Sad news! Actress Mary Ellen Trainor, possibly known best to horror fans as the mom in The Monster Squad, passed away today. Trainor was a familiar face in a number of 80s classics such as Die Hard, the Lethal Weapon series, Scrooged, The Goonies and Ghostbusters II to name a few.
Olympus is a far fetched but, action packed flick that basically follows the Die Hard formula with a lone hero fighting terrorists in a besieged White House. Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is a former Secret Service agent and friend of President Asher (Aaron Eckhart) who is busted down to a desk job when rescuing the President during a car accident allows the First Lady (Ashley Judd) to be killed. But, old habits ‘Die Hard’ when a well organized and armed North Korean terrorist, Kang (Rick Yune) takes over the While House and with it, the President and his cabinet hostage. Banning gets himself inside and becomes the country’s only hope of rescuing the President and stoping Kang’s plan for nuclear destruction and forcefully uniting the Koreas. As directed by Training Day’s Antoine Fuqua, Olympus moves fast and keeps the action flying along with the bullets and blood providing a solid two hours of sometimes gruesome and brutal entertainment. And this is a good thing as, when all is said and done, the flick is ridiculous and filled with plot holes but, Fuqua keeps us from thinking too much about that with all the carnage that gets hurled our way. The cast are all good with Butler returning to bad ass action star after a string of sub-par romantic comedies. He kicks some major ass and it’s fun to watch him take out the Korean bad guys with brutal efficiency. The rest of the cast are good with Eckhart playing the type of cool President we wish we actually had and Morgan Freeman as The Speaker Of The House, who takes control of the Presidency once Asher and his cabinet become hostages. Rounding out the fine cast is Yune making a sophisticated yet appropriately slimy terrorist, Dylan McDermott as a traitorous ex- agent, Angela Bassett as The Director of the Secret Service and veteran Robert Forester as an army General who doesn’t quite have faith in the one man army already on the inside. Everyone takes their roles seriously and it helps us suspend our disbelief though, I wish Fuqua would have lightened up just a bit and had a little more fun with the outlandish premise. Sometimes Olympus takes itself a little too seriously. The biggest drawback with this flick, however, is that the action is marred by some really sub-par CGI FX with a lot of phony looking CGI blood and bullet hits to go along with the fake looking planes and explosions but, all in all it is an entertaining enough time on the couch and definitely better then the latest Die Hard sequel that was also released earlier this year. Fun as long as you go with it and don’t expect a classic.
A Good Day To Die Hard arrives on blu-ray June 4th so, I thought I’d post my review of the latest adventures of John McClane!
A Good Day To Die Hard has a lot of problems. The story is convoluted, the villains are weak and when the action stops there isn’t enough strong drama to keep us interested but, thankfully, the action rarely stops and it is quite amusingly over the top. This entry has John McClane (Bruce Willis) traveling to Moscow to try to see his estranged son, Jack (Jai Courtney) who has been arrested for murder. But, what McClane doesn’t know is that Jack is a CIA agent and involved in a mission to bust a Russian millionaire (Sebastian Koch), with ties to terrorism, out of jail to get the 411 on his partner… who also has his own plans to bust him out of jail. It’s no secret that McClane gets in the middle of things and once again becomes the fly in the ointment of all this Russian cloak and dagger. The result is the destruction of half of Moscow and what’s left of Chernobyl to boot. The story is as much of a mess as it sounds but, I still had a blast watching the father and son duo wreck the former Soviet Union to stop the bad guys. The action scenes are ridiculously over the top and it’s still fun to watch Willis kick butt, even though his one liners are getting tired and he gives you the impression that so is he of all this nonsense. How many times CAN one man get into so much trouble unintentionally? At least it’s part of James Bond’s job. It’s the stuff between the action that has us looking at our watches as the dialog is weak and I can’t understand how a guy who is such a kick-ass hero can be hated so much by his kids. Shit! If my dad whacked terrorists on a regular basis and constantly blew stuff up, I’d probably think he was pretty cool. The villains never seem threatening enough to make us believe they stand a chance against the McClane family but, I still enjoyed seeing them try and get their asses handed to them by Willis and Courtney, who could have a future as an action star. If there is a Die Hard 6, I hope they give daughter, Lucy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) a catsuit and a gun to join in the fun. Why not? Go in with moderate expectations and turn off the brain and enjoy the fireworks because, that’s basically what this movie has to offer and on that level it can be a fun matinee if you just don’t look for another classic like the original installment.