Hot Take: Our guess is there will be a lot of common descriptions of London Has Fallen amongst critics: Unnecessary, cliché, bloodthirsty, callous, predictable, simplistic, xenophobic, jingoistic. At MHT, we think we have a better description: Shitty!
It looks like 2016 will be the year of the unnecessary sequel. London Has Fallen joins Ride Along 2 and Zoolander 2 in the category of “Who thought this was a good idea?” To be fair, no one should have expected more from this sequel to the 2013 hit Olympus Has Fallen. Unlike Whiskey Tango Foxtrot which totally misrepresented itself in trailers, London Has Fallen led with the tagline, “Shit’s about to get stabby” in one TV spot.
WARNING: SPOILER ALERT! If you can’t figure out what happens in this movie and are surprised by anything written from this point on, you might want to see more movies but we do have an obligation to tell you key plot points will be given away if you continue to read about how shitty London Has Fallen is.
London Has Fallen opens with a drone bombing of the house of known terrorist arms supplier Aamir Barkawi (Alon Aboutboul) on the day of his daughter’s wedding. Surely, someone died but we’re going to guess it wasn’t Barkawi. Quickly, we flash forward two years to top Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) and President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) out for a jog. We then find out Banning and his wife are expecting and Mike is about to get a week off from protecting the President. We see Banning mulling over a resignation letter to which one can only conclude that after a few years of absolutely nothing happening to the President that handcuffed Banning’s inner rage and violent tendencies, he’s thinking of moving on to join a militia or drive for Uber and go on a mindless killing spree.
Banning’s time off is (of course!) cut short because the British Prime Minister had “unexpectedly” died and the President has to join all of the other world leaders in London for a funeral. The funeral is described as the most secured event in world history as 40 world leaders are there and all of their security details. Apparently, Barkawi was able to convince half of London to become members of his terrorist/revenge scheme as all hell breaks loose with shit blowing up and people getting shot. Even some members of the Royal Guard are in on the shooting spree as most of the expendable world leaders are wiped out with the exception of the ‘Muerican President who escapes.
The action of London Has Fallen is a serious shit show. As Banning, the President and the head of the Secret Service (Angela Bassett) flee, their vehicle is obviously bulletproof. Apparently, bulletproof doesn’t mean bodyproof as a few decisions to take out a few of the terrorists on motorcycles leads to at least two of them flying through one of the vehicle’s windows. (Nice job taking out the bad guy… too bad this makes you vulnerable to being shot, Mike!) This does give Mike the chance to throw out a few unmemorable one liners to one of the guy who doesn’t quite die when he flies through one of the windows.
Once they narrowly escape by auto with only one casualty (the driver was shot because even bulletproof glass can only take on so many bullets before it gives up), the remaining trio gets to the chopper. The convoy of choppers is bombarded with stinger missiles and the trio of choppers drops to two and eventually, the other expendable chopper sacrifices itself. Apparently, the sacrifice was for nothing as the President’s chopper takes on a missile and they must crash land in the middle of a park in London. Banning and the President survive (to the point where they are running very shortly after this crash) but the director of the Secret Service dies. Not before she gets out one last one liner, too. “Make those fuckers pay!”
Now, we’re on foot. Of course, Mike has a friend in London that can help (because maybe they met at a national security convention?) and Mike knows where in London this is even though they are without any actual technology to help them find it. Mike also knows they’ll have a visual on the crash and somehow gets a message to the Vice President (Morgan Freeman) of where they are headed.
Oh, and Barkawi contacts the Vice President and reveals this was all revenge. Oh, and that unexpected death of the Prime Minister was an ASSASSINATION! Yup, he was poisoned.
Mike kills more people and dishes out one liners. He takes pot shotsWe at the President and throughout it all finds the love and passion he has for his job again thanks to getting to pile up an incredible body count.
Eventually, Banning loses the President to the terrorists but, at this point, you have to think he did it because he likes the challenge. For some unknown reason, he knows the terrorists plan to kill the President live on the Internet at 8pm. I think they told us how he knew but, at this point, who is really paying attention? Banning finds their hiding spot and begins the extraction. After surviving an onslaught of gunfire, a grenade and an explosion of his own doing in which Banning and the then rescued President must outrun a fireball, Banning throws out a few more one liners before returning to the U.S..
In the end, we see Banning delete that nagging resignation letter as his passion for blowing shit up and killing non-Americans was restored by the decimation of London in an effort to exact revenge on the President. The bad guy gets it, too, with another drone strike. This time they make sure to mention there was care given to not kill any civilians. Although didn’t Barkawi already survive one drone strike? What’s keeping him from surviving another one? Oh, shit! Not another one, please!
“Spoiler Free” Pros
The acting in London Has Fallen is so bad, Butler looks like a master thespian. He’s the only one that appears to be having any fun and eats up and spits out every scene he’s in. He’s the best part of a very awful movie.
“Spoiler Free” Cons
- The Action
Director Babak Najafi makes Michael Bay films look Oscar-worthy from the technical side of things. The editing and cinematography are laughable. There are scenes that look like they are from a parody of these types of action films. The only thing is, this one takes itself serious.
- When You Imitate Die Hard, You Should Not Imitate A Good Day to Die Hard
It took five movies for the Die Hard franchise to deliver something as bad as London Has Fallen. Let’s hope the Banning franchise doesn’t make it that far.
This is the question you’ll be asking yourself over and over again. Why were so many terrorists able to ambush London? Why is Banning the only person who can’t get shot? Why is it when he does get grazed with a bullet it has absolutely zero physical effect on him? Why didn’t the screenwriter just make it a surprise Barkawi survived the drone bombing two years earlier? Why does the Vice President give the ‘Muerica speech at the end of the movie? Why did I spend money on a ticket to see this shitty movie?