US Release Date: 03-04-2016
Directed by: Babak Najafi
- Gerard Butler, as
- Mike Banning
- Aaron Eckhart, as
- Benjamin Asher
- Morgan Freeman, as
- VP Trumbull
- Angela Bassett, as
- Lynne Jacobs
- Alon Aboutboul, as
- Aamir Barkawi
- Robert Forster, as
- General Edward Clegg
- Waleed Zuaiter, as
- Kamran Barkawi
- Melissa Leo, as
- DS Ruth McMillan
- Radha Mitchell, as
- Leah Banning
- Charlotte Riley, as
- MI6 Jacquelin Marshall
- Jackie Earle Haley, as
- DC Mason
- Colin Salmon, as
- Chief Hazard
- Sean O'Bryan, as
- NSA Ray Monroe
- Patrick Kennedy, as
- MI5 Intel John Lancaster
- Clarkson Guy Williams, as
- PM Leighton
- Bryan Larkin as
- SAS SGT
Aaron Eckhart and Gerard Butler in London has Fallen.
In re-reading my review of Olympus Has Fallen, this film's precursor, I realized that if I updated the location of the action and the nationality of the bad guys, I could simply transpose that review with one for this movie. Like its predecessor, this movie is filled with as many plot holes as it is violent deaths. It's inane, silly, and filled to the rafters with action movie cliches. On a few occasions, those cliches are enough to eke out a few moments of entertainment, but those occasions are very few and hardly seem worth all the effort and money that went into making this mess.
Gerard Butler returns as Mike Banning, a secret service agent assigned to protect the President of the United States, played once again by Aaron Eckhart. When the Prime Minister of England dies suddenly of a heart attack, a state funeral is held that attracts many of the world's leaders. On the day of the funeral, several massive attacks take place at multiple famous London landmarks, killing a few of those leaders. The President of the USA is saved of course because he has
Superman, invulnerable robot, John McCain rip-off, Mike Banning protecting him from harm and the script's silly plot points.
If the script were made of cheese it would definitely be Swiss, because it is filled with holes. On the day of the funeral, for instance, a day everyone is worried about because of all the security involved, several of the world's leaders are allowed to wander freely around several British landmarks all over the city where they are easy targets. Of course, why, when the terrorists seem to have the infinite ability to infiltrate anywhere, they don't just wait until everyone is gathered in St. Paul's and then blow up that one location, is never explained. The terrorists are able to black out all of the power to the entire London metropolitan area with a simple computer hack and it stays off for hours and hours since apparently no one who works for the British Government knows how to work a computer. Where's Q when you need him? Banning gets the idea of taking the President to the US Embassy despite the place being surrounded by terrorists, saying, "We're out of options." because apparently just driving with the President out of the city to absolutely anywhere else where there aren't terrorists, never occurred to him. And the reason the terrorists are able to surround the US Embassy is because the genius Brits (who really come across poorly here) withdraw all of their troops because some of the terrorists are dressed as cops and they say they won't know who shoot, when I would have thought shooting the ones who were shooting at them would have been a pretty good way to go about it.
The President of course is never really in any danger because he has the indestructible Mike Banning to protect him. Banning is able to kill armies of terrorists despite the machines guns, grenades, and every other weapon they possess being thrown at him. They almost always miss while he never does and on the rare occasion they manage to hit him, he doesn't let things like bullet or knive wounds or falls from great heights stop him or even slow him down. This isn't movie action, it's video game action where our hero can absorb countless wounds and then be miraculously healed in time for the next stage.
In the tradition of Sean Connery's James Bond and Bruce Willis's John McCain, Banning occasionally tries throw in a funny quip after a kill or to defuse a tense situation, but these only provoke groans instead of laughs as the dialogue matches the plot in terms of awfulness. If the script were even the tiniest bit smarter they could have acknowledged this and made it a character flaw where Banning wants to be funny, but never is, but instead the other characters seem to react as if he is funny. Of course, if I had just seen someone kill as many terrorists as he does and was still holding his gun in his hand, I'd probably laugh at his jokes too.
