‘Olympus Has Fallen’ is hardly original, but its thrills still satisfy

Gerard Butler in ‘Olympus Has Fallen.’ Rated R, 120 min. FilmDistrict, 2013.

“Olympus Has Fallen” is essentially a summer blockbuster delivered a few months early. The plot of terrorists attacking the White House may not be original, yet the suspense works well and the characters are feisty enough to entertain. But parents and the squeamish be warned: the over-the-top action and unrelenting gunfire delivers the highest body count outside of a Tarantino film.

After the White House comes under siege in a thrillingly-cut attack sequence, a lone Secret Service agent formerly on the presidential detail (Gerard Butler) becomes the government’s only hope of rescuing the president (Aaron Eckhart), who is trapped in a bunker with North Korean militants.

Butler seems at ease as he tosses off one-liners and takes on the enemies single-handedly, yet Eckhart isn’t given enough to do. Morgan Freeman lends his gravitas as the Speaker of the House, who has some tough decisions to make, while Angela Bassett oozes steely authority as the Secret Service director.

“Olympus Has Fallen” can naturally be compared to films like “Air Force One,” but the inherent drama of putting the president in peril makes these pulse-pounders easy to enjoy. Take it for what it is, and you can have a good time.

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