London Has Fallen: Film Review
Cast: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Angela Bassett, Morgan Freeman
Director: Babak Najafi
Olympus Has Fallen was stodgy action at best.
The 2013 action flick was, in fairness, a film about a one man secret service against the masses on a quest to ensure his homo-erotic bromance with the Prez was safe from terrorist threats.
So it is with London Has Fallen, an action film brushed with such mind-numbing formulaic touches and flat action sequences that it somehow manages to make its 95 minute run time feel like something of an endurance.
This time around, Mike Banning (Gerard Butler in straight up form) is contemplating quitting POTUS' detail because of impending fatherhood. However, just before he hits send on the email, he's called in to mind Aaron Eckhart's President Benjamin Asher, who's about to be called away to London to attend the state funeral of the UK Prime Minister, who's died without warning.
In among the gathering of all the western heads of the state, Banning isn't happy; with just days to prep a full security detail, it's clear there's danger on every corner.
And it turns out, Banning is right as a major terrorist strike takes out several of the western leaders, leaving Banning and the President on the run....
The thing is with London Has Fallen, there's a kernel of some good ideas trying to raise their head to the cinematic light and trying to poke their way through.
Social commentary on drone strikes and those who perpetrate them from their high and mighty pedestals, terrorist executions on the internet and how budget cuts are forcing security services to compromise ultimately endangering us all are just two of them jostling for creative air to breathe.
Unfortunately, they're lambasted into obscurity and battered into submission by seriously sub-par FX (which would easily be bettered on any of the next gen consoles) and by a script that pushes racism and below par comments from Banning as he dispatches the bad guys amid a hail of bullets and never once copping any single flak a la The A Team.
The worst of these offending dispatches comes with Banning telling one that he needs to "go back to F**kheadistan" without any sense of irony and with every sense of lunk-headed racism. It's essentially, Team America: World Police but without any of the subtlety. (An oxymoron I am very aware of).
Half the problem is London Has Fallen takes itself so seriously that it has to be measured by the same standards, and finds itself wanting on so many levels.
Lacking any sense of fun or even any feel of urgency, London Has Fallen may pile in the rote action sequences but not one of them stands out from the crowd, feeling like it's been designed by committee and executed by no-one with any particular flair. Explosions taking out London landmarks have no emotional weight and don't carry any of the vicarious thrill or weight that seeing the likes of the White House vaporised by an alien spacecraft can muster.
By utilising a sprawling city, London has effectively traded some of the claustrophobia from the White House that was so well used and exploited in Olympus Has Fallen.
Equally, the final sections suddenly remember there are a few extraneous plot threads which need erroneously tying up with sudden urgency. (Don't even get me started on how this world is not one for women, the majority of whom are confined to either death, being sidelined with pregnancy and looking worried or forgotten about despite initially being part of the script).\
Depressingly, it'll no doubt do gang-busters as the box office, precipitating yet another sequel, with no doubt Butler reprising his woeful John McClane impression.
While it does require some commendation for mocking worldwide perceptions and stereotypes of the western leaders (the French premier decides to be 10 minutes late to the funeral, the Italian prime minister is lustily showing a 30 year around on a private tour), there's nothing clever about the rest of the execution of London Has Fallen, an un-PC, tedious and desperately below-par action film.