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Movie review: 'Olympus Has Fallen' is bombastic and brainless

Published March 22, 2013 6:41 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

If Glenn Beck directed a live-action remake of the marionette-driven action parody "Team America: World Police," you might approach the level of ridiculous violence and brainless flag-waving in the gun-totin' thriller "Olympus Has Fallen."

When a group of North Korean terrorists invade the White House and take hostage President Benjamin Acker (Aaron Eckhart) and several Cabinet officers (including Melissa Leo), the only guy who can save the world is Mike Banning (Gerard Butler). Banning is a Secret Service agent formerly on the presidential detail — until a tragedy involving the first lady (played in the prologue by Ashley Judd).

He slips into the White House amid the gunfire, "Die Hard"-style, killing terrorists like a commando, rescuing the president's son (Finlay Jacobsen) and exchanging catchphrases with the Korean mastermind (Rick Yune). Meanwhile, the speaker of the House (Morgan Freeman), the Army's top general (Robert Forster) and Banning's boss (Angela Bassett) monitor events from the Pentagon's Lloyd Bridges Memorial Center for Aging Character Actors.

Director Antoine Fuqua ("Training Day," "Brooklyn's Finest") mines the script's idiotic conspiracy plot for outlandish visuals — the ads give away the shot of the Washington Monument cut in half — and repeated images of bullets going through people's skulls. After two hours of force-fed bravado, you'll know how those people feel.

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'Olympus Has Fallen'

Opens Friday, March 22, at theaters everywhere; rated R for strong violence and language throughout; 120 minutes.