Tag Archives: Gerard Butler

Olympus has Fallen – Movie Review

1 Apr

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You almost feel a little bit naughty for liking this film. It has every cliché in the book… the patriotic drum rolls when an image of the white house is shown in full glory, the American flag falling solemnly to the ground when the take over is complete, and the words “God Bless America” that are used perhaps more times than a skeptical British audience cares to hear. However, Olympus has Fallen is a very enjoyable film. Even though its made by the director of Training Day, Antoine Fuqua, it is no Training Day (there is no Denzel for starters…) but rom-com hero come face stabber Gerard Butler steps up to the plate as disgraced Presidential Guard Mike Banning pretty well.

The story follows the former Head of Security, eighteen months after he fails to save President Asher’s (Aaron Eckhart) wife from falling to her death Screen Shot 2013-03-31 at 20.57.06following a freak snow accident en route back from Camp David. He is now working a desk job at the State Treasury so to not remind the President of that fateful night. There is unrest in Korea and the South Korean President comes to the White House to find a solution. This is when the take down begins. A full blown storm on the White House occurs and it seems that the FBI, Navy Seals and Homeland security have are facing more danger than they ever could have imagined, so its down to one man to get the President and his son out of the White House alive.

Butler has been known in the last few years to take the easy money route with his career, rom-coms like Playing for Keeps and P.S. I Love You have been a strategic way of keeping the actor Screen Shot 2013-03-31 at 21.04.46both funded and in the forefront of Hollywood’s minds (on screen at least). We can be forgiven for momentarily forgetting that he actually played King Leonidis in the brutal graphic novel 300, but its good to see him back on form here. Apart from a few dodgy accent slips, it’s easy to see him as a high profile security guard who has a charismatic relationship with both the President and his son. He brings an everyman quality to this performance which makes him more accepting in this role, clearly knowing his place as to when to be friend and when to serve. Its easy to follow Butler as the central character here, his action moves are not unexpected, you feel he knows when he’s delivering a cheesy line and you even on occasion get a little glimmer appear in his eyes which tells the audience that although he shouldn’t, he’s definitely laughing at this line with you.

Screen Shot 2013-03-31 at 20.57.29Accompanying him in supporting roles are Angela Bassett (Secret Service Director Lynn Jacobs) and Morgan Freeman (Speaker Trumbull). Having these two in this film I feel balances up the ridiculousness of some of the scenes and forces a sense of credibility into what we’re watching. Although understated, these two actors become an audience within the film, watching action themselves from the Pentagon, and making a few big decisions as and when necessary.

As the villain of the piece, Kang, Rick Yune is perfectly cast. Amidst all the chaos of the epic take over scene, the Screen Shot 2013-03-31 at 21.05.30criminal mastermind is cool, calm and calculated. It’s almost sinister how relaxed he is, and you automatically think back to his Bond villain Zao in Die Another Day. You find yourself intrigued as to what happen will happen next with him, and a key highlight for me was his un-emotive reaction to Butlers proposed game of “Fuck Off.” As an actor, Yune really does play the ‘less is more’ card very well.

Overall, the film is a combination of cheese, violence (in parts verging on ultra-violence) and an almost worrying example of the most protected building in the world being overtaken by terrorists. Despite its terrible title and slight lack of gravitas to make it a classic action flick, its really worth a watch, the fight scenes are exciting, you almost fear for your own safety a little when the take over begins, and apart from a few dodgy lines Olympus has fallen makes for an engaging and solid watch – definitely one for the boys though.

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BFI Day 5 – Coriolanus – Ralph Fiennes sits in the directors chair for this Shakespeare Adaptation

17 Oct

Lining up a stellar cast for not the easiest of Shakespearean adaptations must have been daunting for Ralph Fiennes, but as he put it at  the press conference, he was obsessed with this character and how relevant the play is to our modern society. That is the beauty of Shakespeare, its adaptability and ability to impact audiences around the world year after year and in so many different forms.

I wonder how difficult it must have been for Fiennes to pitch this to the financiers though, as on paper its not a well known play, its dark, aggressive and political. However when you know that Vanessa Redgrave is on board as well as Brian Cox and the then unknown Jessica Chastain – you must be on to a winner. Gerard Butler may have been somewhat of a wildcard in the first instance due to his action and rom-com notoriety however if you watch the film, you’ll notice how he holds his own just fine amongst these distinguished thesps!

The setting is Serbia, Belgrade in the midst of political turmoil and uprising against Coriolanus. The Serbian actors in the film adapt to the prose expertly and provide small but valuable parts in the film. The action, particularly at the beginning of the film is electrifying – particularly in a cinema surrounding and you feel like you are a part of the warfare yourself. You get inside the skin of Coriolanus, brilliantly portrayed by Fiennes.

However, it may have been the time of day in which the film was shown, but there was a considerable lull in the middle of the film. For wider audiences this is no Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet, it was never an easy play to take to, and despite Ralph Fiennes valiant attempt – it just misses the mark. The real star of the show is Vanessa Redgrave, there have to be Oscar bells ringing, this performance is one all actors should watch and aspire to emulate in their careers, a real master at work – particularly in her closing speech. This film has all the right tools to make it magical but is just a very near miss. Die Hard Shakespeare fans may love it, I’m not sure, but for the wider cinema going public, I’m not so sure.

It still however managed to successfully pull in the crowds at the premiere and hopefully thats a reflection of the same level of people that will support this film. We’ll have to wait and see. Its out on UK general release on the 20th January 2012.