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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Olympus Has Fallen (2013)

Olympus Has Fallen (2013)

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Released 21-Aug-2013

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Trailer-Start-up Trailers
Featurette-Making Of-Under Surveillance: The Making of Olympus Has Fallen (11:08)
Outtakes-Bloopers (2:21)
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2013
Running Time 114:24
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (76:37) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Antoine Fuqua

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Gerard Butler
Aaron Eckhart
Morgan Freeman
Angela Bassett
Robert Forster
Cole Hauser
Finley Jacobsen
Ashley Judd
Melissa Leo
Dylan McDermott
Radha Mitchell
Rick Yune
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $32.95 Music Trevor Morris

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Whatever you may think of Die Hard (1988), the fact is the film re-invented the action thriller genre. The story of an unlikely solitary hero (or even anti-hero) taking on a group of villains/terrorists holding people hostage has been copied time and again ever since. The only thing that changes is the setting. In the original Die Hard the terrorists hold up the Nakatomi Plaza Office building in Los Angeles (in reality, the Fox Plaza offices), in Speed (1994) the setting is the infamous bus, in Speed 2 (1997) it's a cruise boat. Heck, even in the video game Far Cry (2004) we have a hero taking on the baddies on a deserted Pacific Ocean island. Yet, with all of these copy-cat films, no one had come up with Die Hard in the White House...until now. Finally, after 25 years we have Olympus Has Fallen.

     Olympus Has Fallen begins at the Presidential retreat, Camp David at Christmas time. President Ben Asher (Aaron Eckhart) and his wife, Margaret (Ashley Judd), are getting ready for a black-tie fundraising dinner, along with their young son, Connor (Finley Jacobsen). Secret Service Agents, in a convoy of four SUV's follow the presidential vehicle on either side. The convoy is led by Former U.S. Army Ranger Mike Banning (Gerard Butler). However, tragedy strikes on the icy road as a tree falls and forces the presidential car onto a bridge, where the first lady is trapped. The agents are unable to free her prior to the car falling from the bridge. Fast forward eighteen months and Mike has moved on from Secret Service work, working for the Treasury Department. He longingly desires to return to the Secret Service and redeem himself for what happened (yes, a common theme in these type of films, I know!). As the South Korean President visits Washington D.C., a rogue element of Korean guerrilla forces attack civilians, Washington monuments and take over the White House. President Asher is taken to the underground bunker in the White House. Banning surreptitiously enters the White House to save the president, and so the action and the fun begins!

     Screenwriters Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt have followed the script of Die Hard, almost to a tee. There are similar elements such as authorities on the outside not trusting Banning, a helicopter incident, meeting an unknown enemy, and, of course, talking trash to the terrorists. You have to wonder if you are watching a sequel of Die Hard here. Olympus Has Fallen doesn't compare to the original Die Hard of course, but it's still an entertaining thriller. In my opinion, the main difference is that in Die Hard, Bruce Willis' character John McClane has attitude for personal reasons to do with his ex-wife and family, you don't get that here with Gerard Butler's Banning. For this reason Banning's threats to the Korean terrorists seem inane in comparison to McClane's actions against the Germans in Die Hard.

     The film is deserving of it MA15+ rating. From the time we see innocent civilians hunted down in Washington D.C., to the shooting of public servants in the White House itself, the action never lets up. Banning mixes gunfire with hand-to-hand combat, and luckily for the audience Banning is armed to the hilt! The predictable plot is interspersed with, at times, frantic communication from President Asher's satellite phone between Banning and the Speaker of the House, Allan Trumbell (played by Morgan Freeman), the Director of the Secret Service, Lynne Jacobs (Angela Bassett) and the Army Chief of Staff, General Edward Clegg (Robert Forster).

     The re-teaming of stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis in The Expendables series films has been seen as a move by modern film studios to return to the glory days of the 1980s action thrillers. Olympus Has Fallen makes every attempt to do likewise. The only difference is that Gerard Butler is the only guy doing the action scenes here, unlike the ensemble action stars who share the glory in The Expendables. It might not re-invent the genre, but Olympus Has Fallen is decent Saturday night movie entertainment, however it's not a classic like Die Hard!

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Transfer Quality


     Olympus Has Fallen was shot on Arricam Cameras with Zeiss Master Prime and Angenieux Optimo Lenses and developed on 35mm film. Most films like this one are shot digitally nowadays.

     The aspect ratio of Olympus Has Fallen is 2:40:1. The image transfer is 16x9 enhanced for widescreen televisions. The original theatrical aspect ratio is 2:35:1.

     A very light grain is consistent in the film due to been shot on analog film. Overall, it looks sufficiently sharp and focussed for a DVD transfer. The average bitrate is 7.12 m/b per sec, which is quite good.

     Colour and contrast is as expected for an action film. There is an emphasis on darker colours, especially within the White House counter-balanced by strong contrast on the skin-tones of characters.

     The only video artefact is some low-level noise in the darker scenes, which can look a little murky at times.

     Subtitles are provided in English for the Hard of Hearing.

     The RSDL change occurs at 76:37 during a scene change, so it's not noticeable.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     Trevor Morris' score is lively, consistent and encompasses all the channels. In short, this is a fantastic soundtrack.

     The main audio track is a Dolby Digital English 5.1 track encoded at 448 kbps, with a secondary track in Dolby Digital 2.0 English stereo, encoded at 192 kbps. A descriptive audio track is also available in English for the hard of hearing in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo, also encoded at 192 kbps.

     Dialogue and audio is synchronised, however the dialogue is sometimes muffled slightly from the action soundtrack and the consistent use of the subwoofer in the soundtrack.

     The score balances quiet tension with loud action perfectly.

     The surround mix creates a believable background atmosphere whereby helicopters and gunfire, for example, move quickly between and across the front and back channels.

     The subwoofer is used generously with low-end bass effects to support the many action scenes.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Start-up Trailers

     Start-up trailers for The Place Beyond the Pines (2:23), Mud (2:19) and The Call (2:19) play sequentially before the opening menu.

Under Surveillance: The Making of Olympus Has Fallen (11:08)

     The cast and crew discuss the story, the likelihood of the events actually occurring in real life and Antoine Fuqua's vision for the film. The technical aspects of the production are also discussed, as we look at digital effects and construction of sets in Louisiana to stand-in for the setting of the film in Washington D.C.

Bloopers (2:21)

     This is a very short gag reel, but it's not overly funny because the outtakes are very short.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 DVD contains no extras, so the Region 4 DVD release is the best version available at the time of writing this review.


     Olympus Has Fallen cannot claim to re-invent the genre of film begun with the classic, Die Hard, but at least it can claim that it got in first in comparison to Roland Emmerich's similarly-themed White House Down, released in mid-2013 (which did not take as much at the box-office).

     This film is a surprising, middle-of-the-road entertaining thriller. Sure the dialogue is cheesy at times but, realistically-speaking, what more should you expect? Take it for what it is, Olympus Has Fallen is not bad entertainment for a Saturday night movie experience.

Ratings (out of 5)


© John Stivaktas (I like my bio)
Saturday, August 17, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S550 (Firmware updated Version 020), using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung LA46A650 46 Inch LCD TV Series 6 FullHD 1080P 100Hz. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony STR-K1000P. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationSony HTDDW1000
SpeakersSony 6.2 Surround (Left, Front, Right, Surround Left, Surround Back, Surround Right, 2 subwoofers)

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