GERARD Butler (“Gods of Egypt”) stars as super-secret agent Mike Banning who tears up another global capital to keep an American President from certain doom in “London Has Fallen.”
The follow-up to 2013’s terrific “Olympus Has Fallen,” in this outing Banning has recovered his missteps in the film’s original outing and leads the US Secret Service protection detail of Aaron Eckhart (“The Dark Knight”) who again returns as President Benjamin Asher. The relationship between the two has blossomed into a true friendship after Banning’s solo defense of The White House along with saving the President’s young son from a nameless and faceless terrorist group bent on global domination.
Asher, with Banning as his constant companion and confidant, travel to the United Kingdom, specifically London, to attend the funeral of the British Prime Minister.
All of the Commonwealth and European heads of state are also in attendance and no sooner has Asher and his team arrived in the British capital when—quite literally—bloody hell breaks loose.
All of the global leaders are simultaneously assassinated as Banning and his remaining Secret Service agents shove the American President into a high powered SUV.
And the race is on!
“London Has Fallen” takes Banning and Asher outside of the cozy confines of a not-so secure White House and on the run with multiple bad guys on their tail.
Not only does “London Has Fallen” have Butler and Eckhart returning but it really soars with Morgan Freeman (“Driving Miss Daisy”) holding the fort back in Washington D.C. as well as a strong performance from Angela Bassett (“Malcom X”).
Nice that the gang’s all here!
“London Has Fallen” not only benefits from great set scenes shot on location in London itself but a tight screenplay from likewise returning screenwriters Creighton Rothenberg and Katrin Benedikt which are given the entire metro landscape of London to play with.
Director Babak Najafi who has been given limited films in his still early career, takes over from the brilliant Antoine Fuqua and does a good job in keeping the pacing going and going and going.
The only let down in the “villain” in Alon Aboutboul (“Munich”) as Barkawi, leaders of a “shadowy Middle Eastern” terrorist group bent on causing chaos in every major world capital. I just didn’t connect with his rational in attacking other world centers besides London.
With all of the attending world leaders dead, Barkawi made his point.
What the heck … Hollywood just loves to blow up stuff.
Of course, Barkawi has never faced a more tenacious opponent in Banning, who, after Asher is kidnapped and held for ransom on global television, becomes a one-man killing machine—ala Rambo—who never stops, never eats, never sleeps until Asher is freed.
“London Has Fallen” is a tighter political thriller because Banning is no longer confined to the White House basement.
In this sequel, if Banning had to grope his way through the darkness of Westminster Abbey, I would have chocked on my popcorn.
You can about figure what the outcome of “London Has Fallen” will be—no spoilers here—so I have to ponder … what will the producers do when all of the millions of pesos start rolling in?
Will the next outing be set in China when “Beijing Has Fallen”?
How about “Manila Has Fallen”?
Butler has redeemed himself in the eyes of this film critic from his worthless performance of last week’s “Gods of Egypt” and at the tender age of 47, has many years left in defending this or other US Presidents from any would-be world beater.
“London Has Fallen” is a terrific follow-up to the franchise’s original.
It broadens the lead charters who are comfortable in their rolls and the on-site location shots of London crumbling into landfill are more than worth the price of admission.
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