London Has Fallen combines Donald Trump’s favourite things – guns, explosions, and pure xenophobia.
Scottish leading man/action hero Gerard Butler is the prime example of a talented performer tripping and falling over one terrible movie after another. London Has Fallen, coming off mega-flop Gods of Egypt, continues his perplexing run of laughable, anger-inducing efforts. Sorry Butler, you are quickly running out of chances.
London Has Fallen kicks off in true flag-waving fashion, launching a drone strike on terrorist leader Aamir Barkawi (Alon Aboutboul). Two years later, top Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Butler) has grown close with US President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart). Expecting his first child with wife Leah (Radha Mitchell), Banning is close to handing in his resignation. When a crippled Barkawi launches attacks throughout London during a meeting of world leaders, Asher’s heroic Number Two comes to the rescue.
Thanks to worthy action director Antoine Fuqua, 2013’s Olympus Has Fallen filled the void A Good Day to Die Hard left wide open. As Die Hard rip-offs go, the original is an invigorating, gleeful blend of fun action sequences, fist-pump moments, and likeable action-flick archetypes. Its sequel, placed in the hands of up-and-coming filmmaker Babak Najafi, provides all of Hollywood’s worst impulses. Despite solid character and story development early on, the movie crashes and burns during the London attack sequence. Its unadulterated absurdity hampers the enjoyment factor, with major plot-holes and inconsistencies going unanswered. Seriously, how did Barkawi and co. plan this attack in a short space of time? Or place hundreds of minions into Britain’s police force and special agencies? And how does London transition from a busy populous to uninhabited wasteland within 20 minutes?
London Has Fallen, alongside Zoolander 2 and Grimsby, continues Hollywood’s new tradition of blockbusters that appear cheap and expensive simultaneously. For all the bluster and bravado of endless explosions, crashes, and shootouts, the CGI matches those of your average Sy-fy Channel monster flick. Potentially entertaining sequences – from motorcycle chases to helicopters ducking through skyscrapers – come off as cartoonish. However, the fistfights and shootouts are almost worth a matinee VMAX experience. The best set piece is held in one continuous take, with Banning taking out targets and dodging a hail-fire of bullets in balletic fashion.
Banning is the best and worst part of London Has Fallen, transitioning from tough saviour to homicidal maniac between instalments. Everyone else, including Vice President Trumbull (Morgan Freeman), bows to Banning’s inane love of violence. Worse still, the international characters are bland, dated stereotypes including a sleazy Italian President, foppish British MI6 representatives, and an army of blood-thirsty people from unnamed Middle-Eastern provinces.
London Has Fallen, described by many as terrorism porn, deserves a foul death at the box-office. This brash, befuddling action-thriller will deter fans of the original and anyone with common sense.
London Has Fallen is available in Australian cinemas from March 17th
Image (c) Roadshow Films 2016
Source: London Has Fallen Official Facebook Page