Well here’s a sequel no one asked for, but it’s one I’m sure not complaining about. Yeah, I’m about to say it, so get over it. I liked OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN. Look, I’m the last person to tell you that it was a good movie. It isn’t. But I wasn’t expecting one. I was expecting some good action and some good acting from the actors you expect good acting from. And you know what, that’s what I got. Morgan Freeman was fun to see staring down the bad guys, Gerard Butler is always enjoyable in anything he does, and I’m a die-hard fan of Aaron Eckhart. So once I found out about this movie, I’m not gonna lie, I wanted to see it. That first trailer had me going. Finally, it’s been released. Took me a day, but with eagerness, I was totally hyped. Did it live up to my expectations? That’s what I’m here to answer, folks. This is my honest opinion of LONDON HAS FALLEN.
It’s been three years since the White House was attacked. President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) is running for president again and still glued to his side is ever trustworthy bodyguard Mike Banning (Gerard Butler), who is about to be a dad with his wife Leah (Radha Mitchell). This has given Mike something to think about as he has begun to write a letter of resignation for Ben, but has not yet sent it in. Well, some bad news for the world, the media has released that the British Prime Minister died in his sleep and a grand funeral is about to be held in his honor and the President, as well as many other world leaders, will be attending to honor the deceased leader. But this is also a grand opportunity for those same leaders to be targeted by their enemies. Special precautions have been taken and the leaders arrive without a hitch, including Ben and Mike. But soon, all hell breaks loose as the world leaders are quickly being killed by terrorists disguised as local law enforcement, except for Ben. And the terrorists will stop at nothing to finish what they started. But Mike’s not gonna let that happen.
Awe yeah, bitches, this was exactly what I was hoping for.
Alright, so before anyone gives me crap, once again, no, this isn’t a good movie. If so many world leaders really were huddled in one spot or in such relatively close proximity (which I doubt would ever happen in such an open capacity), the security detail wouldn’t fall for something as obvious as fake cops. Bomb squads would have found all those bombs that would have went off, and I don’t care how many years of planning it took, there is no way on God’s green Earth that anyone would have predicted where and when every last one of those world leaders would be AT THAT EXACT moment in time. And I don’t believe for a second that EVERY single one of them would have been killed off except for the American President. Of course bad writing is to blame here. So let’s try and move past all that horse shit and geek out over the fun action scenes!
As soon as the action kicks off, Mike’s popping headshot after headshot. He’s shooting enemies off their motorcycles, stabbing bitches in the front, in the back, Butler always looks good killing folks. There’s some fun standout deaths too. During a chase scene, a motorcycle dude crashes into the passenger side window and shouts “fuck you!” to Mike. Mike’s all, “fuck me?!” Then he kills the fucker by crushing him between a concrete wall and the car. Then as he’s holding the helmet of the motorcycle dude, Mike says “fuck you.” That got a giggle out of me. Another scene, Mike is forcing one of the terrorist leaders to listen to his brother scream as he drives a knife into him and kills him. Oh! Oh! And another scene where he’s in a safehouse and some terrorists disguised as American soldiers invade and Mike’s Rambo-ing out as he keeps Ben in a safe place (hammering in that if Mike dies, Ben’s fucked). Mike’s down to the last enemy, but he’s run out of ammo. The enemy appears and is about to kill Mike, but Ben shows up and totally headshots the dude. Then Mike’s all, “I was wondering when you’d come out of the closet.”
Yes, the President of the United States gets in on the action in this one. Following in the footsteps of AIR FORCE ONE and INDEPENDENCE DAY, the President gets to be a bad-ass. I love shit like that! There’s something about it that adds that extra level of awesome. And to top it all off, it’s Eckhart. Huge fan of the guy. Granted, he doesn’t get in on the action AS much as Butler, and he does get kidnapped again, but at least it’s not the plot of the movie this time.
I failed to mention the best gun-play action scene I’ve seen in years. It’s right after Ben gets captured and Mike and his S.A.S. allies are storming the stronghold of their terrorists. It’s done in one shot and it’s so amazingly shot, it’s easily the best action and directed scene in the movie, which is saying a lot as the direction isn’t the best in the world when it’s away from the action. But that scene I mentioned, fuckin’ spectacular. Too bad there wasn’t more of it, otherwise I think the critical reception would have been a lot warmer.
There’s probably some controversy surrounding the villain of the film being middle eastern, but I don’t think I have the political or world events knowledge to comment on that, so I’ll just mention certain story elements that irked me.
First of all, there’s a scene with Lynne, played by Angela Bassett, and Mike talking and she accepts being Mike’s future baby’s godmother. Unfortunately… Lynne dies shortly after the attack on London. Well, THAT added a lot. That scene’s only purpose was to try and make the audience care more for Lynne, which isn’t the smartest play because while I remember that Lynne was in OLYMPUS, I neither remembered her name nor what contribution she played in the story. I just remembered what I was supposed to remember: Butler kicking some serious ass. I think I remember that she was sympathetic to Mike being a disgraced Secret Service agent, but again, I don’t remember anything about her. This movie essentially wanted to get rid of her, but didn’t want to treat her like an extra. It would have made more sense to have her kick some ass with Mike and be killed off later. Dedicate some time to flesh out her character more so we can be invested and her death be more impactful. Sadly, this isn’t the case and she’s written off pretty early on.
The same goes for MI6 agent Jacquelin Marshall, played by Charlotte Riley. She serves two purposes: to provide the protagonist with guns, and to rather sporadically uncover the British mole and kill him. Even though Jac is said to be MI6’s finest agent and not to fuck with her, she barely does anything in the film. The closest we see is when she kills the mole, who is supposed to be a friend of hers. Again, this is an element that isn’t elaborated on. We don’t know the extent of their friendship, how close they really were before all this chaos, so it’s just a drawn out, almost boring, scene. This film could easily have made her fight alongside Mike and protect the President with him, but the movie needs this to be a dick-flick. Nothing wrong with mindless dick-flicks, obviously, but leave out sidelining women and marking them as bad-asses when they aren’t going to do anything bad-ass in the movie. It’s not a step BACKWARDS, per se, as she isn’t a damsel in distress at all, but in a market of progressive feminist films like MAD MAX: FURY ROAD and THE HUNGER GAMES, this also doesn’t seem like a step forward.
When all is said and done, no one should be going in to see this movie for story. It’s mindless entertainment and it succeeds in spades. I have officially seen the movie twice now and I still wouldn’t mind seeing it again. It’s stupid, it’s fun, it’s exciting, it’s mostly well done, but it keeps your butt in the seat. If you’re a fan of that kind of action movie, then I’d say give it a shot.
My honest rating: 2/5 for story, 5/5 for entertainment