Gerard Butler stars in 2013s first White House Siege movie, ‘Olympus Has Fallen’, that was soon followed by the similarly ridiculous ‘White House Down’.
In a thoroughly enjoyable first act, a small band of highly trained Korean extremists lock down the White House, hold the President (Aaron Eckhart) hostage and threaten to turn the US into a nuclear wasteland. These scenes, especially the firefights on the house lawns, are suitably bombastic and, when accompanied by the hilariously patriotic score, provide a great deal of jingoistic fun.
Understandably, however, these scenes can’t last forever and we soon witness a slow-burning hostage situation that sees a group of boring people sit round a table discussing boring stuff. This slows the pace right down, and the film’s pulse only really starts beating again when Butler’s Mike Banning starts brutally stabbing people in the head again. But, then we’re taken back to the hostage room.
This cycle continues throughout the middle act and it all starts to get a bit shouty and racist. But, fortunately, the explosions soon return when the boring people decide to do something a bit less boring and send out some choppers to get men onto the White House roof. Things remain engaging for the rest of the runtime thanks in part to an exciting, though ultimately incomplete and short-lived, hooded set-piece.
Despite all my gripes, Olympus Has Fallen is a far better Die Hard movie than the real Die Hard 5 and, likewise, Gerard Butler now seems to be a better Bruce Willis than Bruce Willis . . . who’d have thunk it?