Louise Watches ‘Olympus Has Fallen’ (AKA the White House Takeover Movie That Channing Tatum Is NOT in)
Sometimes movies surprise you. This can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on the surprise. For instance, Bill Murray’s cameo in Zombieland: good surprise. The last half-hour of Django Unchained: bad surprise. Most recently, I was very surprised by Olympus Has Fallen, mainly because I thought it was a different movie. Let me explain: my friend and I were trying to decide on what movie to go see, and he suggested Olympus Has Fallen, so I thought, “Hey, I’ll see anything with Channing Tatum in it. Why not give Olympus a chance?” Only here’s the thing—Channing Tatum wasn’t in this movie. I was confusing it with the other movie about the White House being taken over by terrorists that comes out this summer: White House Down, starring Tatum and Jamie Foxx. Needless to say, it was a different movie-going experience than I had anticipated. With that in mind, here is my minute-by-minute thought process while watching this movie. (The times are general estimations, since I didn’t have access to a clock during the movie…because I’m not That Guy who checks his or her phone during a movie. IT’S CALLED COMMON DECENCY, PEOPLE. Sorry…pet peeve.) This probably goes without saying, but SPOILERS AHOY, MATEYS!…
00:02—Percentage of time Gerard Butler pulls off a believable American accent: .05% Percentage of time I care: .005%
00:05—Dylan McDermott, why are you so sketchy?
00:08—Okay, you seriously expect me to believe that Ashley Judd would leave the house in a sleeveless dress IN DECEMBER without a jacket or a shawl or something? Yeah, okay.
00:12—Wow, poor Ashely Judd… First Missing gets canceled, now this…
00:13—Where is Channing Tatum?
00:18—Okay, don’t bother adding female love interests if you’re just going to have them do the stereotypically petulant, “You’re not listening to me!” thing when their husbands get distracted by more “important” things like their jobs and the safety of the Free World. I would’ve let it slide once, but twice? Come on.
00:21—Did Gerard Butler just jaywalk directly in front of a moving police car? I’m pretty sure he did.
00:22—This movie would be more interesting if Gerard Butler and President Aaron Eckhart were secret lovers. I’m just saying.
00:24—MORGAN MOTHER-EFFING FREEMAN! Is there any movie you’re not in? Please proceed with your badassery.
00:25—Is that Melissa Leo? That is Melissa Leo! Remember that time she was on Veronica Mars? Man, I am so psyched for that movie…
00:27—WOAH. S**T IS GOING DOWN. I am not okay with how effed up my almost-hometown of Washington, D.C. is getting right now. Also, it’s too soon for a 9/11-esque plane-crashing-into-the-Washington-Monument scene, you guys. Too soon.
00:29—Alright, seriously though… Where the hell is Channing Tatum?
00:30—I have officially reached my tolerance level of gratuitous gun violence. This is just too much.
00:42—I KNEW YOU WERE EVIL, DYLAN McDERMOTT! Your face is almost as generally slimy-looking as Jude Law’s.
00:45—Oh good, the obligatory gruff old general is here to belligerently insist that it’s his way or the highway. Does he know where Channing Tatum is?
00:56—*Gerard Butler smashes a bad guy’s skull in with a bust of Abraham Lincoln* Nice one, Gerard! Best use of Lincoln’s head since Lincoln’s actual head!
1:12—This evil terrorist guy is actually kind of hot in a creepy-Dolce-&-Gabbana-ad kind of way…
1:19—I feel like this movie might be bordering on racist… Or maybe not. I think I’m too geo-politically ignorant to say decisively either way.
1:28—You have to at least appreciate the realistically frequent use of the f-word in this movie.
1:35—“Bring in the SEALs, gentlemen.” YESSSS THAT MUST MEAN CHANNING TATUM OH MY GOD FINALLY!!!
1:36—False alarm. Still no Channing Tatum. Starting to think maybe this is the wrong movie…
1:44—Really? You’re gonna fall for the old masked-hostages release trick? Get it together, guys. Jack Bauer would never put up with this amateur hour crap.
1:47—Well, at least Angela Bassett and Melissa Leo are here to salvage the pride of all women in this movie. (Of course, it still wouldn’t pass the Bechdel test, but I guess you can’t have everything.)
1:51—Finally, some good old-fashioned hand-to-hand combat! Or in this case, foot-to-face combat. I must say I prefer my movie violence in its purer, more traditional form of hand-to-hand fighting instead of automatic weaponry. To quote Westley from The Princess Bride on Fezzik’s fighting style, “You mean, you’ll put down your rock and I’ll put down my sword, and we’ll try to kill each other like civilized people?” That’s how it should be in all action movies! With the occasional lightsaber duel, of course.
1:53—Someone really didn’t think through this nuclear missile failsafe protocol… I like to think our actual government isn’t quite this massively unprepared for something like this…probably.
1:54—Okay, I give up. Channing Tatum is not in this movie.
1:58—Wow, how did they get Aaron Eckhart’s sweat to drip so dramatically down his face? Now that is great acting.
As the credits began to roll, I turned to my friend and said thoughtfully, “Channing Tatum was not in that movie.” So let this be a warning to all you other Tatum fans: this is NOT the White House invasion movie you want to go see. Unless one of the things on your bucket list is to see every movie Morgan Freeman has ever been in, in which case you have about 500 movies to see, my friend. Including The Bucket List. All in all, Olympus Has Fallen isn’t a bad film. It is what it is: a watered-down Die Hard with a fairly charismatic Gerard Butler trying to handle the BAMF-osity quota and the comic relief. But if you’re only going to see one movie about an attack on the White House this year, I’d hold out for White House Down in June. Did I mention Channing Tatum is in it?