Movie Review: Olympus has Fallen

Movie Review: Olympus Has Fallen

Olympus has Fallen is more than a routine action genre movie outing. Director, Antoine Fuqua, does a superb job of orchestrating his cast from the personal confrontations to the plot’s cliff hanger precipice. The story surrounds a very topical assault on American soil by a North Korean militant rebellion force. Their target is to acquire the President in the White House and the American secret service seems to simply capitulate in their path.

Rewind the clock and we are introduced early on to top Secret Service agent and Presidential body guard, Mike Banning played by Gerard Butler. The Machine Gun Preacher has taken his gruff Scottish he-man and put the persona in a suit with an ear-piece. We see some relevant backstory when Banning makes a call that sees a key character die and the President’s reaction as he arranges for Banning to be out of sight and out of mind. The timing couldn’t be worse as our Terrorist forces hit with war like impact led by Kang to capture the President and key government members in the bunker of the White House. You may remember Kang played by Rick Yune from his role as the villain’s key 2nd in command in Die Another Day. This time he delivers a more commanding confident performance that should set him up for more roles in the future.

Butler is a superb ‘man against the world’ actor in a role that is reminiscent of John McClane only more believable. The violence of the movie is incessant and not for the faint of heart as first the North Korean forces make their attack on the White House taking down American civilians in a blatant display of disruptive power. Next the movie kicks down a gear in the dimensions of action but steps up the intensity as Banning goes one on one with anyone untrustworthy.

At the focus of our story is President Asher played by Aaron Earkhart. I’d vote for this guy on ‘chin’ presence alone! I’m seriously surprised he hasn’t had any super hero roles. Earkhart plays the diplomat, the staunch leader and the vulnerable family man in a great combination role.

In the backdrop we have a US government trying to regain control of a situation that could bring nuclear consequences to the world. The Speaker of the House played by Morgan Freeman keeps the military in check while Angela Bassett heads up the Secret Service and keeps the lines of communication going with Banning on the inside.

It’s a great formulaic action movie with a plot we’ve seen before but not with as great a commitment to the fine tuning of the whole movie experience. Kudos must go to Antoine Fuqua and Gerard Butler whose combined talent makes this a brilliant action genre movie that others should emulate.

Interesting that similar to another outing Fuqua had when he directed Mark Wahlberg in Shooter while another movie with similar story was being created in the same year with Wesley Snipes. This time there is another terrorist in the White House movie coming up with Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx on board directed by Roland Emmerich and called White House Down. As always I recommend going first in any sport to set the bar high which Olympus Has Fallen has done. Let’s see what happens in round two.

3.5 out of 5 popcorns

Movie Review: Oblivion


The silent stalker movie of the year is likely to be Oblivion. As a movie it seemed to only have the Tom Cruise cheerleaders and a poster bearing the guru like presence of Morgan Freeman to entice us. We’ve seen the trailers to give us a sense that this SciFi story could have some legs but there appears to be a lack of the usual Hollywood marketing hype that you might expect. After an evening in IMAX heaven I can now tell you this is a must see event for the popcorn loving alien paranoid movie goers amongst us.

Brought to life by Joseph Kosinski, the comic book writer, architect come Director of Tron, it exudes every essence of the phrase ‘Visual Masterpiece’. Kosinski has drawn on his architectural prowess to deliver a mesh of landscapes and man-made collaborations in a post-Apocalyptic world. The locations predominantly were shot across the US with CGi bringing iconic structures into play but many of the scenes drew on locations in Iceland to deliver a picture of a world rocked by earthquakes and a land slowly becoming devoid of water. The story for this movie was something Kosinski had been working on as a graphic novel since 2005. It was this story that first brought him to the attention of the movie makers although his initial director’s chair role was to helm TRON: Legacy.

As we begin the Oblivion story we find Jack and Victoria played by Tom Cruise and Andrea Riseborough filling the role of the maintenance crew on planet earth. We’re told the war was hard won but 60 years ago we overcame the invaders. By destroying earth’s moon they had left planet Earth in an unlivable state. Now the maintenance team are taking care of the creation of fusion energy from the left over sea water. Energy that will keep man alive for years to come on Titan, one of Saturn’s moons. All is well for Jack with only two weeks before he and Victoria can sign-off on their tour of duty and join the rest of the migration to Saturn.

But something doesn’t sit well in Jack’s sub-conscious and the memories of a life not lived haunt him in his dreams. As events trigger, synapse connections become clues and we start to see the world that was hidden from Jack’s gaze. What seemed like a semi-idyllic task maintaining defence drones against the last of the alien invaders becomes a search for answers. And when you think you know your enemy the shock comes when its discovered your enemy knows you better.

The concept of man’s survival has often been played out against the backdrop of saving millions or protecting the Utopian planet we love. In this story we seem to have lost all the things worth fighting for which make it a personal discovery about what’s important. Oblivion is keyly about a well crafted story and surrounding this is the artistry of a well sculpted set, painted with faultless passion and design. Kosinski beautifully handles the camera to take you from the vista of a fallen planet to the man on tech confrontations that bring you up close to the eyes and sweating pores of man desperate to survive.

I’m giving Oblivion 4.5 out of 5 popcorns. Loved it!

Rating: M: Contains Violence & Nudity