'Olympus Has Fallen' Review: White House Invasion Pic Panders to Patriots

When last seen on Hollywood soil, in the 2012 Red Dawn remake, evil North Korean invaders had touched down in Spokane, WA, where they were quickly butt-kicked by a bunch of teenagers. Having learned nothing from that experience, the Norks are now back, and in Olympus Has Fallen, they’ve targeted the White House, into which they manage to blast their way in just 13 minutes.

Clearly, this sequester thing is having a more serious effect on national security than anyone could have expected.

Director Antoine Fuqua, who made the steely Training Day a dozen years ago, here delivers a movie that traffics in the most shameless patriot-baiting readymades (a sad bugle sounding, a bullet-riddled Old Glory rustling limply in the breeze) while attempting to yank cheers with a succession of bad-guy mowdowns (there are more headshots in this picture than might be found at a SAG board meeting).

For a piece of elevator-pitch action fodder like this, the cast is unusually heavy with stars: Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Melissa Leo. But none of these actors are given a lot to do. (Eckhart spends most of the movie in handcuffs, Leo gets kicked around a little bit, and Freeman looks very concerned and calls for coffee.) The film’s focus is almost entirely on Gerard Butler, who is also one of its 14 producers, and who may be hoping to obliterate all memories of his last performance, playing a leprechaun in the universally  reviled Movie 43.

Read the full review at Reason.com


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