All text ©2013 Mike Pascale. Visuals ©2013 their respective owner(s).
I know I should instead be reviewing THE CROODS since it’s animated (closer to “art” in subject for this artistic-perspective blog), but frankly the showtime was later than I wanted and the preview just didn’t look as interesting as OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN. Hopefully I’ll see CROODS next week.
Anyway, here are the bullet points for a movie that, frankly, had more bullets than any film I’ve seen since THE EXPENDABLES 2:
–Gerard Butler is back to his best butt-kicking form since the film 300. Think of a low-key King Leonidas about 1,500 years later, with an American accent. Not overacted, no corny/forced puns or catchphrases. Very believable and the humor was good.
–Baby-daddy Morgan Freeman can pull off any role with believability, dignity, class and make it watchable. Even if he’s phoning it in.
–Once you get past the far-fetched setup and a couple “huh?” moments, the story is decent.
–Patriotic without being jingoistic.
–Safely avoided the racial issues common with terrorist films.
–Aaron Eckhart makes a good president, and Finley Jacobson was good as his son—the kid character wasn’t the usual whiny jerk but rather quietly strong and believable.
–Dylan McDermott fans will see a different character than on THE PRACTICE.
–Antoine Fuqua’s direction and storytelling was pretty solid with a couple exceptions (see cons).
–A character actually says, “Olympus has fallen!” (and it has nothing to do with the camera company). Personally, I like it when a movie title that’s a sentence is actually said. Doesn’t happen often.
–Couple decent twists not seen coming, both from the same character.
–Hated the villain but in a “good” way. Really wanted to see him get his.
–Unlike most hostage/terrorist flicks, some of the hostages don’t freak out and break down, but act defiantly and at least try to fight back. Lots of “F— yous” and “F— offs”, which is refreshing from the usual, “Please don’t hurt/kill me!” in most such films.
–Lots of suspense if you get into it.
–The first strikes in D.C. by the terrorists are hard to watch, especially in light (darkness) of 9/11 (and other shootings). I cringed and squirmed a few times.
–Seeing Old Glory get riddled with bullet holes and tossed to the ground. Ugh!
–There are some plot stretches and scenes where characters don’t act true-to-life and decisions made aren’t realistic/logical. A few times, I found myself saying, “They would never do that!” (Or at least I hope they wouldn’t.)
–Some of the violence, both gun and non-gun, were difficult to watch (especially with bullies and women). Much different (for me) than the fantasy kind.
–Really wanted to leap up and punch the bad guys (and a few good guys) several times. Some parts really ticked me off; but I realized that’s actually a “pro” for the writing, acting and directing for getting me that emotionally involved. I think any director would prefer strong negative emotions to no emotions.
–Without giving anything away, the villain got it too easy.
–There’s a scene near the end with a giant map screen, graphics and “death toll” that was confusing. (Again, avoiding spoilers.) See what you think.
My rating: If you enjoy the D-BOX experience offered in some theaters (where the chairs vibrate, shake and tilt like a theme-park ride), this movie was made for it so you should SEE IT in the theater. For everyone else, RENT IT. Worth seeing but not urgently. Hopefully this leads to less Gerard Butler rom-coms and more butt-whoopers. (Save him a part for EXPENDABLES 5 or 6.)
P.S.: I’d love to offer you a butt-kickin’ commission of original art. Mention this review for 10 percent off and FREE postage in the USA! Just ask Craig for yours here.