ReelBob: ‘London Has Fallen’
By Bob Bloom
“London Has Fallen” is an entertainingly bad movie.
It plays like a xenophobic propaganda film released by Donald Trump to scare people into voting for him.
See, this is what will happen if you don’t elect me president, Trump will warn.
In this sequel to “Olympus Has Fallen,” President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) is off to London for the funeral of the British prime minister who died unexpectedly.
Along for protection, of course, is his ace Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler).
As other world leaders arrive, a terrorist attack is launched on London, during which the heads of state of Canada, Germany, France, Japan and Italy are killed.
The terrorists also target Asher, whom they want to capture and execute to a worldwide Web audience.
“London Has Fallen” is a jingoistic and heinous movie that taps into today’s national fears about the threats from Middle Eastern terrorists.
The movie is very cartoonish as Butler’s Banning single-handedly takes out dozens of bad guys.
The plot is preposterous as it seems literally hundreds — if not thousands — of terrorists have infiltrated London’s various law-enforcement agencies. Of course, we’re not surprised that a mole inside the British government has been bribed and is aiding the villains.
The film is very formulaic, following well-worn guidelines, so nothing that happens takes the audience by surprise or catches them off-guard.
The dialogue is just as corny. As the head of the Secret Service, played by Angela Bassett, is dying, she uses her last breaths to tell Banning, whose wife is expecting, to “stay alive; you gotta’ see your kid.” She then adds just before dying, “Make these fuckers pay!”
The movie is filled with bromides, most uttered by Morgan Freeman as the vice president who is in Washington, D.C., with other officials helplessly watching the carnage in London.
Director Babak Najafi keeps his demolition team busy blowing up many familiar London landmarks, including Westminster Abbey, and ensuring that the dozens of blood packs explode correctly. This is a movie with a high body count.
But in the present conditions in the United States, when a major presidential candidate rails against the threat posed by foreigners, “London Has Fallen” seems cynical and exploitive.
It doesn’t help that the majority of good guys are white and that the overwhelming cadre of terrorists are persons of color.
“London Has Fallen” should not — make that cannot — be taken seriously. It is a live-action cartoon simply meant to reassure audiences that no matter how outnumbered or outmanned, the United States always wins — especially if the script is on its side.
Bloom is a member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association. His reviews appear at ReelBob (reelbob.com) and The Film Yap (filmyap.com). He also reviews Blu-rays and DVDs. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ReelBobBloom. Other reviews by Bloom can be found at Rottentomatoes: www.rottentomatoes.com.
LONDON HAS FALLEN
1½ stars out of 4
(R), graphic violence, language