Today I was lucky enough to attend a preview screening of Gerard Butler's new action epic (for which read "big, silly, shooty, blowy-upy film") 'Olympus Has Fallen'. And I bloody enjoyed it!
Basically, Korean terrorists muscle their way onto US soil, into US airspace and into the US's whitest house - The White House - and take President Harvey Dent and his staff hostage. Disgraced Jack Bauer-alike Mike Banning (Butler) is forced back into action as the only one-man kick-ass machine in the area at the time (all the others are horribly killed by massive guns during the first fifteen minutes of the movie). Of course, the stakes are high as the Korean madman running the show is trying to get his hands on the codes for a secret Nuke-stopping safe-guard system that will leave the USA largely undefended.
This is a brave (if overly bold) movie that doesn't pull its punches for a second (except that very last second when the Americans obviously have to win); the terrorists have no qualms whatsoever about shooting important and likable characters in the face without warning just to get the attention of Acting President Morgan Freeman (a warmonger plunged into a situation that leaves him totally out of his depth) and us, the audience. The death count is very, very high throughout and there is enough blood and guts to push this good looking (if CGI heavy) gem into the fun-but-gritty realms of 'Die Hard With A Vengeance' rather than the safer territory of 'Die Hard 5: The Unwarranted And Unbelievable Money-Spinner'.
I won't go into plot intricacies (there aren't many) but even if I did it wouldn't spoil the story as you've already seen it a million times; it's all unexpected combat skills, sharp one-liners and eleventh-hour rescues. The film also has some very funny, very sweet dialogue too, however, which make you really care about the characters in ways that most action blockbusters never quite manage. There are great performances throughout, too. Aaron Eckhart just passes as Presidential but remains human throughout - a wonderful performance. The same must be said about Butler, who somehow manages to out-do both Bauer and McClane in terms of ballsy brute force and no-nonsense villain-killing.
If you're looking for a balls-out action gunfest then this is a great choice. Switch of your cynical brain, sit back and enjoy a cartoon-patriotic love letter to America, made by Americans for Americans; this is the '24' movie they never got around to making. I loved it. It was a big, loud, flashy, exciting One Man Army staple. A wonderful addition to the Unbelievably OTT Action Epic Hall Of Fame. A grisly, sweary and - most of all - FUN two hours. Take your Dad along with you and he will love you forever!
'Olympus Has Fallen' comes out on general release this weekend. Go and see it. You probably won't regret it. And even if you do, at least you're one of the very few survivors!