Why ‘Olympus Has Fallen’ is ‘Die Hard’ for a new generation

Posted: March 22, 2013 in Movies, Reviews

It’s been quite a while since a film franchise has taken itself and its audience to such lofty heights that we first experienced back in the late 80’s watching the original Die Hard.  Bruce Willis was barely a movie star when John McTiernan took him into a skyscraper with no shoes to kill a bunch of German terrorists.  Willis’ wise cracks and one liners all the while being an everyman’s hero is what made Die Hard one of the greatest action films of all time and launched one of the most successful film franchises cinema has ever seen.   However, cinema hasn’t seen an action franchise of quite the same level since Die Hard 2, no matter how many films try, there just isn’t another Bruce Willis running around out there.

Until now.

You’ll argue that Gerard Butler’s career has been a huge disappointment since making a name for himself with 300, but I’ll argue that he’s been incredibly miscast in most of his films.  He’s an action actor through and through.  He’s not an actor that’s going to carry a film with his acting chops, however he is an actor that will carry a film with his ab muscles and gun toting ways.  He’s great for a punch line delivery and will look good doing it.  He’s Bruce Willis without the bald head.  Come on now, this is the guy that played the mysterious Phantom of the Opera for crying out loud.  Let’s not act like he can’t run around with a gun killing terrorists.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to call Olympus Has Fallen a carbon copy of Die Hard, nor am I going to say that Olympus Has Fallen is nearly as good as Die Hard.  What I am going to say is that Olympus Has Fallen can take the formula established by McTiernan’s action romp and bring back rolling good times while delivering head shots for the ages.

Olympus Has Fallen is a film largely about saving the free world from maniacal bad guys hell bent on destroying Washington D.C. in a blaze of glory, and don’t get confused, much of the film’s action sequences are extremely over the top.  However, you never get the sense that it’s over done.  You’re never sitting there thinking “Oh man, here we go again…”.  Director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) realizes what kindof actors he has to work with and he lets them deliver exactly what we want to see.   It’s nearly the same premise we get in the original Die Hard but with more action.

Aside from Butler being a badass we get Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight) as the President of the United States and Morgan Freeman as Speaker of the House who quickly takes on a “Presidential” persona.  Melissa Leo and Angela Bassett also co-star and give the film a much needed strong female presence.

Olympus Has Fallen takes Butler’s disgraced law enforcement character (channeling John McClane) all over the place, ups and downs provided.  It’s a nostalgic piece of film that will make you yearn for the good old days of yester-year.  After watching Olympus Has Fallen you’ll want to go on a Bruce Willis bender, maybe some Last Boyscout or even Hudson Hawk, if the mood suits.

What I’m trying to say is that Gerard Butler deserves your forgiveness.  For all of Butler’s terrible rom-coms, he’s finally at home in Olympus Has Fallen and I, for one, hope he stays there.

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