Movie Review : London Has Fallen

When your title is a dead giveaway of your entire movie plot, you had better have a hell of a lot more going for it by way of great acting, an I-didn’t-see-that-coming plot twist and adrenaline-pumping action sequences than just your usual action movie fare.

In 2013, Olympus Has Fallen suffered the misfortune of opening about the same time as another similarly themed movie (White House Down). Whilst OHF fared better than WHD no thanks to the miscasting and overacting of Jamie Foxx as president, it did nothing to rescue the once promising career of Gerald Butler.

Three years later, it feels almost like deja vu with LHF suffering the misfortune of opening so soon after another Gerald Butler project (Gods of Egypt ) bombed spectacularly at the box office. To be fair though, Gods of Egypt wasn’t such a bad movie.

Unlike OHF, LHF’s opening scene didn’t pack enough oomph to whet one’s appetite for more. Whilst the former’s death of the first lady promised more, the latter’s wedding drone bombing barely raised expectations of anything more than predictable reprisals from the usual suspects.

The gathering of world leaders in London for the funeral of the British Prime Minister seems just as hurried as the attack on them that the lack of buildup seemed to detract rather than add to the suspense of the movie.

The obvious low-tech CGI-destruction of London’s landmarks screamed low budget. One review of OHF observed that Morgan Freeman could have phoned in his entire scenes as Speaker of Congress for all the good his presence did to advance the movie. In LHF, he could very well have phoned in his performance as Vice President too.

Between preparing for daddy duties and saving President Asher’s ass again, Gerald Butler’s Mike Banning comes across as too tired to take on the job of carrying on his shoulder a floundering franchise. His quip to a bad guy to head back to “fuckheadistan” draws more subtle hint at the xenophobia that has underscored the Republican presidential campaigns in America than intended laughter.

The absence of an enigmatic villain also detracts from the overall success of LHF. The backstory on the villain like everything else in the movie seemed hurried and the audience is denied the opportunity of developing a love or hate relationship with him. He’s almost nondescript.

The scene where President Asher is tortured before a live global audience beggars belief. You want to live stream your torture of the captured American president to score a political point and you let him recite his oath of office whilst torturing him? Come fucking on! And the several cheesy lines were such a put off.

In an election year where the entire Republican roster of presidential hopefuls reinforces the seeming downfall of America, LHF reinforces the dearth of good movies in Hollywood (save for the releases from the Marvel Cinematic Universe). I just hope Mike Banning deleting his resignation letter in the final scene is not a hint at another sequel. It shouldn’t take high-tech intelligence to discern that this almost-franchise has fallen.