Olympus Has Fallen (My Brain Hurts!)

Everyone once in a while, you need to see a really stupid movie.

Well, maybe not, actually. It’s just that, if you’re going to give them a go, every once in a while you will see a really stupid movie. Sometimes you just can’t tell in advance.

But other times you can. I was pretty sure Olympus Has Fallen was going to be pretty stupid. And gruesome (based on its rating). I was right. But still, I watched it anyway. I can only blame myself.

What actually happened was that my wife had watched White House Down on our recent airplane flight, but wasn’t able to finish it because the plane went and did that pesky thing and actually arrived at our destination. She wanted to see the ending so I suggested we try to rent it. Turns out this action film about a lone would-be secret service agent defending the President of the United States from enemy attack was not out yet, so we decided to instead get Olympus Has Fallen, another movie about a lone would-be secret service agent defending the President of the United States from an an enemy attack.

My wife says that White House Down – or the portions of it she has seen – were not as stupid as this film. I can only take her word for it, not having seen the Channing Tatum / Jamie Foxx feature, but really, it’s hard to imagine that White House Down could possibly have been any worse than Olympus Has Fallen, and that’s coming from a guy who by and large hates Roland Emmerich movies.  [EDITED TO ADD:  I’ve now seen White House Down – click through to read about it, including some comparisons with this movie]

Anyway, Olympus Has Fallen is about an attack on the White House by about fifty crazy North Korean lunatics who are able to fly a plane into the Washington Monument, plant a car bomb outside the white house, infiltrate just about the entire security detail of the visiting South Korean Prime Minister, and then stage a coordinated ground attack on the White House, literally slaughtering dozens of secret service agents, guards, and police, who all seem to think the best strategy to defending the place be to stand out in the open firing their pistols into an opposing army. Of course, the only person to survive this onslaught is “disgraced former presidential guard Mike Banning,” (played by Gerard Butler, who also helped to produce the movie) who is able to survive, get inside, rescue the President’s son, kill terrorists one by one, exchange verbal spars with the bad guy, tell the suits back in the crisis response room in the Pentagon what idiots they are, save the world, and get his old job back.

I don’t want to waste much more time talking about this movie. It features more people being shot at close range in the head than any other film I’ve seen, I think (including both the South Korea Prime Minister and the US Vice President). It features a President who constantly orders his top aides to give up their security secrets in exchange for their lives. It features another former secret service agent who has turned traitor for no compelling reason, even though his actions will help to leave the United States a nuclear wasteland. It features a fictional protocol which will allow every nuclear weapon in America to be be blown up where it is, even if it hasn’t been launched yet. It features villains who are able without explanation to get ahold of major US military ordinance. It features a crisis response room filled with famous actors like Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, and Robert Forster playing some of the most boring characters you can imagine. And at the end, it features a US military who don’t go into a now-unguarded White House front door during a terrorist event until after the President has been shot in the stomach and disgraced former presidential guard Mike Banning is able to disable to nuclear countdown and make good on his previous promise to stab the main terrorist in the head. Then it features Mike Banning and the wounded President walking out of the White House together, stepping over the bodies of their friends and enemies, while making jokes!

I’ve talked about the possibility that Die Hard is the “most important action film ever made“. This movie is partial proof of that film’s enduring influence. It’s a lot like Die Hard, except it’s not funny. And it’s more gruesome. And it didn’t come out 25 years ago, before this general plot had been done to death.

Apparently, a sequel called London is Falling is on it’s way, and I’m sure it’s going to be awesome!

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