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Film: Olympus Has Fallen

Because Kratos just wrecked the entirety of-- wait, wrong media.

Olympus Has Fallen is a 2013 action thriller directed by Antoine Fuqua, and starring Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, and Morgan Freeman.

Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Butler) is distressed when he fails to rescue the first lady during a snow storm. More than a year later, he takes it upon himself to rescue the President of the United States (Eckhart) and the country after the White House is taken over by Korean terrorists bent on revenge.

The direct competitor to White House Down. Compare and contrast it.

This film provides examples of:

  • Action Bomb: The tour bus and the suicide-vest terrorists.
  • Action Survivor: Connor Asher, Defense Secretary Ruth McMillan, and President Ben Asher, who still need Banning to save them but contribute by mostly behaving sensibly and not making things too easy for the villains.
  • Airvent Passageway: Rare Justified example: The person going through said passageway is a child small enough to fit in it, and the passage is made of stone, avoiding the problematic "Why, Thor the god of thunder is trying to enter my building!" scenario.
    • Lampshaded in-universe by the kid asking Banning how he was gonna fit in the passageway.
  • All Asians Know Martial Arts: Kang's henchmen use flashy martial arts during the White House attack.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The entire premise of the movie.
  • A Nuclear Error: Missiles being destroyed inside their silos would not actually trigger the warheads in real life, but it would probably spread radioactive fallout all over the country, which, if one takes into consideration the rad counter next to the projected casualties on the Pentagon screen, is probably what the Bad Guys wanted. Short of reprogramming the ICBMs to hit US targets this would be the most destructive way of employing the ICBMs against the US, as nuclear explosions inside the silos would not do much damage as the silos are far from population or strategic centers and the fallout from the explosion of a modern thermonuclear bomb is much smaller then the one resulted from using its fissile material as a dirty bomb, which is what the bad guy is trying.
    • Made worse by the thing destroying the missiles, Cerberus, being explicitly a failsafe designed to stop nukes from going off.
    • Also worth noting that time from launch to detonation of a nuke is 30 minutes or less so having a 5 minute countdown on Cerberus isn't the most logical plan.
  • Apocalypse How: Kang's plan is to cause all of America's nukes to self-destruct at once, blanketing the country in nuclear debris.
  • Artistic License: The entire Cerberus code plot. They state the Cerberus computer is isolated in the White House, so they can't change the codes... but if it's isolated, how does it tell the ICBMs to self-destruct? Furthermore, even if it does have some way to transmit, but they can't change the codes for some other reason, what's to stop them from cutting the line? The only way this becomes even remotely plausible is if the White House has a transmitter powerful enough to transmit wireless to any part of the planet hidden... somewhere.
  • Artistic License - Military:
    • The two F-22s that try to intercept the AC-130 move close enough to the plane to be shot down by the 20mm cannons. In reality, they would be far outside the AC-130's effective range with those guns, and likely approaching from above instead of beside it, at an angle the guns couldn't reach.
      • On the other hand, the guns were camouflaged and the the aircraft didn't look anything like an AC-130. It wasn't even armed like an AC 130 which has an 105mm howitzer a 40mm cannon and a 25 mm cannon all on the port side, the C-130 in the movie had two Vulcan cannons on the port side and two Vulcan cannons on the starboard side. It was most likely a custom job indistinguishable from a cargo C-130 in which case the F-22 would probably have approached in the same way as they did in the movie.
    • After the first two F-22s were shot down, a third takes off and shoots down the C-130 with an AIM-120 AMRAAM. In the movie, the pilot closed to within visual range before firing his missile. In reality, however, the AIM-120 has a range of 30 to 100 nautical miles depending on the model. The pilot would've most likely been able to fire on the C-130 the moment he got in the air and had radar lock, rather than closing to visual range.
