Whew, if you thought it was bad when Olympus fell you should see what terrorists do to the city of London in Gerard Butler’s action sequel “London Has Fallen”. And don’t let the laughably bad title fool you, the corniness isn’t just restricted to the name of the movie. It’s in everything from the performances, the dialogue, and the premise itself.
For the sake of full disclosure I admit that I enjoyed Antoine Fuqua’s 2013 action romp “Olympus Has Fallen”. It was a violent, cheesy, and unashamed throwback to the good old action flicks of the 1980s and early 90s. So now we get “London Has Fallen” which has some of the same entertaining silliness of its predecessor. But while not as wretched as some overly sensitive critics say, it is a much lesser movie.
Gerard Butler returns as Secret Service Superman Mike Banning. He still serves as the chief protector of President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) but is contemplating retirement since he and his wife Leah (Radha Mitchell) are expecting their first baby. But he can’t retire quite yet. Following the death of England’s Prime Minister, President Asher and other world leaders head to London to attend the funeral.
Obviously things don’t go well in London. A terrorist group launches a calculated attack on the world leaders including Asher. It becomes Banning’s top priority to keep the President alive no matter the amounts of bullets, blood, and bone-breaking necessary. It’s really as simple as that. The bulk of the film is Banning leading Asher through numerous gunfights and close encounters.
The movie does try to throw in a few side ventures I suppose in an attempt to add more depth. There is an early hint that the film may explore the moral implications of drone strikes. That’s tossed aside pretty quick. There is also a side story about a mole inside English intelligence. It plays out about as flat and uneventful as possible. Basically anything they try to do to expand the story fails.
Few things other than the action works in “London Has Fallen”. The sense of humor isn’t that funny. The film is littered with dopey and abrasive dialogue. Several returning characters from the first film are given nothing to do. To be honest the wackiness of the premise and the intense action almost saves it. There are a couple of shootouts that are an absolute blast. It’s too bad there isn’t enough surrounding the action to make this worthwhile.
VERDICT – 2 STARS