There’s a crazy moment that takes place around 20 minutes into “Olympus Has Fallen," when North Korean terrorists have begun their White House assault. After their major distraction, a green USAF-commissioned gunship, goes down in a fiery blaze on the Mall, commandos pop out and begin to take our nation’s most famous building.
Everyone has seen the iconic image of the White House—its green front yard, its white columns, its fountain. You might have walked by it on a school tour. At the very least, you’ve seen it in the past week while flipping by CNN. Now take that image, and insert into it dozens of North Korean commandos and Secret Service agents engaged in an all-out gunfight, blasting at the columns, shooting over the fountain, and pumping rounds through the windows. It’s pretty unsettling. It’s also incredibly exciting.
That, in a nutshell, is “Olympus Has Fallen,” a surprisingly violent and pretty cool flick that opens in wide release on March 22. Gerard Butler of “300” fame is our hero. Playing a grizzled ex-Special Forces operative-turned Secret Service agent, Butler brings the same intensity we all saw channeled into King Leonidas to this All-American part. After Butler’s character, Mike Banning, is removed from the Secret Service for an incident that wasn’t his fault, he’s forced back into the action when he happens to be in close proximity to the North Korean attack. He proceeds to kick ass and take names. His fight scenes are some of the most intense we’ve seen.
For a popcorn flick, the cast is stellar. Aaron Eckhart makes a terrific President Asher. Morgan Freeman doesn’t get a ton of screen time as Speaker of the House Trumbell, but he makes the most of it. Melissa Leo, who should have won an Oscar for her role in “The Fighter,” gives an inspired turn as the Secretary of Defense. Bond villain Rick Yune makes for a frightening bad guy. And the director, Antoine Fuqua, brings the same edge-of-your-seat action that he brought to his best film “Training Day.”
“Olympus Has Fallen” is a cinematic assault-to-the-senses. It also might make you want to cue up Lee Greenwood’s “Proud to Be an American.” Go see it.
One more thing...
Have you been to Olympus? Now’s your chance! Every tweet you send with #OlympusHasFallen enters you for a chance to win a trip to Washington, D.C.