Three years following the release of Olympus Has Fallen where former secret service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) stormed the White House to rescue the President of the United States (Aaron Eckhart), comes the sequel London Has Fallen. This time round after the British Prime Minister dies of a sudden heart attack, the leaders of the Western world converge on London to attend a state funeral. However unbeknownst to all, the funeral has been targeted by terrorists hell bent on eliminating the political figures in attendance, and caught in the firing line are President Benjamin Asher and Secret Service Agent Mike Banning.
As well as a change in setting, Iranian director Babak Najafi (Easy Money II) takes over the directional duties from Antoine Fuqua, but with the original cast returning. Upping the emotional stakes Mike Banning is expecting his child with his wife Leah (Rahda Mitchell) and also pondering retirement. After Banning and President Asher find themselves in the crosshairs of the terrorist attack, which has left major monuments in ruins and world leaders dead, they must find a way out of London to safety. Hindering their progress are terrorists disguised as emergency service personnel and citizens, looking to make an example out of President Asher by executing him live on the internet.
To put it bluntly, for better and for worse, London Has Fallen plays like a semi serious, live action version of Team America: World Police. With a plethora of foreign terrorists disguised as emergency services personnel running amok in London, and the British services comprised, it’s up to Merica! to save the day. And I’ll be perfectly honest I thoroughly enjoyed it’s gung-ho balls to the wall nature. It’s essentially Olympus Has Fallen ramped up to 11, brashly showing every card in it’s hand, not giving a single damn what your going to think of it. There’s more action, more fast quips, and more of Mike Banning stabbing people in brutal ways. With plenty crowd pleasing dialogue that acts as a raised middle finger to the act of terrorism, if the general public made a film about defying terrorism then this would be it.
Your enjoyment of this film will very much be dictated by strong suspension of disbelief, and your lenience to offensive language and portrayal of terrorism. The attack that starts the action off is described as orchestrated in the film, but is rather chaotic in organisation, shit just blows up left, right and centre. Then seemingly every person in uniformed service appears to be a terrorist, which the film itself can’t decide whether they’re actually terrorists disguised, or corrupt workers. It doesn’t really matter at the end of the day because their just bullet fodder for Merica! to mow down. That being said, as chaotic as it is, the action scenes are directed with fine finesse, especially the sequence that involves a final attack on the terrorist HQ.
If you has fun with Olympus Has Fallen, and have an affinity for nutty explosive films that harken back to the golden era of Expendables action of the late 80’s and early 90’s then you’ll like this. At one point, after Banning slowly guts a terrorist to death so that his superiors can hear, President Asher asks “Was that really necessary?” which Banning responds to snappily “No”. That brief piece of dialogue was not only funny enjoyed by all in the cinema screen, but it also encapsulates the existence and escapades of the film, unnecessary bloodshed for maximum enjoyment. You could take the high road and claim that it’s an insensitive portrayal of a sensitive subject, but not every film involving terrorism needs to be like Zero Dark Thirty. You need to make light of dark subject matter sometimes.
London Has Fallen pulls no punches in it’s retaliation to terrorism, it’s dumb, fun, and mildly offensive, the key ingredients of any stupidly entertaining film.