Let’s blow up London.
London Has Fallen is the sequel to the surprisingly entertaining Olympus Has Fallen. We once again follow President Asher (Aaron Eckhart) and his broiest Secret Service agent Banning (Gerard Butler) as they get into all sorts of trouble in London.
The sheer absurdity of the first film ended up being a decent Die Hard clone, and much like Die Hard 2: Die Harder (yes, that is the full title) this one brings more of the same with even less charm. The Fallen films seem to want to be more Die Hard, but somehow also want to have the same narrative heft of the early Bourne films. What we end up with is a bit of a messy scenario.
The likelihood of any of the events happening in this film is slim, but this is what we want out of action films. The first one had a sort “screw it we’re going Red Dawn” vibe that worked a lot better. We are given too much information about our terrorists this time around and that makes the already awkward political imagery even more awkward.
As the world leaders gather for the funeral of the British Prime Minister an attack happens to decapitate the central command of all nations. We once again are given an exciting series of explosions to shave down all the faceless suits until it is just Asher and Banning (again). Now, alone and on the run, they must navigate the city and try to survive before the bloodthirsty terrorists find and execute them.
A lot of folks seem to despise this film—seriously, check out the RT reviews! I think there are a lot of valid criticisms of the action genre and of this film. Primarily, did we really need a sequel? Butler isn’t as charming as a Willis or Stallone—and this makes his character just another good guy who is a tough guy. His personality is so bland in these movies that it doesn’t really feel like a sequel, but it is because we know it is. We know we know Banning, but we aren’t sure from where.
However, most people aren’t going to watch these movies for developed characters or deep plots—they want action—and oh boy does this film bring the action. We get numerous shootouts, chases, explosions, and so forth. The climactic sequence being easily the best.
The action feels more action-y than real. We have a sort of video-game pacing and sequencing (think Modern Warfare 3) throughout. Now, this is important: this is fine. Some folks like mindless action and this movie delivers on that. I thought it was fine for an evening watch, but it certainly doesn’t explore the issues present in any sort of depth.
The lack of analysis is frustrating. Something that bothered me in the first film is the excessive use of patriotic symbols without bothering to explore or utilize these symbols in an interesting way. We are given even more issues that are chucked in without any care. I suppose they just couldn’t be bothered to make an explicit point other than heroes gonna hero and villains gonna get stabbed.
However, as noted above, we are given a bit of information about who the terrorists are and a bit about their motivations, but this only serves to set them up as the bad people who spy and kill (as opposed to the good spies and killers?). Look, if you want to rip this film apart it won’t be hard. There are enough issues present to dissect, but I do wonder what good it would do.
I said the first film was too stupid to be as propogandist as the critics say and I guess I am saying this one is more or less the same. The film offers hollow fun. Try not to think about it too much.