“Fighting Olympus“, written and directed by Julian Hampton, brings the characters from ancient Greek myths into a contemporary setting, delivering an action-themed drama with a fresh and grounded approach.
The film is the second feature-length attempt from Hampton and shows his creative potential as he dares to put a modern spin on characters that are well-known and have been portrayed several times in many unique ways.
What makes Fighting Olympus stand out first of all is this clever attempt at making a classic tale feel fresh and different. But it doesn’t entirely blow you away.
The film’s plot is centred around Biddle (played by Devinar Mathias), a retired SWAT member who embarks on a new path after leaving the force. When an assignment with a determined reporter named Ayasha (played by Anaya T. Kaur) takes an unexpected turn, Biddle‘s brother Rucker (played by Leslie A. Jones), a fellow SWAT veteran, launches an investigation into his brother’s supposed murder. Rucker delves into the treacherous world of underworld gangsters and drug lords, seeking the truth. However, his journey takes an extraordinary turn when jealous Athena (played by Caroline Hallum) assigns him the seemingly impossible task of eliminating the notorious “monster” Medusa (played by Haley Jackson). In a surprising twist, Rucker forms an unlikely alliance with Medusa, and together they navigate a maze of clues and face masked soldiers, all with the ultimate goal of confronting the feared criminal boss, Hades (played by Rich Sands).
You can’t deny that this is a brilliant approach to spinning a well-known tale and giving it a breath of fresh air and some spice. The script of Fighting Olympus weaves a fun and engaging story with well-developed characters. You can tell that the characters in this film are all based on the widely known Greek gods’ mythology but Hampton does great to make them his own by subverting expectations, humanizing them and in the end adding some depth to the narrative.
The film from the get-go is intended to be an action thriller. The screenplay is littered with several intense scenes of hand-to-hand combat, standoffs and gunfights. But these in my opinion are not executed well enough. The buildups and intensity are great but the actual fight scenes are not so impressive I must say. The attempt, nonetheless is commendable. You can see what the production team was aiming for with these elements of gunplay and action sequences but it just didn’t pack that extra puncheon to blow it out of the water.
You can’t ignore the commitment of the cast who deliver commendable performances to sell you this tale. Leslie A. Jones shines as the charismatic and relatable hero, Rucker. Jones effortlessly captures the audience’s attention with a charisma that makes it easy to root for his character. Rich Sands portrays the antagonist, Hades leaving a lasting impression. You just despise him from the get-go and can’t wait to see how he ends. Anaya T. Kaur impresses with her portrayal of the daring reporter Ayasha. However, the real standout in the film is Haley Jackson for her flawless performance as the scorned and revenge-driven Medusa. Jackson‘s portrayal is captivating, showcasing her talent as well as her beauty and potential. This could certainly be the performance that propels her to another height in her career as an actor.
While “Fighting Olympus “exhibits its indie production nature in some action sequences and very obvious look and feel occasionally revealing its budgetary restrictions, the overall experience remains commendable. I would score this 6/10.
Fighting Olympus is an ambitious film that successfully brings ancient Greek mythology into the modern era. Hampton, along with the talented cast and crew, deserves recognition for their accomplishments. Despite its minor flaws, the film’s engaging characters and interesting plot make it a worthwhile watch.
In the end, Fighting Olympus is a testament to the creative potential of indie productions and an exciting step forward for Julian Hampton as a writer-director.