One Big Scene: Why You Must See 'Olympus Has Fallen' on the Big Screen
One Big Scene is a weekly column dedicated to spectacular visual sequences we’re recommending you see in the theater. If you have ones you’d like us to write about, let us know in the comments section.
Olympus, in the title Olympus Has Fallen, refers to the White House, which is going to take a beating as the movie year rolls along. Over the summer, Channing Tatum and director Roland Emmerich will stage an all-out assault on 1600 Penn for White House Down. But this weekend, director Antoine Fuqua and his leading man, Gerard Butler, get a jump start on the D.C.-based action with the sure-to-be-big Olympus, the subject of this week’s One Big Scene.
The movie is relentless, a violent and darker-than-expected actioner that casts Butler as a disgraced Secret Service agent forced to rescue the President of the United States (Aaron Eckhart) when Korean terrorists attack our nation’s capital.
Does the movie work? Let’s surf a few of its reviews.
What Critics are Saying:
“Olympus Has Fallen is about as satisfying an action thriller as can be hoped for, with an irresistible premise and nothing but follow-through all the way to the finish.”
Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
“While the storyline and dialogue are frequently predictable, Olympus Has Fallen succeeds largely due to Butler's believablity as a Secret Service agent.”
Bill Zwecker, Chicago Sun-Times
“Fuqua knows exactly how to pump up a straightforward script from first-time scribes Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt.”
Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News
Olympus is never more terrifying than when the antagonists first strike. In a scene that can be glimpsed in the trailer, Korean forces enter the restricted air space over Washington, D.C. and rapidly take out two Air Force fighters that are sent to intercept the massive bomber that’s flying too close to our country’s monuments.
It’s a moment that’s eerily reminiscent of Sept. 11, where our military scrambles to respond to an aerial threat--but in the precious minutes it takes for jets to fly from a nearby Air Force base to the National Mall, the bomber has inflicted far too much damage on downtown D.C. Butler tries to protect innocent civilians from the gunfire spitting out of the machine guns on the side of this humongous plane, but there’s only so much one man can do when its sights are set on the White House.
Fuqua stages his larger-than-life sequence in broad daylight, and the violence set against the serenity of a summer afternoon in D.C. is unnerving. It makes for a fantastic action scene that absolutely needs to be seen on the big screen.
The movie opens in theaters on Friday, March 22. Watch this TV spot for the best available shot of the plane sequence.
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Sean O'ConnellFandango Bloggers
Sean is a film reviewer for The Washington Post and daily contributor to Fandango.
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