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Olympus Has Fallen (2013) Review

Original review posted on IMDB, here.

If you’re looking for an action film straight out of the 90’s but stuck in the present day, you’ll arrive at Olympus Has Fallen. We’re initially led to believe that this might offer a story of personal redemption, when it’s in fact a rudimentary action flick with little purpose beyond entertaining the regular American viewer.

There’s nothing wrong with offering a film such as this, so long as its entertaining. And, thankfully, Olympus Has Fallen offers enough enjoyable and compelling moments to keep its viewers watching with some degree of interest. No, the characters are not compelling and far from fully developed, and that’s not necessarily the point. The point here is to keep the audience entertained and occupied, which is done sufficiently, if in an inconsistently effective manner.

Gerard Butler does what he has to, being the fairly routine action hero a la John McClane, which is a bit of a shame since the opening act alludes to so much more. But by the second half, just about all potential for actual exploration is cast aside. Aaron Eckhart is a likable actor in all of his performances, even in one as underplayed as this. There’s also a potentially strong predicament foreshadowed early on that could’ve been utilized to give the film a great edge, but it’s ultimately abandoned for the routine action movie wrap-up. Meanwhile, everyone’s favorite key player, Morgan Freeman, really seems bored in each scene, as if he’s only there to occupy the cameraman’s attention.

As you can probably guess, both the plot and characters are thin, with only implied potential separating the key players from even more routine movies (which isn’t saying much). The action and tension are where Olympus Has Fallen is left to shine, which it does during the time is plays. Looking back, however, it’s far easier to pick the movie apart. You’ll be entertained while watching it, but left banging your head shortly after leaving the theater.

Given the lackluster stream of movies released so far this year, Olympus Has Fallen is able to make enough room for itself. Taken into account with other action films, however, there’s little (if anything) to truly make it stand out. There’s a sense of identity crisis here, as the film is more or less lost in another time period and suggests more than it delivers. For my money, it’s decent popcorn entertainment, but not much else.

 
 

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Quote Review: Air Force One (1997)

“You’re gonna get yourself re-elected.”

There’s a curious resonance to Air Force One, as time has actually made the film seem better than it was upon release in ’97.  Though it’s themes and depth are merely (and briefly) stated by characters without elaboration, this is still an action/thriller we’re dealing with.  Gary Oldman makes for a terrific and near-hauntingly ironic villain.  He pulls this off so much so, that one could get away with the argument that he steals the show from Harrison Ford.  It’s a shame we didn’t get to see both of them in more scenes together, as the tension and playoffs for their characters are dropped right as things get interesting between them.  As for the rest of the film, it all fits and flows in a comfortable flow which ensures constant engagement.  Peterson might not be rivaling the quality provided on Das Boot, but he can sure make an engaging action film without feeling juvenile.

How about you?  What were your thoughts on Air Force One?

 
 

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