Banning, now assigned a desk job in Washington, is frustrated and forgotten, but when chaos erupts in the capital he seizes an opportunity to relive former glory.
The White House, code name Olympus, is under attack and the resulting battle claims hundreds of lives. Cue the music and cheap CGI with Banning on his way to try to save the president, played by Aaron Eckhart, in time to avert global catastrophe. Morgan Freeman makes intermittent appearances as Allan Trumbull, the Speaker of the House and acting president, but one has to wonder if his inclusion wasn’t perhaps merely for the sake of a famous face on the poster.
As the flag hangs in tatters and all hope seems to be lost, in creeps the suspicion that there might be an agenda behind this film. The Americans have taught us that the key ingredients to waging a war are: accuse the offending country of harbouring nuclear weapons, systematically build up a common hatred towards their people and, finally, have a reason to attack. The merciless and psychotic Asian people, specifically Korean, depicted as militants in this film almost force a feeling of xenophobia into the air, as if they will be easier to alienate.
Before major conflicts, governments have been known to introduce propaganda in order to prepare people and turn them against the “enemy”. Another recent release, Red Dawn, depicts North Korean soldiers invading American soil. Red Dawn is a remake of a 1980s film of the same name, but in the original Soviet forces were the ones doing battle with the Americans. The original Red Dawn was also coincidentally released during the Cold War, so there’s definitely a pattern.
The relevance of Olympus Has Fallen to the current situation in North Korea and the future actions of America is much more interesting than the film itself. It joins the rungs of Antoine Fuqua’s previous hit-and-miss films such as Tears of the Sun and Shooter by being chalked up in the “miss” column. Critics on the movie review site Rotten Tomatoes gave it a deserving rating of 48%. Clearly, there are better ways to spend your time and money.