|Title:||London Has Fallen|
|Runtime:||1 Hour 39 mins|
|Release Date:||US: Mar 04 2016
UK: Mar 03 2016
|See If You Like:||Olympus Has Fallen,
Following on from the surprising success of Olympus Has Fallen, Gerard Butler returns as all-action he-man/Secret Service Agent Mike Banning for London Has Fallen; another action-packed film which, despite having its share of thrills, is instantly forgettable.
Beginning with every western world leader assembling in London for the funeral of the British Prime Minister, things suddenly descend into chaos as half-of London (and pretty much every recognisable landmark from the capital) is blown to bits, and terrorists swarm the city murdering every western head of state they can find. Needless to say, under the protection of the un-killable Mike, US President Benjamin Asher (a returning Aaron Eckhart) escapes the bombs and the first wave of baddies, and the pair then go on the run as Middle Eastern terrorists (who’re not only well armed killers, but also well armed killers who’ve infiltrated the British police and intelligence services at every level, so no boys in blue can be trusted) try to track them down and kidnap the Pres for a planned live execution.
There’s little story, or exposition, as we basically dive right into the action (following a couple of clichéd family and friends scenes before the journey to London) and barely stop for a respite as the Vice President (returning star Morgan Freeman) and some inefficient British Scotland Yarders (headed by Resident Evil‘s Colin Salmon) do background research on the man they know to be behind the attacks. It’s a good thing, because the action is what you really want from a film such as this, but it not only means Mike is basically the only character in the film worth caring about (and Ben, to a certain degree) but that all of the events are basically meaningless as a result.
Sure, we get to see London blown to smithereens, watch a few dignitaries get taken out, and even listen to Mike quipping his way through clip after clip as he puts down countless faceless baddies, but some of the effects are ropey, the dialogue is stupendously wooden, and while you expect a predictable and paper-thin plot with a movie such as this it’s laughably obvious where each little turn will take you.
Yet, despite the unnecessary over-use of the F-word, lack of spectacular set-pieces (all of the action simply merged into one large fight sequence, with few stand-out moments if any), and no element of danger whatsoever (action movies seem to have forgotten, classics like Die Hard worked because McClane winning was never a certainty – he was beaten to hell at the end of that movie – yet Banning’s barely bruised by the end of London), the action is still strong enough, and so capably shot, that it will hold you’re interest throughout.
Butler and Eckhart also make the film, as Gerard fully in his element with run-n-gun movies such as this; he’s a charismatic, fully believable, action star who deserves to have a couple of decent action franchise pictures to his name; and the chemistry between him and Eckhart (a believable on-screen President in his won right) really shines through. You’d swear the two really were lifelong friends, and had been through experiences such as Olympus together; meaning, despite limited character building, the presence of these two actors does help you care for the characters, and want to see them succeed.
In the end however, director Babak Najaf (Easy Money II: Hard to Kill) has simply delivered a run-of-the-mill action flick with little substance. It’s a worthy watch, and a decent continuation to the events of Olympus, but there’s just not enough to make it stand-out from the crowd; no fighter jet at the window, no VX poisoned gas, no-one stitching up their own arm, making fists with their toes, or hanging off the side of a plane; it’s not bad by any means, it’s just forgettable, and sadly has more in common with No Escape than Die Hard.
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