Olympus Has Fallen came out in early 2013 and despite being a halfway decent movie, didn’t receive much praise. Receiving a 49% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 66% overall review from audience members, it’s safe to say that this film didn’t smash the box office.
Overall I’ll have to admit the movie is pretty good, with some minor flaws, but also some interesting details that not everyone can pick up on easily. In this article I will discuss some of the issues I had with the movie as well as point out some of the things the movie gets right. So, strap in, get yourself a warm cup of tea, follow Game of Nerds on Facebook, and let’s start the show.
- Opening Scene Mistakes.
Right off the bat in the opening scene we are treated to an equipment error courtesy of the Marine Guards at the entrance of Camp Perry, who are shown briefly as the President exits the grounds. This unfortunate oversight would have been fairly easy to correct, so it is quite disappointing that it went ignored.
The Marine Guards stand at attention as the President passes, full dress uniform proudly on display as the snow falls around them. And therein lies the problem. Marine Guards generally wear the Marine All Weather Coat (AWC) or the Navy Blue Overcoat while on guard in harsh conditions. The only reason for them not to do so would be because they want to freeze their asses off, and I’ve never known any soldier who preferred that. Generally, soldiers tend to do their best to stay as warm and comfortable as possible.
Further sins were committed when the motorcade suffers an accident that causes an accident. The crash ends with the President’s limousine hanging off the edge of a bridge. Now, forgive me if I’m wrong, but the secret service is supposed to take immediate action to keep the president safe. The first half a minute or so of the rescue consists of the secret service agents and the president talking to each other while doing very little to actually save the president. After they’re done having a chat, the main character, played by Gerard Butler, produces a knife and uses it to cut the president’s seat belt. Unfortunately, the wasted time results in the vehicle going over the side, with the President’s wife inside.
Now, if you’ll take a moment to watch this video, you’ll see actual secret service agents saving former President Ronald Reagan from an assassination attempt. There is no discussion, no one stops to chat with the president about how he needs to stay calm, or how they’re going to save him from the situation. They leap into action to pull him out of the situation. Gerard Butler’s character shouldn’t have said a word. His first action once he had access to the inside of the vehicle should have been to pull that knife and cut the seat belt. Meanwhile, the agent on the opposite side of the vehicle who had found the First Lady’s door jammed, should have moved on to something more productive than continuing to tug on the door uselessly. All in all, the entire situation was handled very badly and not at all in the professional manner of the secret service. Oh, and did I forget to mention the fact they left the President’s son unwatched and alone in another vehicle? Yeah, that happened. Sounds safe to me. Moving on.
2. Treasury Agent
The US Department of the Treasury is probably not what most people associate with The Secret Service, but it is in fact, who they fall under in the bureaucracy that is the US government. Because of this, I don’t find fault in having Gerard’s character working for them, even at a desk job. What I do find issue with, is wasting a perfectly successful agent on an office chair and computer. Let me explain.
The First Lady’s death, while regrettable, was not meaningful in terms of national security. Secret Service Agent Mike Banning protected the president, as he was sworn to do. He succeeded in his mission. Now, her death was sad, and would be a tragic personal loss, but ultimately means very little except maybe in terms of creating a national remembrance day. It wouldn’t affect national economy, national security, or any other facet of national policy. Mike Banning was unfairly and illegitimately punished for forces outside his control.
3. AC-130 Where it Would Never Be.
Supposedly, all primary defenses of the White House are taken out in a matter of minutes by an armed AC-130. Now, consider this, post 9/11, an aircraft enters American airspace without proper clearance, doesn’t respond to radio contact, doesn’t have the proper markings, and is heading straight for the White House. Does this sound like a situation to you that wouldn’t immediately result in an F-18 or F-22 wiping the plane out with a sidewinder?
The reality of it is that is exactly what would happen. No hostile aircraft would ever make it into White House airspace in modern America. The fact that this movie couldn’t accomplish a White House takeover without this implausible plot device is simply bad writing. Overall, it is a simply unforgivable movie failure, and that’s why it made my list.
4. No Reason
Supposedly, they need three of the hostages to unlock the codes for Cerberus, an American ICBM self-destruct system. They easily procure two of the codes, but the President is the last holdout, refusing to give up his code. The initial plan is to take the President’s son and use him as leverage, when that falls through they reveal that they had software available the whole time that can unlock the codes in a matter of minutes.
And there lies the crux of this idiocy. If they had the software in the first place, why did they bother making sure they had all three code holders? Why not unlock the codes via software and save themselves a bunch of hassle? It doesn’t make any sense, and that’s why it belongs on any list of problems with this movie.
5. They Did Get Something Right
Nearing the end of the movie, the protagonist (Banning) and antagonist (Kang) engage in a brutal knife fight that, although lasting less than two minutes, ends with our hero being wounded several times. Despite his wounds, our hero succeeds in stabbing the bad guy through the forehead, which would be difficult in real life, but I’ll give it a pass just this once.
The realism aspect of this fight is how both parties get wounded several times. Unlike many movies, where the hero is invincible in a knife fight, you actually see Agent Banning recoil and bleed when he’s struck. Kang gets wounded less, but he still bleeds and gets out of the way of the blade when it gets too close. This is very realistic as most knife attacks end with both the victim and the attacker hurt at least a little bit, so I give this scene a big thumbs up.
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