    • The idea that South Korea would be lost without United States support is ludicrous. The only advantage the North Koreans possess is numbers, while South Korea possesses a greater technological advantage as well as an army that is well-fed and equipped with modern weapons. Even if one were to charitably assume the North Koreans could overrun them by sheer numbers, they'd bleed themselves dry doing it.
    • ICBMs are only one of the three main delivery mechanisms for nuclear weapons. It's almost a certainty that the United States would have nuclear armed subs close enough to strike North Korea. In fact, they'd probably be preferable to launch an attack from, as the missiles wouldn't have to travel nearly as far.
  • Badass: Mike.
  • Badass Baritone: Kang.
  • Batman Gambit: Banning's provocation of Kang was likely an attempt to get him to leave the bunker, and he seems to have anticipated they would bring a hostage out to execute.
  • Big Bad: Kang
  • Bittersweet Ending: Mike successfully rescues President Asher, prevents The Korean War from restarting, kills a serious international terrorist menace and saves the country from being obliterated, but hundreds of lives, including many civilians, were lost.
  • Boring Yet Practical: As soon as he can, Banning deletes any sensitive info he can find to prevent the terrorists getting it. Unfortunately, that stuff is not what they want.
  • Call Back: In one of their voice confrontations, Mike threatens that he's gonna stab Kang in the head. In their final battle, Mike does just that.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Subverted with the President's boxing skills, which he displays in a friendly spar with Mike at the beginning but never gets a chance to actually use because his captors bind his hands.
  • Chinese with Chopper Support: No, no they're not the villains in the film. Briefly mentioned in a news report that China, along with Russia and India, have placed their soldiers in high alert and are mobilizing them, probably just incase of a spillover of the possible Korean conflict.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Oodles, but Kang torturing the Secretary of Defense stands out. Also, Mike torturing some of Kang's mooks for information.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Kang. Also his Mooks, who headshot every downed Secret Service agent just to make sure they're dead. Kang has also extensively studied the history of the White House and knows pretty much all of its publicly available secrets, such as the secret tunnels created when the White House was rebuilt during Truman's administration.
  • Dark Action Girl: Kang has several among his army of North Korean operatives.
  • Dead Star Walking: Ashley Judd
  • Death Equals Redemption: Forbes takes his last chance to help fix things after being mortally wounded, calling Kang and claiming to have killed Banning, so they won't know he's still coming.
  • Defcon Five: The White House has been taken over, the President of the United States taken hostage, and Army Chief of Staff General Clegg declares they are at Defcon Four. Either this is this trope or a severe underreaction to the situation. For those who don't know, Defcon 4 is "Elevated Readiness". A situation such as the one depicted in the film would easily elevate the United State's Defcon level to either Defcon 2 or 3.
  • Defector from Decadence: Rare villainous example in David Forbes, formerly a member of the President's security detail.
  • Defiant to the End: The Secretary of Defense:
    "We may die here, but no way will I let my tombstone say 'she went down without a fight.'"
    • Ironically, she's the only one other than Banning and the President to survive.
    • Also the last Secret Service agent standing (other than Banning) — his last act, before being shot dead, is to tell the terrorist standing over him "Fuck you!" and shoot him.
  • Die Hard in the White House: The plot variation here is that Banning is soon able to establish regular contact with the Acting President and his senior security staff on a secure line. Once they establish that he's the only agent available, they help him as much as they can both directly and through the soldiers stationed around the White House. But the rest is pretty much like Die Hard including the failed helicopter insertion on the roof, the main character trying to stop and then save the helicopters and falling from the roof, and getting injured in the process, one of the bad guys pretending to be an escaped hostage and the main character catching on very fast, etc
  • Disposable Woman: Ashley Judd's character is pretty much only in the movie to get killed and give Banning motivation to become a brooding Bad Ass. Also the poor unnamed intern who was shot as an example in front of the hostages to ensure their cooperation.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Kang's mom died from stepping on an American landmine, so he plans on destroying the United States and re-igniting the Korean War. This despite the fact that his own father was executed by the North Korean government for crimes against the People's Republic.
