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Olympus Has Fallen(2013)
When the White House (Secret Service Code: “Olympus”) is captured by a terrorist mastermind and the President is kidnapped, disgraced former Presidential guard Mike Banning finds himself trapped within the building. As our national security team scrambles to respond, they are forced to rely on Banning’s inside knowledge to help retake the White House, save the President, and avert an even bigger disaster.
For more about Olympus Has Fallen and the Olympus Has Fallen Blu-ray release, see Olympus Has Fallen Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on July 23, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Dylan McDermott, Rick Yune
Director: Antoine Fuqua
» See full cast & crew
Olympus Has Fallen Blu-ray Review
Olympus dies hard.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, July 23, 2013
In Director Antoine Fuqua's (Tears of the Sun, Shooter) Olympus Has Fallen, Action star Gerard Butler finds himself in the line of fire portraying Author Vince Flynn's Mitch Rapp, a highly skilled government operative who, when the White House is taken over by terrorists, finds himself the only man standing between terrorist victory and American defeat. No, wait. That's not right. Let's try again. In Olympus Has Fallen, Gerard Butler plays a skilled New York cop named John McClane who finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, "alone, tired...and the only chance anyone has got" against a group of heavily armed terrorists who have seized control of a building. Right? Oh, wrong again. OK, one last try. In Olympus Has Fallen, Mr. Butler plays Mike Banning, an ex-Secret Service agent forced back into action after he wiggles his way into a blown-out and bullet-ridden White House, the only man preventing a terrorist victory, the death of a beloved American President, and all sorts of other evil schemes that could spell doom for the United States and the free world. Yes, finally. That's it. Mountains of similarities to other, better works of fiction though there may be, Olympus Has Fallen makes for a well above-average thrill ride in the shoot 'em up Action style. It borrows very liberally and quite frequently, no doubt, but Fuqua, one of Hollywood's most talented and arguably most underrated craftsmen, skillfully puts all the pieces together and constructs a movie that should delight Action fans to no end.
When an accident leaves U.S. President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) a broken man, he distances himself from the Secret Service agent who was present at the time of the accident and made a choice that forever changed the President's life. Now an ex-Secret Service agent, Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) has taken a pencil-pushing job at Treasury. It's been a year-and-a-half after the accident. The President has moved on as well as he can and finds himself dealing with a tense situation on the Korean peninsula that could shatter decades of relative peace between the Communist dictatorship in the north and the U.S. ally in the south. Asher's hand is about to be forced, one way or the other, and none of his options look promising. But the situation is about to become significantly more dynamic. The South Korean Prime Minster visits the White House for emergency talks, but his meeting with Asher is cut short when disaster strikes. An airborne gunship attacks the White House and surrounding areas. Ground forces penetrate the White House's defenses and a full-on siege turns into the occupation of the most heavily fortified building in the world. Scores of people -- including dozens of Secret Service agents -- are killed in the fight. Mike hurriedly makes his way to the White House and manages to survive the attack undetected. Now, he's the only man standing between the terrorists and a scheme that is sure to forever alter the course of humanity. Meanwhile, with the President and Vice President out of the picture, Speaker of the House Allan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman) is promoted to acting President and forced to make the hardest decisions of his life with only one man on the inside to help guide him down the right path.
All of the Transfer of Power and Die Hard (and never mind White House Down) comparisons aside, Olympus Has Fallen makes for a sturdy, rugged, dependable Action flick that's almost completely devoid of originality, a bit short on substance, and even shorter on unpredictability. What it does well, however, it does extremely well, and that's paint a vivid, nearly no-frills picture of a nation's capital under bloody siege. The action is tight and exciting, even if it seems a bit far-fetched to believe that an admittedly sophisticated, well-organized, and for the most part intelligent faction could pull off the impossible. Set aside notions of reality, suspend disbelief, turn off the brain, and enjoy the ride. Antoine Fuqua has crafted a picture that pays attention to the little things even in the midst of a mindless plot and nearly incessant action. He makes sure the movie is fun above all else. There's a serious edge to the film -- it plays a bit more seriously than even Die Hard -- but there's no mistaking the movie as anything but raw popcorn entertainment, even as it elevates above the usual junk Action filler and embraces and displays the best the genre has to offer.
