London Has Fallen begins with the news that the Prime Minister is dead. For world leaders, it’s a time of great sadness. You could imagine what the reaction would be like on Twitter and Facebook, but that doesn’t get covered here.
A funeral soon takes place and a number of dignitaries are invited to attend, but this gives the terrorists carte blanche to launch an attack on the capital. On the plus side, it’s pretty cool to see them blow up London (safely) – and moreso than Jackie Chan’s shock bus explosion, but on the downside, some very dodgy CGI is used in destroying Chelsea Bridge, Westminster Abbey and as close as a boat can get to the Houses of Parliament. Well, I say that, but it didn’t get as close as I was expecting, but then again, terrorist actions doesn’t always go to plan as the stupid bastards end up blowing themselves up before they get to any members of the public
Getting caught up in all this again, as it’s the sequel to 2013’s Olympus Has Fallen – which was far better than that year’s similar White House Down, President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) returns with his security guard, Mike Banning (Gerard Butler).
One of my favourite moments came when Mike is shown to be brilliantly brutal at dealing with the terr orists, talking to the main one, Kamran (Waleed Zuaiter), over a walkie talkie. After the baddie claims he’s intending to kill the President slowly and stream it live, and asks if POTUS can hear him. Mike replies, “Yes, but there’s something I want you to hear first”, and since he’s captured Kamran’s brother Raza, he plunges a sharp knife into the man’s back, slowly killing him, and adds, “That’s the sound of your brother dying.”
President Asher asks, “Was that really necessary?”, and Mike bluntly states, “No.” That’s even better than Mike’s ‘Fuckheadistan” line!
There’s also a brilliant one-take assault scene down an alleyway, which is actually at least two takes, but is incredibly impressive and feels like something out of a Call Of Duty CGI intro. Can they make Babak Najafi the director of the next James Bond movie?
I could try and go into detail about the plot, but what matters here is that once the scene is set, the action is constant and this film restores your faith in the action genre. All too often, the action is sporadic in some of these films, yet here, it’s spot-on. And, thankfully, like the first film, this is a 15-certificate and Hollywood haven’t dumbed down the sequel to a 12, as they often do, reducing the violence and strong language to get more bums on seats, like Expendables III. God, that was awful!
London Has Fallen gives us lots of blood-splatter and gunshots to the head. Lovely! And it’s rare for a sequel to be better than the original.
However, that means that Radha Mitchell gets precious little to do other than play the simpering wife, this time about to give birth, which gives reason to a brief exchange where Mike and Asher talk about having kids. And Morgan Freeman turns up for five minutes just as he did in Momentum. But, stuff ’em, if you want a solid actioner with Gerard Butler regularly wisecracking and kicking butt, this is the film for you.
Actually, aside from Butler, the only other cast member I liked (since I don’t think Aaron Eckhart can act his way out of a paper bag) was Charlotte Riley. She were reet Northern!
And not including any spoilers, I love how the replacement Prime Minister’s surname is Clarkson. We were never told during the film if his first name was Jeremy, but it’d take a ‘King Ralph‘-style change for him to be the next best successor!
Note: This is just a review of the film itself.
Running time: 99 minutes
Studio: Lions Gate Home Entertainment
Format: 2.35:1 (Redcode RAW (5K) (6K))
Released: July 18th 2016
Director: Babak Najafi
Producers: Gerard Butler, Mark Gill, Alan Siegel, John Thompson and Les Weldon
Screenplay: Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt, Christian Gudegast and Chad St John
Music: Trevor Morris
Mike Banning: Gerard Butler
Benjamin Asher: Aaron Eckhart
Kamran Barkawi: Waleed Zuaiter
MI6 Jacquelin Marshall: Charlotte Riley
Chief Hazard: Colin Salmon
Lynne Jacobs: Angela Bassett
Agent Voight: Michael Wildman
Leah Banning: Radha Mitchell
Aamir Barkawi: Alon Aboutboul
Raza Mansoor: Adel Bencherif
Sultan Mansoor: Mehdi Dehbi
Amal Mansoor: Shivani Ghai
Home Secretary Rose Kenter: Penny Downie
PM Leighton Clarkson: Guy Williams
VP Allan Trumbull: Morgan Freeman
Pradhan: Nikesh Patel
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.