    • Forbes follows the aforementioned plan because his son was killed.
  • The Dreaded: Kang.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Kang.
  • Evil Plan: Kang's is to remove US military presence from the DMZ to enable a North Korean invasion of South Korea, as well as hijacking a nuclear self-destruct protocol to detonate warheads inside their silos and cause a nuclear holocaust in the US.
  • Face-Heel Turn: Forbes.
  • Fail Safe Failure: A sensible recall system for nuclear warheads would not be able to detonate them in their silos, much less do so in such a way that they would produce fallout.
  • Faking the Dead: Kang has several of his Mooks and all the hostages except the President dressed up identically before boarding a helicopter, which is then destroyed by a suicide bomber, tricking everyone (except Banning) into thinking he and the President are dead, so they can sneak away.
  • General Failure: General Edward Clegg refuses to listen to Banning's warning to abort a SEAL raid because of an advanced anti-aircraft gun being deployed and most of the SEALS are killed. Afterward, the House Speaker tells him that the present emergency was the only thing keeping him from relieving the idiot officer of duty.
  • Genre Savvy: Banning is consistently able to predict when Kang is trying to mislead the military.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Banning, and how!
  • Happily Married: The President and his wife in the beginning. Also, Mike and his wife.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: Kang runs his extremist paramilitary outfit whilst being the South Korean prime minister's head of security. It helps that prior to the events of the film, he'd never been photographed.
    • Also, the terrorists disguised as tourists, the tour bus that blows up, and the garbage trucks carrying machine guns.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Offender. Thrice.
  • Hollywood Tactics: The Secret Service agents seriously does not have any idea of what cover is. They just stand there in the middle of the lawn, standing upright while trying to shoot the enemy that is rushing them. the last of them only take cover because Banning told them to take cover.
  • I Never Told You His Name: Forbes accidentally clues in Banning that he's working for the terrorists by dropping Kang's name, which only Banning, the terrorists, and the people they've told would know. And Banning knows he didn't tell him.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Banning gets a pretty high head count with just a pistol.
    • The pilots of the AC-130 are ridiculously accurate with the gatling guns, even though said guns are on the side of the plane, and they are flying and shooting at the same time (in real life the guns have to be operated by gunners). To wit: they completely wipe out all snipers on top of the White House before getting shot down so the ground troops can successfully breach the perimeter.
    • During the Hydra sequence, Banning gets the jump on four mooks, and in the following shootout sequence, he manages to shoot all four in the head. Notably, the last guy hiding behind cover had his foot out in the open, so Banning aimed for that, then shot the mook's head as he was falling over.
  • Indians with Iglas: A news report states that India has mobilized their army as a conflict between North and South Korea is imminent.
  • Insecurity Camera: The first thing Banning does in the White House is disable the security cameras with his access code to prevent the terrorists from tracking him.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Taken Up to Eleven by Banning. He kills one prisoner to get the other to loosen up.
  • Kick the Dog: Though it does serve something of a practical purpose (namely sowing chaos so his men can get close), part of the opening attack involves the AC-130 spraying the streets around the White House with bullets, killing a lot of innocent civilians. Kang also releases the Secretary of Defense solely so he can put a bullet through her on live television (Banning having cut his line to the Pentagon), but Banning intervened.
  • Knife Nut: Practically everyone. There are a lot of knife fights in this movie.
  • Large Ham: The Secretary of Defense during the entire movie. Most evident in her reciting the Pledge of Allegiance as the mooks drag her around to make their escape.
  • Make Sure He's Dead: The terrorists do this to the fallen Secret Service agents.
  • Misplaced-Names Poster: Aaron Eckhart is Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman is Aaron Eckhart, and Gerard Butler is Morgan Freeman.
  • Mission Control: Banning is able to access the White House's internal security control room to deactivate the security cameras so he can sneak around and later cut off Kang's communication from the bunker.
