Flickchart Preview: ‘Olympus Has Fallen’
Such was the success of Die Hard in 1988 that action movies have never quite been the same since. There is a particular kind of film that now even gets pitched as some kind of variant: Die Hard on a bus, Die Hard on a battleship, Die Hard on a train, Die Hard on a plane… you get the idea.
Now, in Die Hard‘s 25th anniversary year, we not only get the original’s fourth sequel, but we also get Die Hard in the White House…twice. First up is the loftily-titled Olympus Has Fallen, from director Antoine Fuqua. As per the formula that has served Hollywood so well for years, terrorists have assumed control over a confined location and taken hostages, and one or two rogue heroes skulk about the place, engineering their downfall while in limited communication with the outside. In this case, that confined space is the White House itself, and our hero is Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler). Of course, Banning is former Special Forces once assigned to Presidential Detail, but a recent accident has led to his demotion and assignment to a desk job. When the White House is taken by Korean terrorists (led by Rick Yune), Banning is trapped inside and must rescue President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) and the rest of the hostages.
Check out the trailer below.
It sounds derivative, but this breed of action movie sells, and Olympus Has Fallen has an impressive enough cast to help sell it. Aside from Butler and Eckhart, the film boasts Morgan Freeman as the Speaker of the House. (Since he’s barking all the orders in the trailer, it seems to go without saying that something unfortunate will befall the Vice President, played by Phil Austin.) Also on hand are Angela Bassett, Dylan McDermott, Radha Mitchell, Ashley Judd, Cole Hauser, Robert Forster and Oscar winner Melissa Leo.
Fuqua is no stranger to directing action – see The Replacement Killers, Tears of the Sun, King Arthur, Shooter – but he’s still trading on the fact that he directed Training Day, also known as the movie that won Denzel Washington his second Oscar. Still, that’s not a bad crown jewel to have in your resume.
Of course, there’s another film headed our way this year that has precisely the same theme as Olympus, but given how many films Hollywood cranks out in a year, it’s almost surprising it doesn’t happen more often. Think Armageddon vs. Deep Impact. A Bug’s Life vs. Antz. Last year we got Snow White and the Huntsman vs. Mirror Mirror, two different adaptations of the same fairy tale.
Olympus‘s doppelganger is White House Down, from director Roland Emmerich, in which Channing Tatum plays the hero alongside Jamie Foxx as the President. Alas, there’s no trailer yet for the latter film, so we can’t make a direct comparison, but it’s probably not a bad choice on behalf of White House Down‘s marketing department to wait until Olympus is out of the way. Curiously, White House Down has been moved up from its original November release date to June 28, putting even less distance between these two films.
Olympus Has Fallen is definitely rated R, and, as such, is promising some pretty heavy-hitting action, so all those Die Hard fans might be able to wash away the bad taste after A Good Day to Die Hard disappointed. The film is ready to rank on Flickchart when it opens wide on Friday, March 22.