For movies like this, sometimes they say to "check your brain at the door", but I say the only way you're going to enjoy this one is if you remove your brain completely, jump up and down on it until it's smooshed into a pulp, and then put it in an airplane traveling to the other side of the world before you sit down to watch.
Angela Bassett in London Has Fallen.
Scott took the words right out of my mouth. For anyone who enjoys video game-level action and ludicrous plot holes peppered with an occasional bad sitcom-level quip, then London Has Fallen is a must see movie. Ever the optimist, I ended my review for Olympus Has Fallen by expressing hope for the sequel. Boy was I naive. If anything this one is bigger, louder and far, far dumber than the original. And that takes some doing.
Gerard Butler has seen better days. Mike Banning is supposed to look burnt out and ready to retire, and he does. It's the most realistic aspect of the movie. Then he starts dodging bullets and beating up bad guys by the handful and all semblance of realism goes straight out the window. Liam Neeson looks more believable beating up bad guys and he's got at least fifteen years on Butler.
Director Antoine Fuqua, who directed Olympus Has Fallen, is sorely missed. Although he's most famous for directing Denzel Washington in his Oscar winning role in Training Day, Fuqua has proven himself as a director that knows how to stage and shoot action sequences. He provided that first movie with whatever entertainment value it had (he's currently directing a remake of The Magnificent Seven). The same cannot be said for Babak Najafi, who fails to distinguish himself in any noticeable way.
This better be the last time I ever have to watch Gerard Butler save the POTUS while some world capitol gets decimated around them. Poor Angela Bassett. Her once promising career has been reduced to a thankless supporting role in a couple of Gerard Butler action flicks. Can't someone in Hollywood find a leading role -on the big screen- for this talented and charismatic actress?
Gerard Butler in London Has Fallen
London Has Fallen is an unrealistic action film but it is hardly the atrocity Scott and Patrick depicted in their reviews. Scott complained that Banning occasionally tries to make a funny quip to defuse a tense situation. They caused Scott to groan but I liked some of them. My favorite being when Mike tells the President to stay in a room and wait for him to come back. The President asks, "What if you don't come back." to which Mike gives him the sugar free answer, "Then you're fucked."
Scott described this as video game action and Patrick wrote that it was for anyone who enjoys video game-level action. Not only do I agree but my 20 year old son noted, as we left the theater, that the scenes of Mike shooting countless terrorists in the dark hallways resembled video game play, and he meant that as a sincere compliment. Even though I have very little video game playing experience, I know enough to know that video games are more and more resembling action movies only with the viewer/player having some say in the plot.
I too think highly of Antoine Fuqua but I am not about to write that Olympus Has Fallen is any better of a movie. It was riddled with plot holes and exaggerated action scenes, just as this one is. No, the problem with these movies are not the direction but the scripts. Here we have Mike Banning, the toughest secret service agent around. Scott described how impervious he is. Mike is, however, not the brightest agent who ever protected the President. Yeah, he could have kept him safe by either driving him out of the city or just stayed hidden somewhere. There were plenty of options better than driving to the one place they knew terrorists would be. Another dumb moments comes when Mike kills some terrorists in the tube and Mike uses one of the terrorists handheld to talk to the other bad guys. By doing so, he let them know their location and that he and the President were still alive. Then this dumb ass never even thinks to collect any of their weapons for future use or even to give one to the unarmed President.
Yeah, this movie is far from perfect but I got a bit of an adrenaline rush watching it. London Has Fallen is unabashedly pro military and very right thinking in its approach to dealing with terrorists. Sure, this movie does not require thinking and it helps to have a strong patriotic mindset. I know I get a thrill watching Middle Eastern terrorists get what they have coming, no matter how unrealistically it all plays out..
Photos © Copyright Gramercy Pictures (2016)