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By Monica Terada · March 24, 2013
As the audience settles into their seats and gets comfy, hundreds of civilians perish in an over-the-top shower of airplane gunshots and firebombs, Koreans lead one hell of a guerilla attack against the White House, and Secret Service hunk, Mike Banning (Gerard Butler), throws hard blows with a smug grin. Thirteen minutes later, “Olympus Has Fallen.”
This action-packed motion picture presumes to carry out what has never been done: the taking down of the White House. At first, all seems possible. The Koreans appear to have quite an ample and in-depth understanding of the President’s home—even more so than the president himself (Aaron Eckhart), his secret service squad, and just about everyone else running the country. Not only that but “bad boys” team captain Kang Yeonsak, played by Rick Yune, is very intimidating with his well-defined pecs and heavy accent. He says, “Simon says” and American traitors are at his beck and call.
However, on the Americans’ side, Banning has not only the rugged pecs, but the integrity of a bull as well. He fights and defeats uncountable numbers of highly trained Korean enemies, saves the President and his son (Finley Jacobsen), saves the entire nation from a nuclear explosion, and halfway through all of this, remembers to call his wife to “check in” on her.
The daring plot moves along just as expected, the hero chasing the villain while the world—i.e.,the United States—is at stake. There is plenty of fighting in this thing for the lovers of a good action movie. However, there is not enough lighting to see who has won, and although obstacles come up, there are hardly any twists to make you gasp. A feeling of relief comes at the end, not from the “world” having been saved, but from finally being able to see the exit doors.
The script is way too preposterous and clichéd to be taken seriously. When too many loose ends are tied together with cheap explanations, not even Morgan Freeman can save the day. A page-one rewrite would do the movie real good…err, a second page-one rewrite, that is. The writers, Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt wrote the movie in 2002, but in 2011 rewrote the entire thing. “Olympus Has Fallen” is their first sold script and marks their debut as big movie writers. Becoming a successful screenwriter depends heavily on the concept that practice makes perfect, and that “you are who you know” (i.e., Hollywood connections). Now that Rothenberger and Benedikt know the right people, all they need is tons of practice.