Now Playing: The Second ‘Die Hard’ of 2013

Say what you want about ‘A Good Day to Die Hard’, but I enjoyed it for the big dumb (emphasis on “dumb”) action movie it was. If it left you unsatisfied, yearning more quips, one-liners, profanity and R-rated violence, then you just might consider ‘Olympus Has Fallen’ the ‘Die Hard’ movie that ‘A Good Day’ failed to be.

‘Olympus Has Fallen’ is a tough title to review. Is it a good movie? Not at all. Is it entertaining? Hell yeah.

A group of Korean militants storm the White House and hold the President (Aaron Eckhart) hostage in the emergency bunker located 150-feet beneath ground level. What they want, we don’t know, but there’s one American who’s not going to sit back and watch them get away with it.

The former leader of the President’s Secret Service detail (Gerard Butler) now leads security a few blocks away at the Treasury. When the Koreans begin their raid with an aerial attack, he immediately bolts for the White House to protect his former boss and friend. Within minutes, every Secret Service agent on the premises is dead and, much like John McClane in the original ‘Die Hard’, Butler is the sole good guy in the overrun building – only Butler never loses his shoes.

The first half of ‘Olympus’ is a bit too serious and overly dramatic. The (presumably) intentional it’s-so-bad-it’s-good parts don’t fully kick in until the second half. That’s where the true fun begins. The violence gets grittier and bloodier, the patriotic cheesiness is really slathered on, and Butler turns into John McClane with hair. Speaking to the villain over a walkie-talkie, Butler says, “I have an idea. Why don’t you and I play a nice game of Fuck Off? You go first.” With lines like that, how can you not make comparisons to ‘Die Hard’?

Even for the ‘Die Hard’ fans, I can’t fully recommend ‘Olympus Has Fallen’ because the movie has a good amount of ‘Air Force One’ in it too. If you, like most of the world, realized that the greatness of Antoine Fuqua’s ‘Training Day’ was a fluke, then you should know not to expect anything noteworthy from him again. Luckily, he’s at least making movies worth laughing with (or at) – which is a lot more than I can say for most of 2013’s other big releases so far.

Rating: ★★★☆☆


  1. …and we’re getting another of these in June with WHITE HOUSE DOWN starring Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx. It’s another Roland Emmerich picture, so you know it’s going to be big, loud, and dumb…but probably a lot of fun.

    • FLskydiver

      White House Down might turn out to be the better bad movie; but Olympus Has Fallen definitely has the better title. White House Down? Phht.

  2. How many times do they have to make a movie with White House trashed and president held hostage at the white house bunker? Salt was a much better movie than this. Angelina Jolie did a great job as the female Jason Bourne. Even though North Koreans are much more credible threat than Russians, this movie was an obvious rip-off of Salt and Die Hard. I’m not saying it’s a bad movie. But Hollywood needs to be a bit more original than this.

  3. Quite frankly, I think ’24’ already played this concept out when it did a season where Jack Bauer had to save the President from an attack on the White House. I don’t know what either of these new movies can offer that hasn’t already been done on TV (besides a little more gore and some swearing).

  4. AllanL5

    This movie looks like a bunch of guys saw that Roland Emmerich was making “White House Down”, and said to themselves “Shoot, WE can make that movie, faster, and have it in theaters by MARCH! Let’s Do It!” — the end result is annoying in its switches between cowardice and heroic courage, annoying in how stupid US security forces are, and largely a waste of time. “A Good Day To Die Hard” was MUCH better, that’s how bad this movie is.

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