Olympus Has Fallen not only earns a boost with a skilled director in the chair but also with a top-tier cast in front of the camera. Butler plays his part very well. He's no Bruce Willis, for sure, but then again the character as scripted is a little more to-the-point and not a hybrid action hero/normal guy/comic relief rolled into one. He has some choice moments of dialogue that earn a laugh, but he's more or less all business and goes about that business of killing bad guys very well, doing so sometimes casually or nonchalantly, a manner that suits the style of the film and the gravity of the situation both very well. Butler seems to feel at home under the gear, behind the gun, and in the bloodied action spotlight. Aaron Eckhart is rock-solid as the President and draws out a likable, real-guy sort of flair from the character. His relationship with his wife and son, his friendship with Mike, his seriousness in the Oval Office, and his leadership qualities under duress are all audience-friendly, believable, or both. He's not the most dynamic fictional President film has ever seen, but Eckhart nails the components for the character as required for this film. There's a high quality supporting cast that's uniformly excellent, including Morgan Freeman as the Speaker of the House thrust into Presidential duty. Angela Bassett, Radha Mitchell, Cole Hauser, and Dylan McDermott are also strong, though the film's biggest disappointment comes when McDermott's character undergoes a sudden transformation about two-thirds of the way through the film that comes way too suddenly and far too easily in the name of simple plot advancement, allowing the film an easy out rather than taking a tougher route towards the end. All in all, though, Olympus Has Fallen really its quite a spectacular Action movie in the classic mindless entertainment category done big and done right.
Olympus Has Fallen Blu-ray, Video Quality
Olympus Has Fallen's high definition transfer is by no means poor, but it's not quite as perfectly defined as is usually found on Sony releases. The film is rather dark by nature, but there's quite a few instances of crush and even some heavy noise seen during an overhead nighttime shot in chapter twelve. Some of the early scenes reveal very pasty and bland skin textures and a somewhat processed appearance overall. Minor banding and struggling color transitions across shadowy areas are also concerning. However, the transfer tightens up when it finds a bit more light. Though the image is never all that dynamic, it manages to show some positive facial textures and general around-the-screen details. Clarity is acceptable and sharpness is fine; there's never an overt softness to the picture. Colors are largely even, though there's not much in the way of naturally brilliant shades save for D.C. architecture, greenery, and blood. Light grain does remain, though it occasionally spikes above the norm for the movie. This is certainly not typical HD eye candy, but it's generally adequate.
Olympus Has Fallen Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Though its video transfer is sometimes suspect, there are no major shortcomings with Olympus Has Fallen's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack. This is a fantastic listen, just the sort of big, theatrical, able-bodied presentation a movie of this variety demands. Clarity is excellent and the track makes use of the entire stage for a dynamic feeling of immersion from beginning to end and under and circumstance. Music, for example, plays smoothly and naturally whether in the light opening notes or heavier action-influenced pieces. There's a real sense of spacing and seamless flow from front to back, defined by a generous but balanced low end. Gunfire proves exacting and exciting; whether blasts of heavy weapons from the gunship or the raging gun battle on the White House lawn, Sony's soundtrack delivers a precise and sometimes even terrifying sound field of relentless energy and excitement. There's no shortage of either heft or surround immersion in any action scene. Though there's not a lot in the way of pronounced ambient effects, the track never does feel front-heavy, unnatural, or sonically betraying of its environments in any way. Dialogue is smoothly delivered from the front-center with the sort of natural clarity listeners demand. All in all, this is an excellent presentation from Sony.
Olympus Has Fallen Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
While there is no commentary track, Olympus Has Fallen does contains several featurettes.
Olympus Has Fallen Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Olympus Has Fallen doesn't find the same character depth or intensity, the real human feeling, or the raw gritty emotion as found in Antoine Fuqua's best work (and one of the best movies of the last twenty years), Training Day, but the underrated director does bring a powerful, mostly no-frills style to the movie that helps it move beyond the unmistakable sense of déjà vu that permeates nearly very scene. He also gives the movie a serious edge without moving it beyond the arena of popcorn sensationalism. It's a quality balance and the film is better off taking a more serious edge rather than forcing in lame characters and even lamer comic relief. Audiences looking for high art should already know to skip, but Action fans won't find a significantly better product this year. Sony's Blu-ray release of Olympus Has Fallen offers slightly disappointing video, nearly flawless audio, and a fair array of extras. Highly recommended.
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Olympus Has Fallen Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Blu-ray Sales, August 12-18: Olympus Has Fallen Rises to Number One - August 21, 2013
For the week that ended on August 18th, Sony Pictures' Olympus Has Fallen rose to the top of both the Blu-ray-only and overall package media charts. This thriller proved the more durable of 2013's two White House-centric actioners; the film was a hit with audiences, ...
• Olympus Has Fallen Blu-ray - July 7, 2013
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will release a combo pack edition of director Antoine Fuqua's action thriller Olympus Has Fallen (2013), starring Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Dylan McDermott, Angela Bassett, and Melissa Leo. The release is set ...
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