"London Has Fallen" is the sequel to 2013's "Olympus Has Fallen" and it features the returning cast of Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, and Morgan Freeman as well as new faces like Charlotte Riley and Alon Moni Aboutboul. The plot is that the British Prime Minister has died and all of the world leaders including Eckhart's President Asher are attending his funeral, which is interrupted by a series of terrorist attacks across London and now it's up to Butler to save the day from the terrorists yet again.
Me personally, I didn't enjoy "Olympus Has Fallen". As much as it was intended to be a dumb, fun, mindless action flick, I still felt that it took itself too seriously in regards to stuff like the characters and even the central premise. I was hoping that this movie would try to just focus on being the mindless, self aware action movie the first one should've been and all would've been well. As it turns out, this is the second week in a row in which we have a Gerard Butler movie that's painful to sit through.
Right off the bat, this movie falls victim to the usual set up that always occurs in movies like this. We have Gerard Butler as the focus with him wanting to spend more time with his pregnant wife and as you're watching this, you're left with one question: When does London blow up? I completely understand character set up in movies to make it more engaging for the audience, but it comes off as a problem for this movie for a couple of reasons. One, it's the same old cliched stuff we've seen before. We can only handle so much of the "guy wants more time with his pregnant wife" trope before it gets mind-numbingly boring. The other problem is that it doesn't fit for what this movie wants to be. It wants to be an all out action movie that pays tribute to the classic action movies of the 80's, but it gets lost in trying to make you care about these overly-dramatic characters that clearly belong in a soap opera with how some scenes play out. A lot of directors seem to forget that you can make interesting set up without making it conflicting or boring.
When the action finally starts to go down, it unfortunately doesn't come off as fun or entertaining. If anything, you're left with action sequence that create bigger issues for the film, one of these issues being the conveniences for the sake of moving the plot forward. I won't go into spoiler heavy detail, but it plays out like this: The main villain's plan is in full swing, something unprecedented happens that he shouldn't have seen coming at all, yet everything still works out for him perfectly. He didn't expect (insert world leader here) to be stuck in a traffic jam, but things still work out for him near flawlessly. Not to mention the convenience of Gerard Butler knowing exactly where to go all the time in a foreign country he's never been to, as well as Butler being able to dodge virtually every round of AK-47 ammo fired at him while effortlessly shooting down terrorists that are more heavily armed and fortified. You know, the perfect way to engage your audience.
Not only that, but this movie's action isn't even fun to watch from a technical or entertainment standpoint. A lot of the CGI is God-awful, particularly every single CGI explosion, looking as if they were one of those cheap Adobe Premiere video editing effects. The first movie had one notably bad scene with an obviously fake CGI American flag being tossed from the roof of the White House. This movie has fake CGI in every single frame of every single action sequence and it took away from how much fun could've been had in those scenes. Not only that, but the action scenes are so obviously synthetic and falsely crafted. There's one scene in the movie where it tries to pass off as a long take with no cuts, but it's very clear where the editing is in the scene, such as a transition with the entire screen covered in smoke to hide the edit.
Lastly, this movie is just one giant piece of "America, fuck yeah!", but in the worst possible way. If a movie wants to be patriotic, it can be done right like in the cheesy, yet still fun "Independence Day". But there's a fine line between being patriotic and being downright xenophobic, jingoistic, and downright alienating to non-whites. (You can expect Donald Trump's endorsement of this movie anytime soon) The unfortunate reality in this movie is that if you're a non-white who's not Morgan Freeman, you're fucked. They're either people who die unjustifiably horrible deaths, or they're cliched terrorists doing cliched terrorist things. Not only that, but there even comes a point near the end where the movie is giving one giant "Go 'Murica" speech and it basically tries to justify bombing innocent civilians in order to kill terrorists. That's right, it's 2016 and some people still aren't seeing through movies like this. Welcome to Trump's America.
In the end, "London Has Fallen" is a complete mess of a movie with mostly dull, uninteresting action, cliched villains, boring drama and set up for our heroes, and a downright xenophobic message. I won't completely tear this movie up since there were a couple of admittedly entertaining action set pieces, but that doesn't save the film as a whole. It's still a trainwreck of an action movie that no one needs to see unless you really want to sit through nearly two hours of crap just to see London landmarks getting blown up in a bunch of fake CGI.
Rating: Some Ol' Bullshit