The President is held hostage in Olympus Has Fallen, confusingly released the same year as White House Down; the worst year for the White House since the election of George W. Bush.
This 2013 action movie delivers exactly what you’d expect. The President’s wife is the first to die (I guess that’s why she’s called the First Lady) then the White House is attacked by an evil David Schwimmer (Dylan McDermott) and some North Korean terrorists – in the past they would have been Russians or aliens (the main villain is named after Kang from The Simpsons, perhaps so they could digitally replace him with a cartoon alien for the Asian market). Cue lots of pointing at the sky, CGI destruction and more shouting than a Republican presidential debate.
With Aaron Eckhart’s President Two-Face (and I don’t mean Richard Nixon) held hostage, Morgan Freeman steps in as Acting President. It’s the next logical step: scientist, God, President. And so the fate of the President, and therefore the universe, is up to Gerard Butler of Grumpy Security Ltd.
Olympus Has Fallen is Air Force Dumb from start to finish; two hours of noisily patriotic schlock. But it’s not a total disaster-in-chief. There are a couple of funny one-liners, including “Why don’t you and I play a game of fuck off. You go first.” and of course “send in the seals!” Sadly, they never arrive.
It’s no Big Game (I know I’d feel far safer under President L. Jackson than President Eckhart) but it’s a decent action film, and to my mind, a strong anti-nuke argument – though that probably wasn’t intended. The intention is American propaganda, or in Gerard Butler’s case, Scottish. The sequel, London Has Fallen, is due next month. Let’s hope they remember the seals this time.