London Has Fallen | Review

LONDON HAS FALLEN is the completely over the top “save the prez” sequel to OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN but this time set in, you guessed it, London. I thought the first one was god awful but Kernel Blake had not seen it, so him and the wifey watched it and then head along to review this murdersome death count on film. And it appears that Butler has redeemed himself following the awful GODS OF EGYPT. LONDON HAS FALLEN is out now from the fine folks at Roadshow Films. It is rated MA15+ and runs for 99mins. Enjoy Blake’s review……..all the best…….JK.

 

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BY BLAKE CURRALL

A few years ago Hollywood decided that the world was sorely missing an action movie about an attack on the White House. So much so that it actually churned out two of them at the same time, WHITE HOUSE DOWN and OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN, both showing the most powerful house in the world being overrun by terrorists and a lone man taking them out, to save the day.

I missed OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN on release, having viewed the other option and only caught up on Gerard Butler’s one man crusade to decimate half of the world’s North Korean/Pakistani/bad guy population the day before the screening of that movie’s sequel, LONDON HAS FALLEN.

I was pleasantly surprised and thoroughly entertained with Butler (300, GODS OF EGYPT) single handedly saving the free world through a barrage of gunfire, head stabbings and glorious use of the F-bomb, including my favourite line of recent times “Let’s you and me play a game of Fuck Off…..you go first..” How that line didn’t win the film a screenwriting Oscar I’ll never know.

 

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After OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN had proven to be a surprise hit (Eds Note: REALLY????????), it was inevitable that a sequel would explode into existence and explode it has done. Set a few years after the events of the first film, LONDON HAS FALLEN begins with sharp suited arms dealer to the stars (ie bad guys), Aamir Barkawi (Alon Aboutboul, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES) attending his daughters lavish wedding in backwoods Pakistan. Being high up on the list of the Most Wanted men in the world, the Barkawi celebrations receive a wedding gift from the US military by way of a missile strike from a drone, wiping out the compound and seemingly removing a key bad guy from the face of the Earth.

Two years later, US President Asher (Aaron Eckhart, THE DARK KNIGHT) and his head of security Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) are tasked with planning a trip to London to attend the funeral of the recently deceased UK prime minister, to also be attended by the rest of the western world’s leaders. Although reluctant for the president to attend this potential ‘security clusterfuck’ as Banning so eloquently puts it, Asher insists that they must show support for their allies.

Upon reaching old Blighty and attending the funeral service, it doesn’t take long for the film to kick things up a notch and unleash complete bedlam as a massive terrorist attack wipes out most of the world’s leaders in a citywide, organized attack from terrorists disguised as local law enforcement and security. That cop over there by Big Ben? Terrorist. The paramedic next to Westminster Abbey? Terrorist. Hell, I was waiting for a London cabbie to bust out an AK-47 and start shooting people up, such is the mayhem that ensues when London begins to fall.

 

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Of course, the terrorists didn’t count on one thing, Mike Farkin’ Banning. He in turn whips into action, protecting the president and starting his kill tally in earnest, as fellow police/security/presidents/landmarks get blown to smithereens around them. Escaping the madness in a helicopter with fellow security expert Lynne Jacobs (Angela Bassett, STRANGE DAYS, AMERICAN HORROR STORY) they are ultimately taken out by an enemy missile, crash landing into Hyde Park, with Banning and President Asher the only survivors (of course). Alone, on foot and with swarms of terrorists converging on their location, it’s go time for Banning as he tries to get the President to safety.

Upon learning that the attack is being conducted by a very much alive Barkawi (SHOCK!) as retaliation for the explosive wedding gift his family received and with a mole working for the UK security forces, Banning has no one to trust and therefore proceeds to shoot everyone first and worry about questioning them later, all while ripping out some choice uses of the F-bomb, including telling a terrorist to “Do yourself a favour and go back to Fuckheadistan,” seriously, these screenwriters must be having a whale of a time.

The action continues as Banning does the complete opposite of what he’s hired to do, dragging the President from one action set piece to another, seemingly trying to purposely get Asher killed in order to satiate his bloodlust, as if he is competing in the World Terrorist Bodycount Challenge. It’s safe to say, that in these two films, Banning is winning that Challenge as the bodies pile up, he single handedly reduces the world’s population by a good 2%.

 

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Needless to say, you know what you’re getting yourself in for when you go to a movie like LONDON HAS FALLEN, the story is paper thin, the ending a foregone conclusion but director Babak Najafi (BANSHEE) and the aforementioned screenwriters inject enough exciting action beats and genuinely funny one-liners to keep this light, brain dead and extremely entertaining for the films brisk running time.

After the truly awful GODS OF EGYPT, Butler is back on form reprising his role as the Secret Service agent that has made it through life thanks to ‘bourbon and bad decisions,’ delivering genuinely funny lines in his American/Scottish brogue and proving to be one of the biggest badasses on the planet. This is his niche and he’d do well to stick with it, especially as another sequel is pretty much guaranteed at this stage. I’d almost go out on a limb to say that his character is this generations John McClane. Probably not DIE HARD John McClane, more DIE HARD 2 John McClane.

Yes LONDON HAS FALLEN is dumb, yes it’s formulaic and yes we’ve seen it all before, but there’s enough here in the action and more importantly, with Butler and Eckhart to ensure you’ll have a blast seeing one man take on a city full of crazed terrorists. I’d be more than happy to see one of these films every few years for some dumb, B-grade action movie fun.

3 out of 5 clever uses of the word Fuck.

 

3 Pops

 

 

Kernel Blake is a part-time beard bandit, philanthropist, industrialist….bicyclist…photographer, world traveller, movie lover, a man of few words who enjoys the finer things in life, like reciting Snake Plissken quotes. And when all that fails, heads out to a racetrack to do skids. Can be found twatting @bcurrall80 and hipstergramming @bcurrall80

** All images courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor/publisher – credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.