Better late than never I always say, and therefore I’m back in the trenches again to bring you another movie review. Today’s film is London Has Fallen, an unexpected sequel to ever popular action film Olympus Has Fallen. If you remember the first film, things like explosions, action, and that it was the Gerard Butler version of Die Hard should come to mind. And while adrenaline junkies (like myself) enjoyed the thrilling stunts and explosions, I certainly didn’t expect enough ground to make a sequel. Nevertheless, let’s get down to another review.
Like its predecessor, London Has Fallen is about one thing: action. Within the first thirty minutes the excitement breaks out, flashing guns, detrimental explosions, and extras flopping violently in the streets. From there, the violence only escalates, amplifying the action and intensity with each passing minute of the film. The fights are well choreographed and somewhat diverse to keep the gunplay “fresh”, and utilized different styles of warfare to bring some variety to an otherwise straightforward combat approach. In terms of the quality of these scenes, the production team did their jobs well again with very stable camera work and sound effects to bring you fully into the stunts.
With all these flashy sequences though, one might wonder if there is more to this blockbuster, popcorn flick. In terms of story, London has Fallen is not bad. It is another tale of revenge brought about by the overzealous use of weapons and warfare. As a result, the multiethnic bad guys create an elaborate trap to bring our heroes to London to execute them. The simplistic motive, although unoriginal, certainly worked with the movie and gave a realistic explanation for all the violence. Only problem was the execution. Where the first movie gave a little insight into the set up, London forgoes the planning stages and jumps right into the chaos. While certainly realistic, all of the targeted deaths happen in the blink of the eye with everything going conveniently well. It made the whole introduction to all the officials rather pointless and robbed the movie of some potential suspense. At least the emotional connections of Butler’s character help bring some edge to the movie…though some of these moments are a bit too convenient.
Speaking of Butler, let’s talk about the acting. Despite being the action thriller, London Has Fallen does a decent job with the acting. Butler again leads the cast with the same gruff, heroic demeanor we’ve come to know and love. His delivery of bodyguard jargon and witty one-liners (many sounding similar to Die Hard and Arnold Schwarzenegger quotes) was very humorous. Yet he had some deeper moments in this movie that smoothed the rough edges and give him a broader emotional spectrum. Eckhart reprises his role as well and his sullen, calm poise is perfect for the presidential role. Together the two make a wonderful brotherhood that is very entertaining to watch, which is good since they take 85% of the screen time. Our supporting cast deserves a shout out as well, each playing their part (no matter how short) to the fullest with only a few trudging into the cheesy side of things.
In terms of weaknesses of this movie, London Has Fallen has a few limitations that need to be addressed. First is that it is a very simplistic story, devoid of twists or surprises in favor of more action. I shouldn’t be surprised, but I always hope for a shocking twist to vamp the story up instead of a predictable mess. Second is that some of the characters were rather pointless to begin with when you see the theme of the movie, even some of the bad guys who were built up died quite plainly. With regards to some of the stunts, well they crossed from impressive into incredibly cheesy, the overuse of CGI alongside bending reality too much instead of realizing its limits. A final note is that some of the violence was a bit graphic for my taste, or at least was done without much point. Seeing extras suffocate or be slowly stabbed to death does not bring much satisfaction to this reviewer, but those who like edge will be elated to see what London has in store for you.
Overall London Has Fallen is one of the better action movies of the year. It’s exciting, its flashy, and it has great special effects that keep you engaged in the movie. The acting is decent for the movie and brings a fun friendly relationship that brings you further into the film. But you can’t deny what it is and that is a simplistic, popcorn flick devoid of any real meaning or substance, outside of people are greedy and war sucks (shocker there right?) Yet the special effects itself, alongside Gerard Butler, are more than enough reason to recommend seeing it in theater. Despite all this good though, the limitations do drop this movie in the mediocre category overall.
My scores are:
Action/Crime Thriller: 8.0
Movie Overall: 7.0