Sure, there are far too many "gimme a break" moments to count; but if you're willing to leave logic at the door, the new Gerard Butler film "Olympus Has Fallen" works well as an old-school type of action thriller. Recalling Bruce Willis in the first "Die Hard," Butler ("300") perfectly fits the bill as a man on a mission, dispatching the bad guys with his special set of skills, sheer determination, a "(blank) you" attitude and lots -- lots -- of ammo.
Butler stars as Mike Banning, a disgraced Secret Service agent who was reassigned to a desk job at the Treasury Department after being involved in an incident that resulted in a tragic loss for President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart). Fortunately, Banning isn't far away when North Korean commandos seize the White House, wiping out nearly every agent in their way while taking the president and his top advisers hostage in the presidential bunker.
With the military still in response mode (it's stupefying how slow they are), the Speaker of the House/Acting President Allan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman) has to rely on Banning and his inside knowledge of the White House to rescue the president from the head of the terrorist organization (Rick Yune) and advert something far more dire, and the clock is ticking.
The timing of the release of "Olympus Has Fallen" is impeccable, given North Korea's recent threats against America. Still, with a "Die Hard"-type premise as is driving force, you can throw originality out the door. But while "Olympus Has Fallen" has its share of cliches and dumb moments, it's far better than Willis' most recent "A Good Day to Die Hard," which seemed to too intent on trying to outdo its previous effort.
"Olympus Has Fallen" is intent, on the other hand, on delivering a straight-up approach, and has more explosions , shoot-'em-up action and intensity that fans could want out of a genre film, and naturally, blood is flying everywhere. It's certainly not a film for the squeamish.
Under the direction of Antoine Fuqua, the "Olympus Has Fallen" is refreshing in that it's unapologetically patriotic, and it's clear that the "Training Day" filmmaker isn't worried about offending anybody.
As for Butler, who is also a producer on the film, he's clearly on a mission with "Olympus Has Fallen," and he's going to get the job done his way whether you like it or not -- and by any means necessary. He'd make great partners with Liam Neeson's "I will find you ... and I will kill you" ex-CIA agent Bryan Mills from "Taken."
"Olympus Has Fallen," rated R, 2 1/2 stars out of 4.
See the trailer for 'Olympus Has Fallen' below.
What other local critics are saying.
Chris Hewitt of the Pioneer Press hates the movie, calling it a "crass and bloody shoot-'em-up" in his 1 star review.
"Olympus Has Fallen" doesn't fare much better with Colin Covert of the Star Tribune, who gives it 1 1/2 stars. He calls it a "terrible movie" that's "generic in plotting and execution."
Bring Me The News film critic Tim Lammers is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association and annually votes on the Critics Choice Movie Awards. Locally, he reviews films on “KARE 11 News at 11” and WCCO Radio. As a feature writer, Tim has interviewed more than 1,000 major actors and filmmakers throughout his career and his work is syndicated nationwide.