Picture this: the White House is stormed by guerrilla forces from North Korea, the President and his cabinet members are being held hostage in the very bunker meant to protect them from harm, and the fate of the United States rests in the hands of Secret Service Agent Mike Banning. If you are like me, you are asking yourself one question: does Banning possess the physical strength and rugged jaw necessary to save the President? In the case of Olympus Has Fallen, the answer is a resounding yes.

The new action movie from director Antoine Fuqua — of Training Day fame — stars Gerard Butler as Mike Banning, a secret service agent who was taken off the President’s personal detail after a horrible accident cost the First Lady her life. Reassigned to the Treasury, Banning becomes an outsider overnight. The film really begins when he is called to duty on this fateful day as terrorists — from North Korea, of course — mount a carefully planned attack and take over the White House in less than fifteen minutes. They manage to kill every Secret Service Agent inside, but Banning slips past them and becomes the U.S. government’s only link inside the White House.

Where the movie goes from there is more or less what you’d expect. There are roadblocks, some hand-to-hand combat and a few shootouts, all together nothing too surprising. What’s truly remarkable is the cast. Fuqua attracted a group of phenomenal performers, including Morgan Freeman as Speaker of the House, Angela Bassett as the Director of the Secret Service, and Melissa Leo as Secretary of Defense. And they are all fantastic. Bassett is a scene-stealer — an impressive feat considering she shares the majority of her scenes with Freeman — and gives one of the most compelling performances of the film. Her character is especially refreshing considering the genre. Amid the sea of macho men, she stands tall as a woman in charge — a strong contrast to the typical hot girl with a gun.

You can find the flaws of Olympus Has Fallen in its script. The film is simply too by-the-numbers, too melodramatic, and, frankly, too long. The President, played by Aaron Eckhart, is noble to a fault and quickly becomes one-note. The only twist in the film happens too early when — spoiler alert — it is revealed that former Secret Service Agent Forbes (Dylan McDermott) has turned and is working with the North Koreans. Unfortunately, this occurs in the first twenty minutes of the film, doing it an immense disservice considering the movie lacks suspense toward the end.

Another major flaw was the absence of sexual tension. Maybe I only feel this way because I am a girl who is, admittedly, a romantic through and through; however, when you have such a talented, good looking cast, it seems only natural to incorporate a bit of flirtations to add to the anticipation of the action. The hottest moment in the film occurs when Banning faces off against the mastermind terrorist Kang, played by the suave Rick Yune. The choreography of the final battle is very raw and authentic and they are so equally matched that I almost wished it were longer.

Yune and Butler are the soul of the film, and it is unfortunate that the two don’t share more screen time. In fact, there was a sense of detachment between all the characters. As in most modern-day thrillers, a majority of the communication between the villain and the hero occurs through video or telephone, without any real face-to-face confrontations until the end. And, due to the fact that the President is such an uninteresting character, Yune is restricted in that he can't play off of a worthy adversary. The bunker had the most potential for drama, yet it was only taken advantage of during a too-short torture scene between Yune and Leo.

The film is not all-together boring, but the lack of any real twist makes it a bit monotone. Butler, however, does his best to keep things moving and is completely in his element, clearly having fun playing the hero. Fans of action and Butler will love it; others will be ambivalent. But we can all agree that any movie featuring the image of a Secret Service Agent sitting at the President’s desk in the Oval Office, preparing all his guns and rifles to fight terrorists, can’t be all bad.

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