‘London Has Fallen’ falls short


David Appleby/Grammercy Pictures/Focus Features via AP

This image released by Focus Features shows Aaron Eckhart, left, and Gerard Butler in a scene from Grammercy Pictures’, “London Has Fallen.”

Emmanuel Akinola, Staff Writer

‘London Has Fallen’ is an action thriller sequel to 2013’s ‘Olympus Has Fallen’. The plot involves a massive terrorist attack on the city and the efforts of one Secret Service agent to protect the President of the United States from being captured.

Gerald Butler reprises his role as the secret service agent Mike Banning, Aaron Eckhart returns as President Benjamin Asher, along with Angela Bassett as the director of Secret Service Lynne Jacobs, and Radha Mitchell as Leah Banning, Mike’s wife and nurse.

The film was the English-language directorial debut of Babak Najafi, who previously directed episodes of Banshee. The writers of the first film, Creighton Rothenburger & Katrin Benedikt, returned to write the story and screenplay with co-writers Christian Gudegast and Chad St. John.

Though the film was entertaining, the overall script and direction of the film was below standard.

The opening scenes and other parts of the film were poorly edited. The acting by Alon Moni Abouthoul playing the villain Aamir Barkawi and Waleed Zuaitar as Aamir’s son Kamran Barkawi were subpar.

Butler’s character, Banning, deals with being a father and deciding whether or not he should resign from duty. This subplot was trite and uninteresting, even when the film picks up mid-way. There’s also barely any character development in this film.

In the main plot, President Archer and other world leaders attend the funeral of the British minister. A full war breaks out and most of the world’s leaders are killed, which leads Archer and Banning to run.

In the first 30 minutes, the setup to the attack felt drawn-out and anticlimactic, especially with the numerous explosions and gore involved in the scenes. The stakes were raised after the initial attack when Archer and Banning are forced to fend for themselves when a missile shoots down their helicopter.

That served as a great reversal to the first film which had Banning securing the White House while the President was underground, in this film they are being hunted through the streets of London amid a blackout caused the terrorists.
There was great emotional impact in the film when a major character died in the midst of the attacks. The film became more interesting when Banning and Archer rendezvous to a MI6 safe house where they meet British agent Jacqueline Marshall portrayed by Charlotte Riley.

The frequent jokes and cliche one-liners by Banning fell flat at times and reminded me too much of the ‘Die Hard’ films or even James Bond films. The side-plot with the British police officers responding to the attack was intriguing, but never fleshed out.

The same applies to Jacqueline’s mission to find the mole or insider that helped the terrorists carry out their plans. The film never added any depth to Barkawi and his son. Their motivation was understandable, but there was hardly any effort on the filmmaker’s part to flesh out these characters.

The music by Trevor Morris had un-impactful, generic political themes. The cinematography by Ed Wild was standard, but the action sequences throughout the film were shot well.

The ending action sequence was a tour-de-force; the tracking shots really did well in bringing the audience to experience the all-out war between Banning and British special forces attacking Barkawi’s men at his safe house.

For the average movie-goer who wants to turn their brain off and enjoy the ride, this is the movie for you. For anyone looking for substance to the story, you’re out of luck. In my opinion, the first film was superior and had more depth.

London Has Fallen is now in theaters, having premiered on March 4. The film has a runtime of 99 minutes, but felt like a 4-hour film. There’s only so much you can handle from a graphic violent action-extravaganza that can numb you out from all the blandness in its story.