CPAC Movie Review: Olympus Has Fallen
The White House (codename: Olympus) has fallen into the hands of North Korean terrorists. They've neutralized the presidential security detail; captured the president, the vice president, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the secretary of Defense; and are held up in the Presidential Emergency Operations Center (PEOC). Only disgraced Secret Service agent Mike Banning, played by Gerard Butler, can save the president. In all, it's Die Hard in the White House, and it's awesome.
After being unable to save the president's wife after an accident, Banning is taken off his security detail. He is then relegated to a soporific desk job. As tensions along the 38th parallel intensify, which mirrors our current situation, a few North Koreans decided it's time to bring their misery to American shores. So, they use a C-130 gunship to shoot up Washington, D.C., while using a crack commando team to storm the walls of the White House under the cover of dump trucks retrofitted with heavy machine guns to provide cover. They wipe out the entire Secret Service contingent assigned to the White House.
With the president and vice president in enemy hands, it's up to the speaker of the House, played by Morgan Freeman, to navigate through this unprecedented situation. In the meantime, Agent Banning shoots, stabs, and chokes his way towards PEOC – and the president. However, he has very little time, as the North Koreans are working on accessing America's nuclear arsenal.
The film is fun, action-packed, and filled with good one-liners. Concerning authenticity, Ricky James, a security advisor and counter-terrorism expert, said it's possible to launch an attack on the White House. He said:
We’ve cut the defense budget. We’ve cut the intelligence budget. We’ve cut the intelligence staff…we have foreign and American domestic terrorists on our soil. And if you put all that in a melting pot, I’m not saying they’ll be successful in taking the White House, but an attack could take place.
James is also a veteran of presidential details for President George H. W. Bush, and served as an advisor on the film. Additionally, he hopes that Americans leave with a feeling of pride and admiration for members of the U.S. Secret Service for all that they do protecting the president and serving their country. Nevertheless, he didn't look like he would be missing the grueling twenty-hour work days during production.
It's an exciting film, and definitely worth the price of admission.