London Has Fallen, 2016.
Directed by Babak Najafi.
Starring Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Alon Aboutboul, Radha Mitchell, Colin Salmon and Charlotte Riley.
In London for the Prime Minister’s funeral, Mike Banning discovers a plot to assassinate all the attending world leaders.
A sequel to Antoine Fuqua’s 2013 actioner Olympus Has Fallen was inevitable and London Has Fallen is an entertaining popcorn film – as long as you can ignore some blatant racism and terrorism exploitation. It’s not a bad film but it is nowhere near the entertaining heights of its predecessor which was simply “Die Hard in the White House”.
It’s three years later and secret service man Mike Banning (Butler) is considering resigning as he has a new baby on the way. Just before he can send the letter the British Prime Minister dies and all of the world’s leaders assemble in London for his funeral. As they begin to arrive a series of explosions take out most of London’s recognisable landmarks and we’re treated to a film which involves Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart running across central London shooting everyone in sight.
No one can accuse the 2013 original film of being subtle, but London Has Fallen is arguably even clearer in its anti-terrorism message. We start off in Pakistan with a drone strike attack on a one-dimensional villain and his family, the terrorists in central London are a mix of races but it seems to be people of Middle Eastern origins that are calling the shots, they even throw in some suicide bombers for added effect. Whilst you could argue that any film of this nature is exploiting terrorism (think of Die Hard, Air Force One, et al) with London Has Fallen it is so in your face throughout the 99 minute running time that it’s hard to ignore the writer and directors political point of view.
This isn’t to say that London Has Fallen isn’t an entertaining film. Despite some slightly dodgy CGI, the action as our heroes’ battle their way through London is entertaining and imaginative. In what looks like a single take, Banning (backed up by the SAS) storms a building and it is a tense and enjoyable seen to watch. The multiple set pieces are crafted well and whilst Gerard Butler is never going to win any awards for his acting, he is a great stuntman and commits to each set piece.
Eckhart and Butler get to share more time on-screen in this outing and their bro-mance and camaraderie is joyful to watch on-screen. A few quips don’t work – Butler yelling at someone to go to Fuckheadistan is a low point – but all in all London Has Fallen is a perfectly enjoyable action film as long as you don’t take it too seriously and take the heavy-handed political views with a pinch of salt.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★
Helen Murdoch is a freelance writer – Follow me on Twitter