‘Olympus Has Fallen’
R, 119 minutes
By CHRISTOPHER LLOYD
Maybe we give too many points to originality. I’d rather see a really well-done rehash of old material than a wholly original movie without a dram of flair and wit. “Pacific Rim” may just be a mash-up of monster and robot movies, but it was giddy and fun. “After Earth” was a brand-new idea, but disastrously executed.
“Olympus Has Fallen” is hardly a novel flick. Start with the fact that it’s one of two movies out this year about terrorists taking over the White House. And the plot is barely more than “Die Hard” with a zip code change.
But this action/thriller from director Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day”) is a zippy, taut distraction. It’s entirely implausible, but the sort of movie where you can park your brain in neutral for a couple of hours and have a good time.
Gerard Butler plays Mike Banning, a disgraced Secret Service agent who gets trapped in the White House when North Koreans attack. (I said implausible!) He turns into a one-man wrecking crew, while the president (Aaron Eckhart) and the secretary of defense (Mellissa Leo) are trapped in the underground bunker by the sneering villain (Rick Yune).
It may not be new, but sometimes something old is a better bet.