Antoine Fuqua is a director that I used to love. That is to say, I loved him for a very definite amount of time. I thought Fuqua was going to be the next Spike Lee. I was chomping at the preverbial bit to see how he would follow up his stunningly brilliant feature film Training Day. He had already made The Repracement Killers, a favorite of mine, and Bait, which could have been better. To put it mildly, I was gravely disappointed. Tears of the Sun was a train wreck. You could feel Bruce Willis not caring. The film’s structure is a mess. It’s just plain unfortunate. Since Tears of the Sun I’ve had a mixed relationship with Fuqua. He’s someone I want to love but don’t really. The Shooter is fun in a turn-your-brain-off kind of way. King Arthur made me want to kill myself.
Olympus Has Fallen, Fuqua’s latest release, is more in line with The Shooter than Training Day, unfortunately. Olympus Has Fallen is yet another in the seemingly endless barrage of post-9/11 America Fuck Yea! movies that offer no real depth or critique of our country’s relationship with others. Olympus Has Fallen is a hillbilly anthem of xenophobia and mediocrity. The film targets middle class americans who ‘love jesus and country music’ and caters to them.
The film centers on a secret service agent, Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) who must save the president (Aaron Eckhart) after he’s been kidnaped and the White House has been overrun by North Korean terrorists.
The film lacks any sort of sophistication or even brevity. It’s so dead ahead that it’s painful. The entire experience is a humorless endeavor comprised of cliche action beats.
Antoine Fuqua should have posted a sign in every theatre saying ‘Please check your brain at the door’. Or perhaps a pre-feature short film titled ‘Republicans Only’ would have been more appropriate. I’m picturing somehting along the lines of those military recuitement videos where Kid Rock or 3 Doors Down are playing as soldiers are running in slow motion towards an unseen enemy. That would be great. Maybe we can even get Kid Rock and 3 Doors Down to collaberate on a song just for Olympus Has Fallen. It could be called ‘Fuck People That Are Different Than Us ( Especially Those From Other Countries) Featuring Kid Rock.
Sounds great, right? Well, that’s basically what we got with Olympus Has Fallen.