LONDON HAS FALLEN
Two years after the events in Olympus Has Fallen (2013), Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) and his wife Leah (Radha Mitchell), eagerly await the imminent arrival of their first child. When the British Prime Minster dies unexpectedly, Banning knows it is his duty to prep with Secret Service Director Lynne Jacobs (Angela Bassett) for them to accompany the US President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) to the state funeral at St Paul's Cathedral in London. With every major world leader set to attend, the funeral should be the most protected event on Earth. Yet within moments of arriving, heads of government are assassinated and London landmarks are attacked. Feared arms dealer Aamir Barkawi (Alon Moni Aboutboul) is orchestrating a furious attack in revenge for the drone killing of wedding guests and his daughter at her wedding in Lahore, Pakistan, two years earlier.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
This is an altogether better film than its predecessor, Olympus Has Fallen (2013), albeit it's the same template, the good guys are still good guys through and through, the bad guys are always bad guys through and through, and the political context is also black and white. The octopus-like arms dealer Aamir Barkawi (Alon Moni Aboutboul) is the baddie seeking "profound" revenge for a drone attack that killed most of his family. Simple premise. And he has been planning it for two years, infiltrating the heart of the London security institution, MI5.
In that respect, it could be a James Bond film or a Jason Bourne film, the difference being the character of our hero - Mike Banning, played with his bravado brogue by Gerard Butler. It may well have been Jason Statham ... or any other action hero who can take on a small army of baddies with a knife, a gun and his martial arts. No disrespect to Butler intended.
The generic elements are familiar: the baddie is powerful and merciless. He has a ready made pseudo-moral reason for his actions, and his foot soldiers die by the dozen while he himself remains in a safe place. Mike Banning is a resourceful Secret Service Agent guarding President Ben Asher (Aaron Eckhart) - as he did two years before.
All this adds up to predictable fare, but it's well done as an action film and certainly well edited, to make it coherent and edgy. The good guys also have a sense of humour, as do the writers. An unlikely line of dialogue - "You're f***ed" gets an LOL reaction, not because the line itself is funny but the context in which it is delivered. And even the context isn't funny. That's humour for you.
The cinematography is terrific while the cast makes a strong contribution to authenticate the action and the drama, and none of the supports are treated as caricatures.
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LONDON HAS FALLEN (MA15+)
CAST: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Radha Mitchell, Angela Bassett, Robert Forster, Melissa Leo,
PRODUCER: Gerard Butler, Mark Gill, Danny Lerner, Alan Siegel, Les Weldon
DIRECTOR: Babak Najafi
SCRIPT: Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt, Christian Gudegast, Chad St. John
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Ed Wild
EDITOR: Michael J. Duthie, Paul Martin Smith
MUSIC: Trevor Morris
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Joel Collins
RUNNING TIME: 98 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 17, 2016