The guy sitting next to me in the theater wearing the hunting hat kept pumping his fist at every headshot and said “hell yeah” at least three times, so that should be all you need to know about this film.
“London Has Fallen” is the sequel to the 2013 surprise semi-hit “Olympus Has Fallen.” If you’re saying, “oh, I liked that, Channing Tatum was a lot of fun,” you’re thinking of “White House Down,” the movie that shared the exact same plot but was half as good. “London Has Fallen” takes place in, well, London, and this time instead of the White House being attacked, it’s, well, London. Look, Gerard Butler kills people and Aaron Eckhart is the President while Morgan Freeman says Morgan Freeman things, that’s all you need to know. Babak Najafi replaces Antoine Fuqua as director.
I don’t think anyone really asked for a sequel to “Olympus Has Fallen” but it was a movie that benefitted from low expectations and coming out a month after the awful “Good Day to Die Hard.” What made “Olympus” so enjoyable was it was the 2013 “Die Hard” we didn’t get: one man in one building saying one-liners to bad guys, and it knew not to take itself too seriously. “London” goes for the “bigger must be better” route, and while it is in no way better it is still an enjoyable enough action sequel.
The things “London Has Fallen” does well is what is needs to do well, and that is give audiences coherent action sequences. Unlike “Good Day to Die Hard” or “Taken 3,” the action is clear and steady, with no quick cuts or shaky cam. There is even a fun little two minute shootout that is all one take (because I guess that’s a thing for every movie to have now).
Butler and Eckhart have solid chemistry once again, giving each other sarcastic insults and do convey a sense of brotherhood. The rest of the cast is another story.
No one is particularly bad, but the film brought in Freeman, Melissa Leo, Robert Forster and Jackie Earle Haley to be in the Situation Room back in Washington. Combined they have nine Oscar nominations, and I think combined the three non-Freeman characters share nine lines. It could be argued they’re underused; it could also be argued why they’re all here at all.
After the initial city-wide attack, which is admittedly fun even though it relies on a lot of right place-right time coincidences, the film seemingly runs out of money. While all of the glorious devastation there looks convincing, the rest of the film has some very bad CGI; like no kidding, it looks like Syfy Channel stuff. It’s 2016; we no longer are wowed by special effects but bad ones can take you out of the movie, and that happens here.
Is “London Has Fallen” fun? In the moment, sure. Did it need to be made? Absolutely not. Should you see it? If you don’t care about plot, love movies that try and make you shout “America!” every 10 minutes and thought “Olympus Has Fallen” wasn’t British enough, then yeah, this the movie for you.
Critics Rating: 6/10