- Directed by Babak Najafi
- March 1, 2016 (Hollywood) / March 4, 2016 (United States)
The death of the British Prime Minister turns out to be an intricate trap to kill multiple heads of state and now the President of the United States and his top Secret Service agent are fighting to escape the terrorists.
I unapologetically love this movie. It feels like a nice throwback to the over-the-top action films of old with updates for the modern era. Gerard Butler is great as kick ass Secret Service agent Mike Banning. In the mold of an 80s action hero, Banning is almost superhuman in his ability to fight the terrorists after he and the president. When you think back to the 80s all those action heroes could take out dozens of soldiers without breaking a sweat and having a clip to spare.
Banning is a no nonsense, take no shit from the bad guys type of hero. What I especially love about the character is that Banning has no doubt that he will be able to defeat the bad guys. This action hero character is not concerned about the outcome. He just does not know how long it will take. That assuredness is lacking in our heroes today. He is also willing to play tough right from the start with these terrorists. There are no kid gloves. He can be as tough or brutal or more so than those coming at him.
Aamir Barkawi (Alon Moni Aboutboul) is the sinister terrorist mastermind behind the attack. He is a Pakistani international arms trafficker and who is No. 6 on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list. This whole attack is in response to an airstrike two years earlier that killed his family and at the time it appeared him as will. And that is about the depth of character development he gets. The interest in the character comes from how ballsy his plot is.
London Has Fallen works because it is a wish fulfillment action film. By that I mean should something like this ever happen the viewer hopes the good guys would have a response similar to that of Mike Banning. We hope that there would be a can of whoop ass opened and the bad guys taken out while saving the president or any in danger. Deep down we want our heroes, both real and imagined, to be truer than true and more capable than imaginable. We want our heroes to be confident in their success and decimate evil.
The action scenes are great and crazy and chaotic. It all begins when multiple heads of state arrive to attend the British Prime Minister’s funeral. From that opening salvo to the end there are exciting gun fights and twists and turns. Obviously there is a mole because that is how these movies work and the only real clue to who helped the terrorists is something said in passing once the President arrives in London. Having seen this movie more than once I caught it the second time around but it is nothing that gives itself away immediately.
Mike Banning’s wife Leah (Radha Mitchell) is expecting a baby. It has him thinking about leaving the Secret Service but as we all know that will not happen. If you see movies like this with a plot point like that then you know by the end of the film the hero realizes that their place is wherever they start the film at because events of the film show them that is where they belonged to begin with.
Aaron Eckhart returns as President Benjamin Asher with Morgan Freeman returning as Vice President Allan Trumbull. Angela Bassett shows up once again as Banning’s boss Secret Service Director Lynne Jacobs. Robert Forster is once again Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff US Army General Edward Clegg with Jackie Earle Haley playing White House Deputy Chief of Staff DC Mason and Melissa Leo as Secretary of Defense Ruth McMillan. I applaud consistency here.
London Has Fallen is a good sequel but not nearly as meaty as the original film. There was more in that story than here. That does not make it bad though. Few sequels exceed the first film. The best they can usually do is be just as good and I think this is pretty much just as good as the first film. It has all the elements that made the first film fun to watch.
London Has Fallen is a good follow-up to Olympus Has Fallen. It’s just as action packed and just as exciting as the original. This is most definitely watch it for action fans!