Olympus Has Fallen [Blu-Ray] Antoine Fuqua

Olympus Has Fallen [Blu-Ray] Antoine Fuqua
4
Amidst the brief, but highly enthusiastic supplemental material included with the Blu-Ray of absurdly nationalistic action thriller Olympus Has Fallen is a "making of" where director Antoine Fuqua and several members of the cast talk about the gritty realness of the action unfolding on screen. Fuqua's main, presumably only, goal was to depict authentic violence and chaos, attempting to make plausible a situation that finds North Korean terrorists infiltrating the White House and holding the president (Aaron Eckhart) and his team of alacritous sycophants hostage. That anyone would approach a trashy, throwaway action film with a ludicrous plotline that features, amongst other things, the secretary of defence (Melissa Leo) pledging her allegiance to the flag while being dragged through broken glass in her underwear towards her execution is simultaneously shocking and funny. But that's exactly what Fuqua has done. Although Olympus Has Fallen is defined by an endless array of clichés and wholeheartedly cheesy dialogue, featuring Gerard Butler as our protagonist/superhero on a quest for redemption — he's an ex-presidential Secret Service agent that resigned his post after a miscalculation in a perilous situation left the first lady (Ashley Judd) splattered all over a ravine — Fuqua never suggests he's in on the joke. Instead, everyone goes through the motions with a straight face, doing their best to sell dramatic scenes where the president — ostensibly an infallible phallus, as represented here — repeatedly offers the terrorists his life in exchange for the safety of his similarly brave staff members. Eckhart perpetually makes a poop face, while Butler, doing the Die Hard thing with his unflappable, hyper-coordinated cipher of a character (a man that just happened to be standing in front of the White House when terrorists attacked, despite not working there anymore) runs around killing every stray Asian he sees. Because all of this is treated with such severity, never hinting at a semblance of humour or anything less than reverence for the sanctity of an American institution, dramatic scenes — ones that actually feature slow-motion imagery of the American flag falling from the roof of the White House with a profanely heavy-handed score blaring — play as slapstick comedy. In fact, Fuqua's decision to take this facile bid at traditionalist fear mongering seriously is unintentionally the best thing he could have done; he's inadvertently made one of the funniest comedies of the year. Nothing about the action or plot is remotely inspiring or even interesting but, as is the standard for any film featuring both Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman, the sheer broadness and unintentional condescension work as a friendly reminder of just how astoundingly terrible mainstream American filmmaking can be. (VVS)