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Movie review: 'Olympus Has Fallen'

Posted 9:12pm on Thursday, Mar. 21, 2013

R (strong violence, strong language throughout); 113 min.

For those who thought the last Bruce Willis movie was a little light on the casualty list, Olympus Has Fallen arrives toting the biggest body count since Die Hard II.

Bystanders and tourists, soldiers, cops and Secret Service agents fall by the score in a movie about the unthinkable -- a terrorist ground assault on Washington, D.C. This is Die Hard in the White House, with Gerard Butler manning up as Mike Banning, the lone Secret Service agent to survive after terrorists take the White House and seize the president and most of the cabinet.

Not without a fight, of course. This president (Aaron Eckhart) boxes. Banning is a former White House detail member, on the outs because of a life-or-death decision he made months before. When the gunship sweeps over D.C., when ordinary Asian tourists turn out to be terrorists, when innocent garbage trucks turn into tanks, Mike's the man of the moment -- dashing back inside his old stomping grounds, where a mastermind (Rick Yune of Die Another Day and The Man With the Iron Fists) tells the chairman of the Joint Chiefs (Robert Forster) and speaker of the House (Morgan Freeman), "I am the man in control of your White House."

For all the bursts of blood, the gunplay and execution-style head-shots that punctuate scores of deaths, it's hard to see Olympus Has Fallen (that's Secret Service code) as much more than another movie manifestation of a first-person-shooter video game. We've become a head-shot nation, and our thrillers are the poorer for it.

-- Roger Moore,

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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