'Olympus Has Fallen': What Are The Critics Saying?
Olympus Has Fallen, starring Morgan Freeman, Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart opened to mixed reviews from film’s top critics this weekend.
The film follows former presidential guard Mike Manning (Butler) as he tries to retake the White House after the president (Eckhart) is kidnapped, while the streets of Washington D.C. are ravaged by gunfire. As the security team talks tactics, Manning uses brute force and his inside knowledge to carry out the patriotic mission of restoring the nation's capitol to order. Directed by Antoine Fuqua, the action packed B-Movie received plenty of criticism, along with a fair amount of appreciation.
"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,” said the San Francisco Chronicle’s Mike LaSalle. “The film has the sheen of a first-rate production.” Adam Graham of the Detroit News felt similarly about the film. "Olympus Has Fallen goes through plenty of familiar motions, but does them well enough that it gets away with it,” he wrote.
The New York Times' A.O. Scott was less impressed, writing, “[Olympus Has Fallen] is more a 'school of Die Hard' production, in which a weary and battered law enforcement professional, severely constrained by time and space, fights off a ridiculous number of bad guys.” Kyle Smith of the New York Post put it similarly when he wrote, “The film is a second-rate Air Force One mashed up with a third-rate Die Hard, with Gerard Butler striving mightily to be charismatic as the One Man Who Can Save the Day.” In addition to taking issue with the concept and the film’s leading man, Smith disparaged the special effects and called Furqua “sloppy.”
Coming to the defense of Butler and Furqua were LaSalle and The Washington Post’s Ann Hornaday, respectively. “It is easy to believe in [Butler's] anger, and just as easy to believe that he would kill all those people. As action heroes go, next to Butler in this movie, Willis is a pacifist," wrote LaSalle in the SF Chronicle. Hornaday, commending the director, wrote, “Fuqua puts us right where we want to be when it comes to patriotic spectacle: on top and aggrieved. Spring is barely here, and America already has its first summer blockbuster.”
Vulture movie critic David Edelstein managed to sum up general opinion of Olympus Has Fallen in one line: “Olympus Has Fallen is a disgusting piece of work, but it certainly hits its marks — it makes you sick with suspense.”