Review: Olympus Has Fallen Brings the 80’s Back to Modern Action Movies


Olympus Has Fallen opened yesterday in theaters across America, and yours truly took in a screening of this R-rated action movie about a terrorist attack on the White House.  It stars a few current Hollywood heavyweights in Gerard Butler (300) as Mike Banning, Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight) as President Asher, and Morgan Freeman (Too many huge movies to list only one) as Speaker Trumball.  These three gentleman along with the supporting cast are all that stands between the future of the U.S., and the sinister North Korean terrorists led by Kang, who is played by Rick Yune.

I appreciated the way Olympus approached this tale of a horrific terrorist attack on our Nation’s Capital, because it did so in a manner that reminded me of the excellent action movies from the 80’s and 90’s.  In this day and age of the wussification of America it’s nice to see that a studio is still willing to put out a R-rated movie, even if it means that they may not make as much cash because they’re limiting their customer base.

I couldn’t help but be reminded of Die Hard, Commando, and Rambo while watching Gerard Butler’s character Mike Banning single handily take down a small army of North Korean terrorists who have taken over the White House.  This tragic takeover is carried out in a horrific fashion that will instantly remind you of the events that took place on 9/11.  Watching a C-130 gunship open fire on the citizens of Washington, D.C. from a low altitude is a grim spectacle to take in, and one that I hope can only occur in a movie.

The C-130 attack is a grim reminder of 9/11


To make things even worse the air attack is supplemented with a coordinated ground attack led by suicide bombers and highly trained terrorist forces.  This combined effort in conjunction with some inside help results in the White House being captured in less than 15 minutes, which according to the terrorist leader Kang, is the time it takes for our Nation’s National Guard to respond to a crisis at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Kang played by Rick Yune


All of these scenes sport amazing realism and grim violence, which at times made me feel like this terrible scenario could actually happen in real life.  If something like this ever does happen I hope that we have someone like Mike Banning (Butler) to come to the rescue, because he’s a badass.

Banning used to be the lead Secret Service agent and close friend to the President, but due to a tragic traffic accident he gets demoted to a desk job at the Treasury.  This unfortunate career change is what allows him to avoid the initial North Korean onslaught that wiped out every single agent currently protecting the White House, which allows him to step up and be the Hollywood action hero that we used to see kick ass and take names in action movies of years past.

Meet Mike Banning. He hates terrorists.


Fortunately for fans of violence in film Banning takes on the role of the country’s saviour with reckless abandon and brutal justice.  Within his first five minutes on the scene he efficiently dispatches the attacking terrorists with a few well placed head shots and a pair of  steel testicles.  His balls of steel allow him to sneak into the captured White House to retake it and its hostages from the terrorist forces.

Just like Bruce Willis’ John McClane, Gerard Butler’s Mike Banning makes the lives of the terrorists a living nightmare as he guns them down, tortures them, and plays mind games with them on his way to the end game, which is to save the President and the county from utter destruction.  He’s helped from the outside through the aid of the acting President, Speaker Trumball, who is expertly portrayed by Morgan Freeman.  I’ll spare you the particular details to avoid spoiling the outcome of the film, but I can tell you that Banning’s personal war is an action packed affair sprinkled with a few witty comments about stabbing people’s brains, and a high body count due to said brain stabbings and violent gunplay.

Two-Face plays President Asher who is taken hostage by Kang’s forces


The plot of Olympus Has Fallen seems ridiculous on paper, but that’s what makes this action movie so entertaining.  No one wants to see their country’s capital attacked by an invading force, but if that situation does occur it’s fun to watch a one man wrecking crew lay waste to the invaders as if he were a superhero.  Butler does a fine job playing this type of hero, and he’s definitely a bonafide action star if you didn’t believe him to be one already.

With its tense moments, bloody action, and great cast of lead characters, Olympus Has Fallen is definitely a modern day action movie worth watching on the big screen.  I appreciate the fact that the film’s caretakers decided to go with an R-rating, because I’m tired of watching movies of this nature getting softened up so a younger audience can go see them too.  I was raised on a steady diet of violent action films from the 80’s and 90’s, and I couldn’t help but be reminded of my childhood while watching Olympus, which is probably why I enjoyed it so much.

Scores of nameless foes fall at the hands of Mr. Banning


I fully recommend going to see this film while it’s still in theaters, because it deserves the big screen setting accompanied by a booming sound system that can only be found at the movies.  For its gory action, expertly played hero character, and overall entertaining plot, I have to give Olympus Has Fallen 8 out of 10 Buddhas.  It’s a no brainer for men to go see, and based on my wife’s reaction it’s also a great flick for the fairer gender.  Why not make it an 80’s night and bring the whole family?  A little violence with some solid parenting never hurt anyone.  You’ve been thinking you want to see some brain stabbing courtesy of Gerard Butler…


Olympus Has Fallen

EB 8 out of 10 Buddhas

The Awesome

  • Classic action movie feel
  • Butler’s a bonified badass
  • Multiple brain stabbings

The Not so Awesome

  • Watching the White House fall
  • Wondering if this could really happen in real life



Olympus Has Fallen – Official Trailer (HD)



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Tags : 80's Action MoviesBlood and Gutsmanly
Matt Heywood

The author Matt Heywood

Matt Heywood is the founder and EIC of where he strives to make you a better geek, one post at a time! When he’s not scouring the Internet for interesting nuggets of awesomeness he can be found in his secret lair enjoying the latest and greatest video games, taking pictures of toys, or talking Star Wars on EB’s Star Wars Time podcast show.