Aug 15, 2018

[Movies] London Has Fallen (2016) Review

Well this is a movie that I didn't expect to find myself watching but when you're with family you can end up with weird things. And it's not like this is already a statement of this movie being good or bad - it's just not the sort of thing I'd choose to watch on my own.

London Has Fallen surprised me that it's actually part of what is now a franchise - in fact a trilogy of movies where governments keep "falling" in one way or another. I like to think of them as flashier, less cerebral versions of the Jack Ryan stories, so to speak.

The movies in this franchise have a particular feel to them that is a bit of an acquired taste I guess? So if you enjoyed the first one, things movie then gives you more of the things that sort of worked and other bits that they thought worked but didn't quite do so in my opinion.

But hey, this is not meant to be quite a serious a movie so we just run with it.

Synopsis: London Has Fallen is a 2016 American action thriller movie directed by Babak Najafi. It is a sequel to Olympus Has Fallen with a screenplay written by Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt, Christian Gudegast, Chad St. John.

The story begins with a sort of a flashback to a drone strike authorized against Pakistani arms dealer Aamir Barkawi (Alon Moni Aboutboul) given evidence that he was responsible for various terrorist attacks. Barkawi is believed dead in the drone strike together with his family. Two years later the leaders of the world are gathering in London for the funeral of UK Prime Minister James Wilson, who had died quite suddenly.

Secret Service Director Lynne Jacobs (Angela Bassett) has tasked Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) to lead the security detail for his friend the US President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckart). But as all the leaders are in the city, a series of attacks are executed targeting the various leaders thanks to terrorists disguised as law enforcement. Thankfully Mike's security efforts helped President Asher escape the initial attacks but now they need to find a way to safety despite the unknown number of rogue enemies active in the area.

What I Liked: If you like seemingly complex plans executed for wide scale destruction and death, well, this is the movie for you. The opening salvo of terrorist attacks totally works out as they have just enough elements to make it feel smarter but not too much to burden the viewer. So there's a lot of great action to be had and various ways to show killing other people.

Gerard Butler is actually pretty great in this movie as both a concerned friend, a devoted father worried for his family back home and a kickass secret service agent not letting anyone get to the President. They gave him some great action sequences and choreographed things in a compelling manner. And what else can you expect from an action thriller movie, right?

What Could Have Been Better: Surprise, surprise, the plot doesn't quite make sense since it seems like a heck of a lot of complication planning and scheming just to get revenge. Sure revenge is important but it's not like all the world leaders were involved in that first drone strike (which you know we witnessed because it had to be involved in the reasons for everything that happened) but then you do all this to kill several world leaders all in one go?

And then it seems a little unrealistic that police forces were that compromised such that it feels like most of the folks in the city were bad guys so where were the legit cops? Where was the UK military? Why was it so hard to rally allied forces after so many of their leaders were literally killed? Why rely almost solely on the US to save the day? But hey that's movie logic for you.

TL;DR: London Has Fallen is a sequel I never expected but it was still a fun movie. It's kind of crazy but it's really simpler entertainment and that's what you get here. Thus the movie gets a fair 2.5 unusual situations that Mike has to deal with to save the President out of a possible 5.

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