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Olympus Has Fallen (AF)

8/10

Stars: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Robert Forster, Dylan McDermott, Rick Yune, Cole Hauser, Finley Jacobsen, Ashley Judd, Melissa Leo, Radha Mitchell, Ashley Judd





Director: Antoine Fuqua

The producers of this action packed thriller insistently described as Die Hard in the White House must be exhilarated at the fortuitous timing of the film’s release in Great Britain. The plot, simplistically rendered as “Korean terrorists attack the White House and capture the President (leaving Our Thuggish Hero to kick ass mightily and so save the day" couldn’t be more timely. Right now chubby and posturing North Korean president Kim Jong-un is threatening to rain nuclear terror down on the West while, in the South, Park Jae-sang – better known as singer Psy and creator of the international dance sensation Gangnam style - has just released his latest dance craze Gentleman.

With President Aaron Eckhart tied up by invading North Korean terrorist Rick Yune it would appear that America is about to fall. Fortunately for Eckhart, the United States and Western civilization in general, disgraced former presidential minder and ex-special forces operative Gerard Butler is on hand to shoot, punch and generally kick Korean ass ad lib, Die Hard style…

Here action, rather than subtlety, is director Antoine Training Day Fuqua’s strong suit and he doesn’t stint on it, making the most of Butler’s thuggish screen persona. Other actors tend to fade in the blaze of Butler tough guy performance. Morgan Freeman – recently wasted in the Tom Cruise vanity show Oblivion – adds a touch of gravitas with his portrayal of the Speaker of the House who takes over the Presidential reins after Eckhart has been taken prisoner. Eckhart is adequate but it’s hard to imagine his character being voted into the White House, Yune is a suitably hissable villain and the other supporting – mostly cipher - roles are competently if unmemorably played.

If no-strain-on-the-brain, bone-breaking, bullet-laden action is what you’re after, then Fuqua’s offering fits the bill.

Alan Frank

USA 2013. UK Distributor: LionsGate. Colour by deluxe.
119 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 21 Apr 2013