If you’ve seen Olympus Has Fallen, then you have a pretty good idea of what to expect from London Has Fallen – plus even more explosions.
We open on a sequence of events that lead to a drone attack on terrorist Aamir Barkawi (Alon Aboutboul, Legends) – then we cut to ‘two years later’ (or, the present) to find that the British Prime Minister has died, apparently of a heart attack. Forty world leaders – including U.S. President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart, Olympus Has Fallen, Thank You For Smoking).
We get a few minutes of Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) trying to decide whether to resign, and also talking about finishing the nursery with his very pregnant wife, Leah (Radha Mitchell, Pitch Black, Red Widow) – before he’s off to London with President Asher, Secret Service head, Lynn Jacobs (Angela Bassett, American Horror Story, ER) and the usual complement of other personnel.
Shortly after they arrive in London, things go pear shaped and simultaneous attacks take out five of the world leaders and level most of London’s main tourist attractions/historical sites.
Turns out that Barkawi survived that drone strike but it killed his daughter. He’s spent the last two years planning a cunning strike – that involves infiltrating all of London’s civil services (police, paramedics, fire departments, the Royal Guard and such) and planting bombs in numerous highly secure locations (like Westminster Abbey).
London Has Fallen is an efficient little action flick that puts Super Mike through his paces and lets the president come off as a badass – while playing off our fears of terrorist nastiness.
There a number of brilliant actors who took home a paycheck for this – Colin Salmon (head of New Scotland Yard), Charlotte Riley (top flight MI6 agent Jax), Morgan Freeman (now Vice-President Trumbull), Robert Forster (General Clegg), and Jackie Earle Haley (DC Mason) – with little to no heavy lifting required.
The VFX of the big explosions aren’t exactly amazing, but they execute their concept well enough to elicit a few gasps.
Overall, if all you’re looking for are f-bombs, nasty fight sequences and stuff blowing up real good, then you’ll be happy with London Has Fallen.
If you want more, this is probably not the movie you’re looking for.
Final Grade: C+
Photos courtesy of VVS/Focus Features