Sunday, April 7, 2013

Bonus Post! Long Live Nikon!

Olympus Has Fallen  (Millenium Films, 2013)

Before the Camera:

Gerard Butler  (Law Abiding Citizen)
Aaron Eckhart  (Nurse Betty)
Morgan Freeman  (TV's The Electric Company)
Rick Yune  (Die Another Day)
Angela Bassett  (Critters 4)
Dylan McDermott  (Texas Rangers)
Melissa Leo (Streetwalkin’)
Finley Jacobsen  (Marmaduke)
Cole Hauser  (Frame-Up II: The Cover Up)
Radha Mitchell  (Silent Hill)
Sean O’Bryan  (Mission: Impossible III)
Keong Sim  (The Last Airbender)
Ashley Judd  (Kuffs)
Robert Forster  (Alligator)
General Edward Clegg

Behind the Camera:

Directed by Antoine Fuqua

Produced by Boaz Davidson, Avi Lerner, Danny Dimboort, Gerard Butler and 12 other assorted Associate, Executive, and 2nd unit Producers

Written by Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt

    Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Butler) is exactly the guy you want protecting you if you're the President of the United States. Certainly President Benjamin Asher (Eckhart) thinks so. He'll spars with you in boxing and cut you no slack; he can recommend the right earrings to the First Lady (Judd); and your son (Jacobsen) thinks he's the second coolest guy in the world. But a horrific accident on a snowy night changes all their lives - and eighteen months later, Mike Banning is manning a desk over at the Treasury department.
   Then, during a high level meeting between President Asher and South Korean President Lee (Sim) the North Koreans launch a major offensive in Washington DC - killing hundreds and eventually taking over the White House, with the President held hostage in the super bunker beneath 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue.

    Mike catches wind of the attack and pounds over to the White House, where he manages to save a few people even as the terrorists blow up part of the fence around the building, then blow the front door in! Mike goes on the offensive, fighting his way inside - literally walking in the front door of the most guarded building in the world.
    Over at the Pentagon, Speaker of the House Trumbull (Freeman), Joint Chief General Clegg (Forster), Secret Service director Jacobs (Bassett), and Secretary of Defense McMillan (Leo) monitor the situation and try to come up with a rescue plan.
    Once Banning makes it inside - it becomes a good old cat and mouse game as Mike works singlehandedly to save the President and his staff. The odds are stacked against him - and he's only one man - in the wrong place at the wrong time - but now it's all up to him. Now where have we heard that before?

Special Agent Banning and President Asher - friends to the end.

I hadn't heard one word about this movie - but to kill some time and not go clothes shopping with the wife I opted for a movie - and liked the sound of this one from the synopsis on Flixster. I'm glad I decided to go - this was a very solid action flick, well directed by Fuqua. Butler is up to the game as an action hero - and he leads a pretty stellar cast - all of whom get at least some good moments and bring something good to the table. The opening minutes are a little soft - but once the attack starts on Washington DC the movie hits high gear and doesn't let up across the rest of the running time. I'm not sure what the budget was - but I don't think it was through the roof. Nonetheless - the money is spent well - with solid production values throughout. Obviously they built a full scale White House exterior mockup somewhere - as there's no way the Secret Service would allow the big scale attack scenes at the real location. I love stuff like that, though, so I thought that was awesome. There's plenty of action - with real stunts and explosions enhanced with some pretty good CGI. The action is shot and edited clearly and cleanly - no Bourne "shaky-cam" action nonsense here.

The movie starts with a title screen then goes right in to the movie - no opening credits - so it was cool when each new known actor would show up - especially LGOOH Ultra Fave Robert Forster, perfectly cast as the hardass general who's less than thrilled that their man on the inside isn't one of his soldiers - but instead a loose cannon Secret Service agent who's been off field duty for more than a year. He needn't have worried though - Mike Banning is JUST the guy you want on the inside when the crap hits the fan.

Robert Forster

I was also very happy that the action stays mostly grounded - with lots of fights and gunplay and explosions - and almost no "let's CGI up some GIANT SCALE action bits where Banning comes through about seven 1-in-a-million-chance-of-survival setpieces in a row." Now, I did say almost - but that's a quibble - and even that sequence is pretty well handled, though a little farfetched. My only other problems with the movie are one sequence involving a helicopter attack on a gun emplacement that comes off like a standard issue Big Boss level in a video game - thankfully it doesn't eat up too much screen time; and the film's title, which does the film no favors, quite honestly. (It's the code phrase used when the White House falls into enemy hands, by the by.) I don't know what I would suggest in its place that would be evocative and informational without being cliched and trite - but Olympus Has Fallen sounds too much like another one of those godawful green screen/toga flicks that all the teen boys are gaga over.

I noticed on Flixster that a lot of the critics who had posted reviews of this one took pains to point out the similarities it has with Die Hard - lone hero, trapped in a building full of terrorists with hostages. They're not wrong - but I'll tell you this - Olympus Has Fallen is a better Die Hard movie than Die Hard 5.

Let's Get Out of Here ?

Timing is rough - but somewhere around the 1:00:00 mark Gerard Butler has acquired one of his targets and wants to leave the area posthaste.

Eye Candy ?

The ladies in the film are most welcome, and give good performances - but none of them zing me, so no. Sorry ladies.

Buddha Man's Capsule Review

Buddha Man says "Olympus Has Fallen...into the lap of every
action junkie - waiting to be watched!"

Thank you, Buddha Man! Until next post - when we're back to the April 2013 A-Z Blogging Challenge - "G" I hope you'll come by then - you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!


  1. Impressive cast and I'm sure it's better than the upcoming "White House Down", but there's nothing about it that makes me wanna watch it ;)
    Good review though!

    1. Hm - sometimes you like the action, sometimes you don't. Thanks for the kind words, Harry!

  2. it was a good film, my wife and mother were like... look he is so handsome... i am like look at all the blood...

    1. It did earn the R rating fair and square! Thanks for coming by, Jeremy!

  3. As you set up the scenario, I thought: Sounds like a job for John McClane. Guess I wasn't the only one who felt that way.

    I like locked-box thrillers, where all the action plays out in a small space. May have to try this one!

    1. I think you might like it - I enjoy movies like that too - and this one keeps the entertainment pot on the boil!

  4. Stopped by this post because of the, ahem, eye candy. :)

    Loved, loved, loved this movie. Not like I loved Argo, but Gerard gives this movie bonus points.

    See you for "G." (Still need to go read F)

    Waiter, drink please!

    1. I didn't even think that I was supplying eye candy for the ladies with this one - well good on me! I kind of like Mr. Butler. But I'm still not going to watch him in any greenscreen toga movies - precisely for the same reasons that you MIGHT! Cheers!