Disgraced Secret Service agent (and former presidential guard) Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) finds himself trapped inside the White House in the wake of a terrorist attack; using his inside knowledge, Banning works with national security to rescue the President from his kidnappers.
I find it ironic that Gerard Butler, a Scotsman, as disgraced Secret Agent Mike Banning, embodies the spirit of John McClane. If anything, Butler has done nothing more than cement his reputation as a bankable and likable action hero for the new generation in this old-school action movie. He has a commanding presence on-screen, quips wisecracks, bleeds when it's crucial, and dispatches the bad guys in a methodical cross between Jason Bourne and John Rambo (despite his acting being a little wooden and that very distracting side mouth). Not even the fine supporting cast (Morgan Freeman, Aaron Eckhart, Angela Bassett, Robert Forster, Melissa Leo, Dylan McDermott) can take away Butler's limelight.
Indeed, Antoine Fuqua's "Olympus Has Fallen" is not only terrific entertainment but a terrific throwback to the pivotal 90's action movie, the Die Hard clone - and this film ("Die Hard" in the White House) is another reminder of why the trusted formula works, even if it has been dormant for nearly two decades.
From the moment the film's main action starts, the film doesn't stop running. Rarely, if at all, have I seen this much brutal collateral damage in an American action film since Rambo. Americans citizens get mowed down by bullets from ground and air forces. The all-American (Scottish) hero represents freedom and justice, and the bad guys represent every American's worst nightmare. I haven't seen this much political incorrectness since "The Delta Force". Having said that, Rick Yune surprisingly makes for an effective and nasty villain, who is relentlessly cold, smug and procedural in his mission, following the formula perfectly. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
It's fast, it's loud, it's preposterous, and yet I enjoyed every minute of it. The film is chock-full of sensational and well-shot action sequences/special effects. Of course the plot isn't original. It's a genre picture.