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Movie Review: Olympus Has Fallen
Adam Frazier   |  

Olympus Has FallenOlympus Has Fallen
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Screenwriter: Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt
Cast: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Dylan McDermott, Melissa Leo, Ashley Judd
Millennium Films
Rated R | 120 Minutes
Release Date: March 22, 2013

Directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day), Olympus Has Fallen stars Gerard Butler (300) as former U.S. Army Ranger Mike Banning, a Secret Service agent assigned to Presidential Detail.

After a tragic accident, Banning is demoted and re-assigned to a desk job in Washington. When the White House (Secret Service Code: “Olympus”) is captured by a North Korean terrorist and President Asher (Aaron Eckhart) is held captive, House Speaker and Acting President Allan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman) is forced to rely on Banning’s inside knowledge to help retake the White House, save the President, and avert a nuclear crisis.

Written by Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt, Olympus Has Fallen is a Tea Party recruitment video disguised as an action-packed Movie For Guys Who Like Movies. It’s the cinematic equivalent of a Freedom Ain’t Free bumper sticker – a shameless, disgusting movie that uses 9/11 imagery to promote xenophobia.

In the film, President Asher meets with the Foreign Minister of South Korea to discuss the ever-present threat of North Korea. Unbelievably, North Korean terrorist Kang Yeonsaka (Rick Yune) has disguised himself as a South Korean ministerial aide and infiltrates the meeting, murdering the Prime Minister and taking the President hostage.

So immediately, Fuquoa’s film tells us not to trust foreigners – especially those shifty Koreans. I mean, how can you tell if they’re the good kind or the bad kind? It’s best to be suspicious of anyone who isn’t a red-blooded American. There should be some kind of code like, “Finish this Toby Keith lyric,” to identify the real Americans.

I can practically smell the piss-tinged aroma of Pabst Blue Ribbon in the air as the President spits in the face of his captors and proclaims “The United States of America DOES NOT neogotiate with terrorists!” Olympus Has Fallen is like the “America (Fuck Yeah!)” musical number from Team America: World Police but, instead of mocking the stereotypical American’s jingoist form of patriotism, it celebrates it.

Olympus Has Fallen - Gerard Butler

There’s a moment in Olympus Has Fallen where Banning has detained two of Kang’s henchman and attempts to “extract” information from them. He begins this interrogation by immediately stabbing one of them through the bottom of the jaw, thrusting the blade up into their skull. Next, he stabs the remaining terrorist in the knee. The thug begins screaming in Korean to which Banning replies “IN ENGLISH PLEASE” as he twists the knife.

Now, what’s this tell us? First, it’s a blatant celebration of torture and validates it as a method of retrieving vital information from enemies. When concerned officials ask how he obtained the secret intel, Banning says he “asked nicely,” to which everyone knowingly smirks. Next, the fact that this American super-soldier doesn’t speak or understand Korean suggests we shouldn’t even bother learning their language because we shouldn’t pursue peaceful negotiations – we’re American, dammit! We’ll put a boot in your ass!

Olympus Has Fallen feels like it was written by a basement-dwelling 15-year-old whose diet consists of Monster Energy drinks and KFC Breakfast Bowls – a Call of Duty video game exercise where hundreds, if not thousands, of people are violently murdered with an assortment of semi-automatic assault rifles and Rambo knives.

Consider for a moment MacGruber, the 2010 comedy starring Will Forte as a parody of MacGyver. In that film, Forte’s character constantly threatens to rip the villain’s dick off and shove it in his mouth. It’s an absurd, hilarious threat that comments on America’s need to constantly one-up its enemies and attain the ultimate revenge.

In the case of Fuquoa’s film, Banning threatens a terrorist with the ol’ “I’m going to take this knife and stab you in the brain” line – and sure enough, he follows through – a moment of extreme violence that is less about justice and more about revenge – and at the screening I attended, the crowd cheered with great pleasure in this savage act.

Fuquoa’s movie feels like a professional wrestling soap opera, except I can’t tell if the bloodthirsty crowd is chanting “USA! USA!” or “NRA! NRA!”. Olympus Has Fallen is Donald Rumsfeld’s wet dream – a perverse, violent, exploitive piece of propaganda that scares its audience into agreeing with the egregious actions carried out by its one-dimensional characters.

Antoine Fuquoa’s Olympus Has Fallen manages to be a dumber, more offensive film than John Moore’s A Good Day to Die Hard. While Moore’s disaster of a film is all-around bad – bad direction, bad writing, bad acting, bad editing – it’s just another empty, loud action movie with zero ambition. Olympus Has Fallen, however, has an agenda – to manipulate its audience by using 9/11 imagery and fear – a reprehensible act I thought only masterminds like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld were capable of carrying out.

