The raid itself boggles the mind. Seeing a North Korean terrorist militia, armed to the teeth, descend on Washington D.C. – through both land and air – and be able to do so completely undetected is implausible enough. Then to see them raid and capture the Presidential mansion unabated by any form of response from U.S. forces or security is completely and utterly ridiculous. It’s as if they were invading my house, not the White House.

Setting aside the film’s confounding premise, the remaining plot machine that unfolds is boilerplate in both action and dialogue – albeit with excessive violence. North Korean terrorists want to restart the Korean War, apparently, so they hold hostage, threaten, torture, and sadistically kill members of the President’s staff. As these rebels make demands so impossible that they defy time, space, and matter, Banning sneaks through the White House corridors John McClane style… minus the style. Unless, of course, you call gory methodical killings punctuated by cheesy one-liners style. 

The film’s lazy excuse for a “response” team is having the Speaker of the House (Morgan Freeman, The Dark Knight Rises), the Secret Service Agency Director (Angela Bassett, This Means War), a General and an aide (whose sole purpose is to spout unrelenting exposition with a panic-stricken look on his face), essentially do nothing but watch and spout dramatics from a control room. That and Banning’s worried wife/Super Nurse serve as the perfunctory cutaway b-plots.

Even with all of the excesses considered, what ultimately makes Olympus Has Fallen unbearable is its own self-import. Director Antoine Fuqua (Shooter) seems to believe he’s paying tribute to the brave agents of our Secret Service, and even inspiring us to honor them. The problem is he attempts this with a premise that requires our agents to be the stupidest, laziest, weakest, and completely unprepared group of intelligence officers the world has ever seen. The only way this movie happens is if the entire Secret Service and Intelligence community fail – multiple times, at historic proportions. This isn’t a tribute; it’s an insult.


  • Drugs/Alcohol Content: Casual alcohol consumption; no drunkenness.
  • Language/Profanity: Strong language throughout.  The F-word is commonly used, as are most others – include a few instances of the Lord’s name taken in vain, along with a couple of crude/vulgar terms.
  • Sexual Content/Nudity: A few instances of married couples kissing. 
  • Violence/Other: Excessively violent, visualizing gory killings throughout.  Victims of a car crash, bloody slashed heads.  Multiple point-blank to the head killings, graphically shown.  Aftermath of a suicide bomber explosion.  Innocent civilians mowed down and slaughtered by terrorist gunfire.  Two different people stabbed in the head, another stabbed in the neck.  Bloody bullet-hole wounds shown.  Lots of bloody killings in general, many indiscriminate and graphic.  Severed limbs, cracked bones, assassinations of officials.  Captives held hostage, with vile and lethal threats made toward them.  A woman is beaten and dragged around by the hair.  Other people beaten/tortured as well.  Hand-to-hand violence and brutality.

Publication date: March 22, 2013