London Has Fallen (2016) review

London Has Fallen (2016) review

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Somehow I don't think they're going to let him onto the train.
Somehow I don’t think they’re going to let him onto the train.

It was never going to be good, was it? As much as we may have enjoyed Olympus Has Fallen as a guilty pleasure, it seemed like it said all that it had to say. But alas! Now Banning (Gerard Butler) has a baby on the way and is seriously considering giving up his role in the secret service to do… well, probably something a little less likely to get him killed. It’s never really made clear. It’s not all that important anyway, except for the fact he is called away to London with President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) after the Prime Minister of the UK dies suddenly. World leaders descend on London for the state funeral, and it’s then that things go kill crazy. Engage Silly Mode.

It’s much lighter on the quotable quips compared to the first, which is a shame. Banning’s potty mouth was a highlight of Olympus Has Fallen, but here it’s like they’ve taken away the admittedly brief amount of wit that he had initially and just replaced it with more F bombs. It’s not big, it’s not clever, etc etc.

Asher isn’t the damsel in distress quite as much this time round, getting to fire a few guns at some goons on occasion. Suffice to say, there is the moment where he’s taken away and put in mortal peril, leading to Banning waging a one man war to get him back.

Lots of people, watching screens and sat in a very small room.
Lots of people, watching screens and sat in a very small room.

Meanwhile back in the States, now Vice-President Trumbull (Morgan GODDAMN Freeman) gets to sit in a room with a couple of other people who were in the first one. And they just… sit there. They add almost nothing except for a few amusing reaction shots. Much like Freeman, perhaps everybody in that room was just there for the pay cheque.

The same goes too for the villains, a family of Middle Eastern terrorists led by Aamir Barkawi (Alon Aboutboul) who seeks retribution on the West for the death of his daughter in a drone strike intended to take him out of the picture. After somehow infiltrating all of London’s police, security and rescue services without anybody noticing (a plot hole one could explain thanks to the poorly delivered MI6 mole storyline), for the rest of their time they are mostly seen waiting for Banning to show up. Yawn.

There is a rather pleasing, apparently single shot sequence, where Banning assaults an enemy stronghold, but it’s one highlight in a film that resolutely fails to deliver on the concept. The rest of the thinly veiled plot sees Banning and Asher moving from one set piece to another, escaping terrorists and dodgy special effects alike.

London Has Fallen doesn’t just take its American flag waving to extremist levels (see what I did there? Ahem. I’ll get me coat), it bludgeons you over the head with it. Repeatedly, until you are nothing but a bloody husk of meat slumped on the floor. The Americans are great (even though they keep losing their President to terrorists) and the rest of the world are blathering idiots, terrorists and allies alike.

But, on a more positive note, there is a great score from Trevor Morris. That’s something to take away from it I suppose.

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