London Has Fallen (2016)
Directed by Babak Najafi
“London Has Fallen” is to “Olympus Has Fallen” what “The Purge: Anarchy” was to “The Purge” insomuch as both sequels are larger in scope, generally faster paced, and much better than the originals. Not to mention, both sequels have grown men running for their lives from creeps riding motorbikes.
The unexpected death of Great Britain’s prime minister leads U.S. President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) and Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) to London for a state funeral to be attended by heads of state from around the globe. But Aamir Barkawi (Alon Aboutboul)—a most wanted arms dealer who survived an American air attack two years prior that killed his daughter and other family members—will use this convergence of world powers to carry out his plot to kill the President and get his just revenge.
As you might expect, a plot this revenge-driven is bound to have some firepower. When Eckhart and Butler are kicking ass, these actors are squarely in their element. When they have to slow down and say something serious, though…well, they’re no thespians. Thankfully for us, there’s a lot of ass-kicking. One tracking sequence in particular, which sees the deaths of about a hundred baddies, reminds me of my favorite level in GoldenEye 007 on N64. If you never played it and don’t understand what I mean, I mean it’s freaking awesome. Unfortunately, they must have spent too much of their budget on Morgan Freeman (as VP Allan Trumbull) to fine-tune the laughably bad CGI they use on certain explosions and other larger effects. It’s enough to take you out of the movie for a second. But generally, they stick with shootouts and more intimate killings. Thanks for that.
Of course, with heightened action comes heightened dialogue…more specifically, absurd one-liners that neither make me laugh nor make us relate to the situation. It’s just bad writing, from a team of four who clearly needed to add a one or two more. Like maybe their Iranian-born director, Babak Najafi, who might have asked them not to tinge their script with Islamophobic rhetoric like “Go back to Fuck-off-istan or wherever you came from.” Nice.
All in all, even the worst dialogue (and this is almost that) can’t stop you from enjoying the thrills of an exhilarating rescue mission and shootouts that are so perfectly choreographed you can’t help but laugh giddily. Maybe that’s just me. “London Has Fallen” learned from its predecessor and lets the guns do the talking. Gotta like that.