and reds just pop in those stunning out door scenes and contrast levels are great to boot. Fine detail is great in those same scenes, but unfortunately masked inside where the excessive dark levels obscures it from our view. A mixed bag that I really wished was a bit less mixed “Olympus has Fallen” is one of those pictures that just falls in the middle as being “meh”.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=12473[/img]My goodness, I love action tracks. Sony has given us a powerhouse to enjoy today. “Olympus has Fallen” is just about as good a track as I’ve heard in a long time. Dialogue is crisp and clear without any constant cranking up and down to distinguish dialogue amount the sound effects and Dynamic range is powerful, yet within range. The surrounds are used VERY intensely during the action scenes and even the quiet scenes they utilize a lot of ambient sounds to keep themselves busy. Gun shots are loud and powerful and explosions are in your face. My only only complaint with the LFE channel. While it’s there, and there in spades, something just feels “missing”. The low end gunfire and explosions had a lot of power to them, but there felt like there was something gone with the low end, as if there was some subsonic filtering as there was with “The Hobbit”. Just some low end punch that should have been there that wasn’t. Overall a great, immersive track with just a slightly disappointing LFE track.
• The Epic Ensemble
• Under Surveillance: The Making of "Olympus Has Fallen"
• Deconstructing the Black Hawk Sequence
• Ground Combat: Fighting the Terrorists
• Creating the Action: VFX and Design
Antoine Fuqua has done some great action films in his day, and some great war-time action shots as well. “Olympus has Fallen” may not be his best work, but he still knows how to create a gripping movie. Full of over the top action, cheesy one liners and more bullets than the Vietnam and Iraq wars rolled into one. The video encode was a tad disappointing and the extras are just kind of “meh”, but the film itself is a blast of a time and is definitely on my purchase list and I recommend it for at least a watch for all of you action loving fans out there.
Starring: Aaran Ekhart, Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd
Directed by: Antoine Fuqua
Written by: Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Studio: Sony Pictures
Runtime: 120 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: August 13th, 2013
Buy Olympus Has Fallen Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Watch It
More about Mike