There was a time when action movies had class. Whether it was the original “Die Hard” or “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” action films knew how to combine thrilling stories with likable characters and action that involved real stunts, not huge amounts of CGI.
Nowadays we get drivel like “Die Hard 5,” “Taken 2” and
the new “GI Joe,”
which doesn’t even deliver memorable action. Thankfully,
“Olympus Has Fallen” shows
there’s still hope for decent action movies,
combining a thrilling story with interesting characters and action that feels real.
The story is simple enough: a former Secret Service agent (Gerard Butler) must work his way through the White House tosave the President (Aaron Eckhart) after North Korean terrorists take it hostage. While it may be a little too
straightforward, the story is executed well and allows for
some amazing action scenes, including the aerial and ground assault to take the White House and several close-quarter fights between Butler and the terrorists.
While the film is mostly action, it also takes time to develop
its character relationships. Butler has a sweet friendship with the President’s son while also having a falling out with our
Commander-in-Chief after failing to save his wife from a car accident.
His personal connection to the First Family gives Butler a greater motive than just retaking the White
House, allowing us to invest in him and make the already impressive action scenes more thrilling. He
spouts corny lines every other minute, but instead of feeling cheesy they remind us that he’s a regular
guy stuck in a bad situation.
In many ways, “Olympus Has Fallen” is a modern-
day Die Hard, signaling the return of proper action films that remember to deliver thrilling action with enjoyable characters and a high stakes story. It’s the kind of action film that people don’t make anymore, and for that it should be celebrated.