It was Friday night and I was open to some mindless cinematic entertainment. That’s my excuse. But having wasted almost two hours of my life watching Olympus Has Fallen, the only thing I can do to partly redeem myself is to warn anyone who might be open to some mindless entertainment not to make the same mistake I did.
If only my curiosity about how they would end this thing hadn’t gotten the best of me.
The premise is that a bunch of well-armed, oddly-motivated Koreans take over the White House with the help of an ex-Secret Service agent who has “lost his way” (that’s an understatement). Their goal is to somehow reunite North and South Korea while destroying the United States. Lots of people are killed in the attack. Furthermore, the President, the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – the three people who know the passwords that will blow up all of America’s nuclear missiles – happen to be at the White House and end up as hostages in the presidential bunker. There’s only one intrepid Secret Service agent left standing. Not only does he kill every bad guy he meets, he rescues the President and the President’s son, after which he stops the countdown to nuclear catastrophe with only seconds to spare.
It’s stupid, exceedingly violent, poorly-written and cliche-ridden, but it’s only a big-budget action movie. What bothered me was the idea that some people’s lives and suffering are much more important than everyone else’s. The President gives up secret codes, jeopardizing the whole country, in order to protect two people. The Speaker of the House (the Vice President is a hostage too) orders the Army and Navy to withdraw from South Korea, accepting the idea that he’s probably starting a war, in order to save the President’s life. Bodies are strewn all around the White House and the District of Columbia, but the President and his Secret Service pal crack jokes as they walk outside. The brain trust in the Pentagon’s command center is so happy when the President is rescued that they all stand and applaud, despite the fact that they’ve presided over the worst breach of security in the nation’s history, during which scores of innocent people were maimed and killed and the lives of millions of others were unnecessarily put at risk.
Really, if you’re a senior official who’s taken hostage, consider yourself expendable. You can be replaced.
By the way, Netflix claims that 900,000 people have given this epic an average rating of 4.2 out of 5, meaning the average viewer really liked it. Some people loved it. From the comments, some people even took it seriously. I’d tell you to judge for yourself, but that would be wrong.