  • The Mole: Forbes. Additionally, Kang is one within the South Korean government.
  • Monumental Damage: In addition to the damage to the White House itself, the terrorists' AC-130 at the beginning of the movie ends up crashing into the Washington Monument, causing the top portion to fall off.
  • More Dakka: Multiple examples. The AC-130 has four gatling guns, two on each side; the two garbage trucks that become heavy machine gun nests and the Hydra anti-aircraft gun system that can even shoot off missiles in mid air.
  • My Greatest Failure: Banning's failure to save the first lady. However, most of his colleagues and even the President's son clearly don't blame him for it, although the President had him taken off because his presence was a reminder of his wife's death.
  • Never Bring a Knife to a Fist Fight: Twice
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The President orders his other two advisers to give up their access codes, certain that he can resist any forthcoming torture and withhold the third. Kang just brute-forces the President's code instead.
  • North Koreans with Nodongs: Well, duh! Except these aren't the Korean People's Army. The terrorists in the film are rouge faction of North Koreans, with martial arts training and high-tech weaponry. Even the DPRK government denies allegations of involvement of the terrorist attack on the White House.
  • Not Listening to Me, Are You?: The president at first doesn't seem to hear his wife suggesting she shave her head, but it's subverted when he later makes a joke about it.
  • Not Quite The Right Thing: The President has the South Korean diplomats brought with them to the bunker against protocol, to protect them from the terrorist attack. Most of them are in on it, and they quickly take over the bunker.
  • Oh, Crap: The reaction one of the mooks gets when Mike stabs his partner in the throat.
  • One-Man Army: Banning. During the initial attack on the White House, he manages to take down at least a dozen of the enemy, armed with only a pistol. Almost all of the terrorists who survive the initial assault (about thirty) are taken down by Banning over the rest of the movie.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Gerard Butler's Fake American is pretty solid, but not always.
  • Plot Armor: During the initial White House attack, Banning is frequently right next to people and sets that are getting shot to bits. He's a good agent, but his ability to avoid all injury (in that sequence) seems to be due to luck.
  • Post-9/11 Terrorism Movie: The collapse of the Washington Monument very deliberately looks exactly like the collapse of WTC 1, with the top third or so of the building falling downwards at an angle after an aircraft flew into it.
  • Precision F-Strike: Many times.
    (after being asked by Kang to give Cerberus codes) Fuck you. (Gut Punch!)
  • Redshirt Army: The Secret Service gets overwhelmed by enemies armed with an AC-130, vehicle-mounted machineguns, rocket-propelled grenades, and suicidal dedication to their cause.
  • Russians with Rusting Rockets: Once again, not the villains of the film. Briefly mentioned in a news report that Russian soldiers have been mobilized as U.S. Forces in South Korea pull out and conflict between the two Koreas seem imminent.
  • Shell-Shock Silence
  • Shown Their Work: The producers got several things right about Kang's intentions, as stated to the President. He refers to the Korean War as a civil war that the US interrupted, which is how the North really does see the US intervention. He also blames the US for the fact that his people are living on substance, which is again, a real North Korean claim. Obviously the reality is that the North started the Korean War, and that the people are starving because the government keeps all the food for itself and the military, in addition to general mismanagement and overdependence on foreign aid.
    • The C-130 is obviously a fake AC-130 built by the terrorists. The real AC-130 has guns only on one side (the left side), and they are always out. The reason for hiding the guns the way they did is that they knew the aircraft would be intercepted by US Fighters, and if it showed weapons it would be shot down immediately and their plan would be foiled.
    • Banning is working at the treasury building, but still in the Secret Service. Historically, the Secret Service was originally created to catch counterfeiters. However, it has protected the POTUS since 1902.
  • South Koreans with Marines: A news report mentions that the Republic of Korea Army has been pulling out reserves and massed troop concentrations on the DMZ after U.S. Forces Korea pulls out, in anticipation for the possible North Korean invasion.
