London Has Fallen (2016)
Directed by Babak Najafi
With Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Angela Bassett, Morgan Freeman, Waleed Zuaiter and Radha Mitchell
London Has Fallen is the action-thriller sequel to Olympus Has Fallen that no-one asked for – a movie about a terrorist attack at the heart of England, in which somehow, America is the main focal point. Gerard Butler returns as Mike Banning, a ‘real man’ made of “bourbon and bad choices“, now an expectant father looking to gear down and retire from his job as President Aaron Eckhart’s personal muscle. Contrary to how that quote might read, the script isn’t written to send itself up, as it clumsily knocks over every hurdle in an empty-headed barrage of fantasy nonsense that is as insulting as it is stupid.
After the sudden death of the British Prime Minister, the leaders of the world gather in London to pay their respects, but not before half of them are wiped out by stupid writing and bargain-basement CGI. Of course, they didn’t factor Mike Banning.
Boring, predictable and derivative, Iranian director, Babak Najafi, is unable to make anything of a dog-shit screenplay that spews more than its share of tumbleweed moments, while aping Arnold Schwazenegger’s “get to da chopper” and “i’ll be back” without the faintest whiff of irony.
While there are a few moments of solid action, there’s nothing special about the shoddy effects. Be that rendering issues brought about by a lack of time or money, it’s surprising to see such amateur work in a sequel to a movie that took a $170m worldwide gross. Indeed, one shot of a falling helicopter looks distinctly mid-1990’s low-budget CGI, while the many street explosions, smoke and fire effects look cheap and unfinished.
As well as being utterly banal, there’s something achingly depressing about London Has Fallen, a mean-spirited film that recycles our fear of terrorism as a form of ludicrous entertainment. It does this in a way that shamelessly neglects the suffering and loss of those unfortunate enough to find themselves caught up in such a tragedy, focusing solely on the vengeful triumph of the cartoon hero.