Comic book superheroes have been killed off, or retired left, right, and centre in their droves in recent years. Of course they duly return, reinvented, reinvigorated, and ready to take on the world again. So how’s this now for a bold call, let’s kill off the action film genre, for a time, and see if a way can be found to breathe new life into its tired form.
It is, as I say, a big ask, but after seeing Olympus Has Fallen (trailer), the latest feature of US film director Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day”, “Tears of the Sun”), it’s a notion that even the most ardent of action movie fans is likely to find themselves entertaining. A little too far fetched to fly you say? Well, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
Secret service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) finds himself languishing in a desk job after taking the fall for a tragedy, that was not his fault, 18 months earlier. Thanks however to an inscrutable Korean terrorist group, whose goal is to unite the troubled peninsula, after they first raze the White House in Washington D.C., that is, redemption is at hand.
Within minutes, it seems, the group, led by Kang (Rick Yune), has effortlessly destroyed half the iconic Presidential building, and have taken US President Asher (Aaron Eckhart), the Vice President (Phil Austin), and the Secretary of Defense (Melissa Leo), among others, hostage in the underground emergency operations bunker.
A full assault by US military forces is out of the question, leaving it up to Banning, who managed to enter the besieged building, to save the day. Single handed. Aside from a little shock value however, “Olympus Has Fallen”, shows us nothing that we haven’t already seen in the likes of “Salt”, “Independence Day”, and the “Die Hard” films.
And while the sight of an institution as established as the White House being compromised and obliterated, with an apparent lack of difficulty, would be unnerving to say the least, as an option for a filmmaker it makes for an all too easy choice. To be succinct, move along, there’s absolutely nothing worthy of your time to see here.