REVIEW: Olympus Has Fallen

3 03 2015

Lest we forget, the sight of the White House, the very icon of the American Presidency, in flames could have been a non-fiction tale (or a Paul Greengrass film). On September 11, 2001, United Flight 93 was likely headed to Washington, D.C. to take out the beloved building. So given that history, a modicum of respect – not even Christopher Nolan levels of seriousness – and reverence seems due for the landmark.

None of this registered with the makers of “Olympus Has Fallen,” however. Director Antoine Fuqua seeks to inspire anger by focusing on the sight of the edifice under siege, yet the film just feels too cartoonish in its destruction for any real emotions to register. (This is a movie where someone gets killed by trauma to the head inflicted by a bust of Abraham Lincoln, after all.)

Furthermore, the trigger-happy festival of gore devalues innocent lives taken by terrorists – NOT a smart move when trying to invoke the legacy of 9/11. As Gerard Butler’s Mike Banning seeks to rescue the prisoners of the North Korean attackers who take over the White House, the stakes feel rather low. In terms of hostage movies, this feels about on the level of a bank robbery.

“Olympus Has Fallen” will not even leave you chanting “USA! USA!” And, keep in mind, this is a movie that stars Morgan Freeman. What a squandered opportunity. C2stars

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REVIEW: The Crazies

17 08 2010

The Crazies” is a hodgepodge of all our favorite horror premises.  There’s the apocalyptic disease aspect that reminds us of “28 Days Later.”  There’s the last people on earth vibe that emanated from “I Am Legend.”  There’s also the sick zombie action that has led to four “Resident Evil” movies.

You would think that a movie that makes us recall such titles would be worthwhile.  But instead of having something for everyone, there’s is nothing for anyone, granted that they’ve seen any movies in those sub-genres.

Uninspired even by remake standards, “The Crazies” just feels like a waste of time as you watch it.  For an hour and 40 minutes, we trudge through the typical escalation of a viral epidemic that ravages a small town in Iowa.  After 48 hours, the virus turns its victims insane to the point that they would kill friends and family.  The sheriff and his pregnant wife (Timothy Olyphant and Radha Mitchell), among the few uninfected left in the town, have to battle off the zombies to escape to safety.  Not only do they have to fight the crazies, but they are also up against the company that accidentally dispersed the biological weapon, trying to hide their mistake.

Sound familiar?  It’s not just a remake of the 1973 George A. Romero original; it’s a rehash of every horror movie since.  Eventually, enough is enough, and cheap jumps and thrills only spell out boredom.  The movie gets harder and harder to enjoy as it drags on … and on … and on.  We know exactly what’s going to happen just from hearing the premise.  Maybe the perceived lack of originality speaks to how influential the first movie was.  But I missed the memo that the original was some kind of cultural watershed, so I’m just going to interpret this rendition of “The Crazies” as the latest dull entry into the woefully overflowing “been there, done that” category.  C- /