#REVIEW: “LONDON HAS FALLEN”
Review by Siobhán Rich for Mr. Will Wong
“Vengeance must always be profound and absolute.” This is the lesson that opens Babak Najafi’s Thriller, London Has Fallen, and sets the tone for the next 99 minutes of non-stop action. Set in a world where the bad guys could be anyone from a guard at Buckingham Palace to a first responder; and the threat of double agents taint every possible ally, London Has Fallen marks an unapologetic return to ‘80s-syle Action Movies.
The follow-up to 2013’s Olympus has Fallen finds American President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) and his Secret Service team, led by Mike Banning (Gerard Butler), in London for the funeral of the British Prime Minster who has died under highly suspicious circumstances. Offhandedly referred to as the most secure event on the planet, the day of the funeral promptly turns into a disaster as Aamir Barkawi (Alon Aboutboul) begins to knock off world leaders one by one. Number six on the Most Wanted list doesn’t just shoot people, however, and what ensues is nothing less than the destruction of every major historical landmark in London.
The script from the original Olympus scribes Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt keeps the quips coming as fast as the gunfire while still allowing for sly references to Robert Frost and Ernest Hemmingway.
Morgan Freeman also returns as now Vice President Trumbull who watches much of the action remotely on a screen in the White House. Freeman’s characteristic devotion to character make Trumbull appear as invested in the outcome as if he were dodging gunfights and explosions himself.
Watching Butler single-handedly defeat every bad guy in the city is only improved by the fact that he does it all while never losing the Secret Service pin on his lapel. Whether he’s hanging out of moving vehicles, shooting at the bad guys or running through tunnels in an unfamiliar city, Butler’s commitment to his character is the entry point for the audience to care not only about Mike Banning but about the man he protects.
There is nothing subtle about London Has Fallen and and that’s not a bad thing. A great Action Flick can perhaps seem overly formulaic but that’s what escapism is all about: the good guys coming out on top despite every roadblock and challenge set to detonate in their way. So if you want a guilty-pleasure Movie take a tour of London.
VVS Films opens London Has Fallen on Friday, March 4, 2016.