By Nico Beland
Movie Review: D (2 stars)
Say the title, no really just say the title, London Has Fallen, a sequel to the 2013 action movie, Olympus Has Fallen. Congratulations you have just pointed out the #1 problem with this movie, its existence.
Granted Olympus Has Fallen, I don’t consider a terrible film, but it’s nothing I would watch constantly, it’s just a dumb, silly, and over the top action film that delivers mindless fun. Is it a revolutionary film that changed cinema forever? Not even close, is it very flawed? Undeniably, but it’s like watching one of those beefy Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone films where it’s goofy and over the top but also entertaining and fun.
Here’s the plot of the first film in a nutshell, the White House gets attacked by terrorists, the President (Aaron Eckhart-Thank You For Smoking, The Dark Knight) gets captured, buildings blow up, people die, and his buff bodyguard (Gerard Butler-300, How to Train Your Dragon 1 and 2) has to save him. Literally that’s the film, basic and shallow, but what made it enjoyable was the silly action and one-liners, before Roland Emmerich tried to capitalize on the success of the film and White House terrorism attack film genre a few months later with White House Down.
Apparently Olympus Has Fallen was a hit when it came out in 2013, so sequel time, could it be a strong, character driven follow-up like The Dark Knight or an action packed and fun follow-up like Die Hard 2 or Aliens? How about literally the EXACT same movie just in a different location.
And that’s where London Has Fallen comes in, a movie that sucks out any originality the first film had (if any), poor character development, a predictable and clichéd script, and cheesy one-liners that actually feel rather stale and they overstay their welcome. Fortunately, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman (The Shawshank Redemption, Driving Ms. Daisy, The Dark Knight trilogy), and Gerard Butler reprise their roles from the previous film, even if most of their character development take a back seat for loud explosions and frenetic action sequences.
Some time after the events of Olympus Has Fallen, we find the President of the United States, Benjamin Asher (Eckhart) and his US Secret Service lead agent, Mike Banning (Butler) flying to London for the funeral of the British Prime Minister who recently died under mysterious circumstances, a required event for all Western world leaders. However shortly after they get there, what started as the most protected event on Earth suddenly transforms into a deadly plot hatched by Pakistan terrorists to kill the world’s most powerful leaders and unleash a terrifying vision of the future on the Earth (Sounds like what’s gonna happen if Trump wins!).
So Benjamin and Mike find a safe place to hide from the terrorists, meet up with British MI6 agent, Jacquelin Marshall (Charlotte Riley-Easy Virtue, World Without End, Edge of Tomorrow), and put a stop to an evil plan to execute the President of the United States virally. Meanwhile Vice President, Allan Trumball (Freeman) and the White House Chief of Staff attempt to negotiate with the terrorists in hopes of stopping all the mayhem…again.
If you’ve seen Olympus Has Fallen already, you’re not missing much here, London Has Fallen has got to be one of the most unnecessary sequels I’ve seen since…Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip…Terminator: Genisys…and…Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. It isn’t nearly as bad as Road Chip or Paul Blart 2, but it’s still questionable in its existence, aside from the fact that Olympus Has Fallen made money, Hell, Roland Emmerich’s White House Down is actually closer to being a faithful sequel than this.
It’s a shame because a lot of good people worked on this movie, Aaron Eckhart and Gerard Butler are actors I’ve enjoyed in several films, most notably Thank You For Smoking, The Dark Knight, 300, and How to Train Your Dragon 1 and 2. And of course, Morgan Freeman is one of those actors where even if he’s in a bad movie or a movie that’s just okay, you can tell he’s doing his best to work with the script and any scene involving him in my opinion are the best parts of the film, Eckhart’s raspy voice and Butler’s one-liners and constant killing get old really fast.
Do I think it’s one of the worst sequels ever made? No, it’s not even close really, there were a couple of fun action sequences and of course the cast is very talented. But there’s not much that’s different and it’s just another typical standard action film, if you just want to see some over the top action sequences and things going “BOOM!” you’ll probably love it.
I guess I didn’t know what to expect with this movie, but really the movie itself falls more than the UK does, and it doesn’t leave an impression but rather just kills your brain cells.