  • Spotting the Thread: Forbes blows his cover with Banning when he mentions Kang by name; Kang never revealed this fact publicly, nor did anyone else.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: Everyone on the helicopter Kang blows up to fake his and the President's death.
  • Technology Marches On: In-universe, someone refers to the pound sign as "hashtag", causing confusion to the non-Twitter user at the keyboard. ("It's Shift-3!")
  • Third Act Stupidity: At the climax of the movie, all the villain has to do to achieve total victory is... nothing. If he twiddles his thumbs for five minutes, there's no possible way for Mike to foil him. But that'd be boring. He's sealed in an impenetrable bunker along with the only computer that can be used to stop the countdown to annihilation. Rather than wait a few minutes until the U.S. is devastated and then sneaking out, he decides to immediately blow a hole in the wall of the bunker, allowing Mike to get in.
  • Title Drop: It's the code Secret Service gives when they are unable to hold the White House.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The two mooks that Mike interrogates who laugh in his face, considering he has a knife and many of his colleagues were killed by the enemy force the prisoners are a part of and are threatening the USA. Mike's response? He stabs one in the throat.
  • Torture Always Works: Used reliably by both Banning on captured North Korean terrorists and by Kang on the President's cabinet.
    • Though in Kang's case it only works because the President can't take seeing his people get tortured and orders them to give up the codes, being confident that he could personally resist any torture once they got to him. In the case of Banning, his killing of the first terrorist shows the second that he's not playing around, as they seem to assume, at first, that he's going to give them the Army Field Manual (aka Kid Gloves) treatment.
  • Twenty Minutes into the Future: In the lobby of the US Treasury building, Barack Obama's photo is on display apparently with other former Presidents, thus establishing the President in the story took office after him. Reelection is also mentioned, implying the film (assuming Obama finished his second) takes place in Christmas 2018 or 2019 and then skips ahead 18 months to either July 2020 or 2021.
  • Villain's Dying Grace: Forbes, defeated, lies about having killed Mike, giving him a bit more breathing room.
  • Waistcoat of Style: Kang wears one.
  • World of Snark
    Banning: (to Kang) "How about we play a game of Fuck Off? You go first." *hangs up*
  • Would Hit a Girl: The villains shoot a woman because she can't stop screaming, and Kang personally beats the female Secretary of Defense half to death to get her security code.
    • Also, a female terrorist uses a sniper rifle during the initial assault on the White House and, rather than being the token female villain as would normally be suggested by this, Banning promptly shoots her in the head.
  • Yanks with Tanks: The U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, and the Navy SEALS are featured. Unfortunately, none of them engages the terrorists on screen, except the Air Force, which shoots down the fake AC-130.
    • Peace Through Superior Firepower: Horribly inverted: Kang sets America's nukes to detonate in their silos to blanket the country in nuclear fullout. He almost succeeds but thanks to Banning, his plan is foiled and he saves the day and the country.
  • Yellow Peril: In a film of heroic Americans from multiple races and ethnicities, the only onscreen Asian who isn't a cackling, flag-burning, freedom-hating villain is South Korean Prime Minister Lee, who unwittingly brought them to the White House as his diplomatic staff.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: The villains were looking for the President's son so they can threaten him to force the President to give up his Cerberus code, but Banning successfully gets the boy out of the White House and to safety before attending to other matters. Played straight when they break the code anyway, since they have two out of three and can brute-force the third.
  • Zerg Rush: How the terrorist force manages to take the White House: after blowing a hole in the fence with suicide bombers, they rush across the lawn with large numbers of troops. About half of the terrorists are killed by the Secret Service and DC police, even with the support of their machine-gun trucks and the strafing run by the AC-130.

Film: Oldboy (2013)Films of the 2010sOn The Job

alternative title(s): Olympus Has Fallen
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