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London Has Fallen Review


In 2013, Antoine Fuqua brought us Olympus Has Fallen, a fun, brutal 80’s throwback actioneer that at times felt like a dry run for his next project, The Equalizer. Fast forward three years, and we’re met with London Has Fallen, with Swedish director Babak Najafi (making his English language debut here) brought in to sub for Fuqua. In true sequel fashion, Najafi embraces the ‘bigger, more explosions’ approach as the action leaves the relatively tight quarters of the White House, and lets Gerard Butler’s Secret Service agent Mike Banning run around a destroyed London taking on terrorists who have struck at the funeral of the British Prime Minister, killing all of the world leaders, save U.S. President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart), who Banning must now ferry out British capital alive.

Reading the above synopsis, you know exactly what you are in for with London Has Fallen. It’s a generic, leave your brain at the door action movie, and ticks all the boxes it needs too. But the problem is it’s too generic. The narrative is so threadbare that it just serves to link set pieces together, and everything about it is copy and pasted from superior action movies, including the tried and trusted ’traitor in the heroes’ camp’ sub plot that is fumbled so badly, and will have you guessing the outcome form the opening frame. One major missed opportunity is the introduction of Charlotte Riely as Banning’s MI6 counterpart, the chance to give our hero an equal to share the set pieces with, but she is sidelined just as soon as she is introduced and London Has Fallen goes all ‘Fuck yeah, America!!!’ as Banning single handedly takes on all the bad guys, even telling a highly trained group of SAS soldiers to fall back as he tackles the enemy base by his lonesome. Sure, this is how the heroes of the era London Has Fallen is trying to emulate operated, but the Banning of Olympus Has Fallen at least had an arc and some meat to his character. Here, he’s just the typical infallible hero who does it better than anyone else. At least, Butler uses his trademark charm to leave Banning at the right side of likable.

Najaf does at least have a good handle on the action, with the opening attack on London (after some really obvious setting up which stripped it of all its tension) and a single take assault on an enemy compound catering nicely to the action junkies in the audience. Sadly, everything else falls to the wayside, with a wasted cast, Morgan Freeman and Jackie Earle Haley being the biggest casualties, and sub-par plot making a great case for London Has Fallen to have gone straight to DVD. If you have exhausted all other options, this might scratch that action itch. But that’s all it will do.


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The Movie Bit: London Has Fallen Review
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