By: The Cinema Drunkie
Every so often, we get a pair of dueling plot movies. What’s that, you ask? Its when 2 movies come out in the same year with the exact same plot. For example, In 1997, we had 2 Volcano movies in Dante’s Peak & Volcano. And the very next year, we had 2 asteroids hitting earth in Deep Impact & Armageddon. There are a lot more others, but I don’t feel like naming them all, so those 2 examples will have to do.
I bring that up, because in 2013, we were besieged by 2 “Die Hard in a ____” movies that were set in the white house. The first one released was Olympus has Fallen, directed by Training Day’s Antoine Fuqua. And the second was White House Down, directed by disaster porn auteur Roland Emmerich. A lot of people had expected WHD to be the victor of this duel. I mean… how could you not think that? It starred Channing Tatum & Jamie Foxx, who were red hot at the time, and it had the more family friendly PG-13 rating, against OHF’s hard R rating. And when all was said and done?
Does anybody even remember White House Down?
Olympus Has Fallen stars Gerard Butler as Mike Banning, a top flight secret service agent who was removed from the president’s detail after the unfortunate accidental death of the first lady. When the white house is taken over & the president is taken hostage by extremist north korean terrorists, it’s up to Mike to save the day, and find his redemption…
Man, do you know how refreshing it feels to watch a guy declare he’s gonna shove a knife into the bad guy’s brain, then do exactly that, in this day and age?? As someone raised on the violent, comic book aesthetic of 80s action movies, it feels so damn refreshing. And that’s what Olympus Has Fallen is: a violent, comic booky breath of fresh air for the action crowd that misses that kind of thing. I know I do.
Gerard Butler is at his best as the unstoppable force Mike Banning. Banning is ex-special forces. Ranger Battalion. He will move mountains or die trying, according to secret service director (& personal friend) Lynn Jacobs, played by the always incredible Angela Bassett. And, over the course of the movie’s running time, those words will prove to be 100% accurate.
Seriously, Banning brutally shoots, stabs, bludgeons and neck snaps 25 people total throughout the movie without so much as blinking. A pure, emotionless killing machine. Well, to be fair, Banning isn’t completely emotionless. He does have a sense of humor that shines through every now and then. Like this part:
See? The man’s got jokes.
The rest of the cast is just as splendid as Butler. I mean, how could they not be? Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, the aforementioned Bassett, Dylan McDermott, Radha Mitchell, Cole Hauser, Rick Yune, and Academy Award winner Melissa Leo all come together to form one of the most perfect ensembles ever seen in an action movie.
But ultimately, the success of this movie wouldn’t be possible without the surefire direction of Mr. Antoine Fuqua. His handling of not just the actors but the awesome and suspenseful action sequences needs to be thoroughly commended. The man steers a tight ship, I tell ya. Salute.
But all in all, this is one of the best Die Hard knockoffs ever made. Right up there with Sudden Death and Under Siege 2. It just amazes me that no one else thought to make a Die Hard in the White House movie besides this one. No one else…
That was petty of me. I’m sorry. Please forgive me, cast & crew of… what was the name of the other one again??
About The Aurthor: With his mind utterly intoxicated off of a steady stream of movies, comics and cartoons, a young boy from Brooklyn, New York grew up to become the man known as… THE CINEMA DRUNKIE!!! https://thecinemadrunkie.wordpress.com/