London Has Fallen is one of those rare finds – a sequel that is better than the original. That said, this wasn’t too hard a challenge, being that Olympus Has Fallen was dreadful.
Once again President Asher( Aaron Eckhart) gets caught up in a terrorist plot to make the west look weak, luckily he has Gerard Butler at his side as invincible secret servicemen Mike Banning, ready to shoot and stab every foreigner who looks remotely menacing. While the first film revolved around an attack on the White House, here it’s London that takes the hit. The Prime Minister has died and the world’s leaders have gathered to pay their respects. This is when the number 6 on America’s Most Wanted does his best to work his way up that particular list by blowing up as many presidents and prime ministers as he can (no matter what famous London landmark they happen to be standing on).
Why is he doing this? Well, unlike so many films in this vein, he actually has a pretty good excuse. The film begins with America “bravely” drone-striking his daughter’s wedding, killing everyone except for the intended target. In London Has Fallen the good guys doing despicable things is a recurring trend, with Gerard Butler breaking human rights laws constantly in his mission to keep his boss safe. The movie glorifies his gory actions and even seems pro drone strikes; indeed, if I was told Donald Trump was this film’s ghost screenwriter, I wouldn’t be surprised.
Despite its revolting politics there is some fun to be had in the violent action scenes. The film is brutal and over the top – and at times genuinely enjoyable, however much you wish it wasn’t. Towards the end there is even a long one shot set piece which is particularly well handled.
There’s not too much fun to had from the cast though. In every scene Aaron Eckhart looks bewildered and furious, Gerard Butler looks smug and furious, and Morgan Freeman as the Vice President looks… well, like he’s picking up an easy pay check. It’s not that these are bad actors, it’s just that they clearly just don’t care for the project. Assuming they saw Olympus Has Fallen, there can’t have been much excitement to return to this grim and second rate franchise.
London Has Fallen is not a good film but if you can look past its nauseating politics there are a few action scenes that will delight.
Action, Thriller | USA, 2016 | Lionsgate Film | 15 | 3rd March 2016 (UK) | Dir. Babak Najafi | Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Radha Mitchell, Waleed Zuaiter