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  • korollocke

    So rush Limbaugh is actually writting reviews using the identity of famous monster?

  • http://twitter.com/AdamFrazier Adam Frazier

    Actually, Rush Limbaugh would LOVE this movie…

  • billscot

    This review is so dumb.
    I wonder where this idiot went to school. One were if you like your country, then there must be a racist or bigoted reason for this. And if you hate your country, like this dippo does, then you are progressive and sophisticated and of course look down on anything that portrays your country and its people as strong and capable.

    A real shame that people like this reviewer carries thier liberalism into everything they because this fellow does have a way with words……..

  • kbace

    This was the best action movie that I’ve seen since the Avengers. The reviewer seems to have his own personal hang-ups and prejudices mixed into his review. When I saw the movie in a packed house, the audience applauded loudly at least 3 times during the movie. I actually heard a couple of college guys quietly chanting “USA, USA” a few times. If there had been a Marine Recruiter at the exit, these guys probably would’ve signed up. This is a movie that was created to entertain people. I’m sure that it was made before all of this gun-control hoopla began.

    Of course, the reviewer made some pretty good points. I’m sure that the “Les Mis” crowd probably agrees with him.

  • thefraze

    I appreciate your comments – but just to be absolutely clear… I HATED Les Mis, haha – http://www.geeksofdoom.com/2012/12/25/movie-review-les-miserables

  • Pingback: North Carolina Film Critics Association

  • http://www.facebook.com/jay.mckim Jay Mckim

    HOly shit! A guy shouting “USA” why not carry out real shouting USA crap?
    Ok go out there after film is over, every asian you see go kill it. Don’t you feel like to kill all the asians you see in street? Go ahead. Don’t be chicken! Go shout in street I went to kill Asian! That is only sentiment you like to express at the end of these mindless meaningless violent film is over, you can be turn into a real bona-fide human earth terrorist!

  • kbace

    Dear Jay,

    I would love to reply to your reply, but it makes no sense. I love mindless, violent movies and entertainment. Many people enjoy it. That is why boxing and the UFC are so huge. That is why “The Expendables” had a sequel. That is why “The Avengers” and the “LOTR” movies are some of the top box office hits.

    You sir, seem to have taken on some type of weird angle on the whole movie. Who mentioned anything anti-Asian except you. Where the hell did that come from? The movie was pro USA and anti terrorist. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with a little kick-ass patriotism for us “18 and Over”, action-seeking, red-blooded Americans. Even if it is in the form of an action flick. Jay, it is just a movie – you don’t have to see them. Take a sedative and chill. Do you have some hidden issues you’d like to discuss?

    Just because I loved the Harry Potter movies doesn’t mean that I believe that brooms fly and there are magic wands and I have something against Muggles.

  • Cladisio

    This movie is so full of knee jerk patriotism scenes and propaganda it would make Joseph Gobbels blush. The villains are a racist chariacture of Korean nationalists straight out of a 90′s post cold war ‘Save the world’ movie and the protagonist plays the ‘wannabe’ John Mcclane role… This is quite possibly the worst ‘Blockbuster’ movie I have ever seen.

    This movie makes me ashamed to be an American. Judging from the reactions to this review, i’m sure it will be a box office success. I couldn’t agree with this reviewer more.

  • Cladisio

    This movie is a complete embarrassment, it portrays Americans as racist xenophobes, who are incapable of solving any crisis until some unknown hero steps in to save the day through killing and torture.

    I like how you claim that the reviewer is a bigot or racist, then in the following sentences say how the only reason he could come to that conclusion is because he’s a foreigner or a liberal, or even worse BOTH.

    Do us all a favor and load up your pickup truck with all your guns and beef jerky, and drive that shit off a bridge.

  • Guy

    Hate to tell you this, but if you think liberalism is the opposite of the government running amok, murdering people, and emphasizing the importance of executive strength…well, you are probably a little out of touch with politics. Same goes for you, Mr. Reviewer.

    You guys are both preaching libertarianism, and blaming liberalism on whatever party your friends aren’t…just sayin…

  • Regressive Goosesteppers

    What a stunted bit of projection by the lackwit author.

    This movie is clearly line-towing, “the black President is our Lord & Master and we must be willing to sacrifice every human life on the planet if it means protecting His Holiness and enforcing his policies, and don’t you DARE take issue with the fact that he bombs children with drones and spies on American citizens with reckless abandon” Democrat propaganda, and we’re supposed to turn around and scream at the Tea Party over it?

    Get real.

  • Regressive Goosesteppers

    “Do us all a favor and load up your pickup truck with all your guns and beef jerky, and drive that shit off a bridge.”

    Only if you hop in with him, and take your precious killdrones and “Social Contract” with you.

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