Review: ‘London Has Fallen’ even more excessive than original
“London Has Fallen” never pretends to be anything it’s not. The sequel to Antoine Fuqua’s big, dumb and kind of fun “Olympus Has Fallen,” is bigger, dumber, jaw-droppingly shameless and also kind of a riot. It is just so spectacularly cliched and over-the-top that all you can do is laugh. The craziest thing is how they convinced everyone to reprise their roles. A dare? Fond memories? Or perhaps the $161 million worldwide box office receipts didn’t hurt either. In any event, Aaron Eckhart is back as U.S. President Benjamin Asher, Angela Bassett as Lynne the Secret Service director, Morgan Freeman as the vice president and, of course, Gerard Butler as Secret Service Agent Mike Banning.
This time, the president, Mike and Lynn head off to London for the funeral of the British prime minister where 40 other heads of state are expected. And, as is wont for the unluckiest administration in history, there’s a large-scale, hyper-coordinated attack in the moments before the funeral as the terrorists pick off world leaders in various comical locations around the city. The French PM is on a luxury motor boat with champagne, the Japanese PM is stuck in traffic on a bridge, and the older Italian PM is up on the rooftop of Westminster Abbey with his young girlfriend because “you only turn 30 once.”
Anyone who saw the first one knows that this is not an action movie that’s based in any sort of reality. It’s an action movie based on other action movies. The lines are big, the jokes are dumb, the through-the-temple shots and ensuing blood splatter gratuitous, the logic infuriating, and the gunfire relentless. At one point, when Mike and the President are in relative safety, Mike confirms to a terrorist via intercom that, yes, he is the one with the president.
The terrorists, by the way, are led by a powerful international arms dealer (Alon Moni Aboutboul) who is out for vengeance after a drone strike targeting him ended up killing his daughter at her wedding. For such an epic and comprehensive operation, his goals are fuzzy at best. It’s a wonder how he was able to turn all those British police and royal guards into his own personal army with a vague “change the world” message.
But that’s too much thinking for a movie that is ultimately just mindless bluster. It remains so-bad-its-good fun, too, until the final third which devolves into some troubling Middle Eastern stereotypes and rah-rah American patriotic posturing.
This sort of movie was made for television viewing. You could tune in or out at any moment and really not miss anything. Or just have a drink beforehand and bring your rowdiest friends to the theater.
The film opened in Korea on Thursday. AP