London Has Fallen
dir Babak Najafi
scr Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt, Christian Gudegast, Chad St John
prd Gerard Butler, Mark Gill, Danny Lerner, Alan Siegel, Les Weldon
with Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Waleed Zuaiter, Alon Aboutboul, Radha Mitchell, Charlotte Riley, Colin Salmon, Jackie Earle Haley, Robert Forster, Melissa Leo
release US/UK 4.Mar.16
16/UK Millennium 1h39
London Has Fallen
Going Underground: Butler and Eckhardt

freeman bassett mitchell
See also:
Olympus Has Fallen (2013)
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London Has Fallen The over-serious but unintentionally hilarious 2013 action thriller Olympus Has Fallen has somehow spawned an even more ludicrous sequel. You'd think that with four screenwriters, someone might have commented that nothing about the plot hangs together. And it's so lazily assembled that the movie wastes every opportunity it might have had.

After the British prime minister dies of a heart attack, security services scramble to make the funeral safe for world leaders. American Secret Service director Lynne (Bassett) flies into London with President Asher (Eckhart) and his personal protector Mike (Butler). And just before the funeral, a supremely orchestrated attack hits the city. Five heads of state are killed, while Asher and Mike go on the run, barely staying ahead of the armies of thugs deployed by super-terrorist Aamir (Aboutboul) and his son Kamran (Zuaiter). Meanwhile in Washington, Vice President Trumbull (Freeman) leads the counter-attack.

While idiotic movies can sometimes be amusing, this one is mainly annoying. Despite comments about how London's major landmarks have been destroyed, the damage is limited to one of Westminster Abbey's towers. So even the premise is guilty of hyperbole. Meanwhile, characters charge around shouting macho one-liners with giggle-inducing abandon. But it's just too brutally violent to laugh at. Mike horrifically dispatches most victims with a massive knife; Trumbull is just an angry bully.

Butler dives into the role as if he's the saviour of humanity, engaging in matey banter with Mr President but straining so hard to be manly that we wonder what he's trying to hide. The fact that his wife (Mitchell) is pregnant back home is just one more cheap device. Eckhart gets into the action with believable reluctance, but Bassett is wasted. There are a slew of side characters for random plot reasons, while great actors like Haley, Forster and Leo are only required to look panicky.

Iranian-born director Najafi gives the film a vague sense of global awareness, but can't resist indulging in the usual Hollywood stereotypes, pandering to the Taken crowd that thinks this kind of violent chaos always awaits US citizens if they dare to leave North America. The film's only message seems to be to "trust no one!" So the audience's only correct reaction is appalled laughter at the fake heroics and pathologically terrible script.

cert 15 themes, language, violence 1.Mar.16

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