“The film has little to offer once the second act kicks in”

by Steve Pulaski

It’s been a good three years and the R-rated, action-packed Olympus Has Fallen has faded from most minds, even the consumers who saw the film such as myself. However, that’s not going to stop Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, and Morgan Freeman from returning to stop a band of heavily armed terrorists, who have blown every historic landmark in the British capital to smithereens, by instilling the insurmountable power of the red, white, and blue up their asses like they’re Red Foreman after a bad Fourth of July cookout.

This time, however, instead of America being under attack, London is the target for a series of numerous bombings and strategic attacks during the time a funeral for the British Prime Minister is underway. Both President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) and his top Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) are present during the time of the attack, just as they arrive to the Prime Minster’s funeral. A fury of gunfire and explosions occur, including a suspension bridge exploding, leaving five world leaders dead. All of this is the work of Aamir Barkawi (Alon Aboutboul), a terrorist with intent to bring the war to the places that start the wars; destroy the homes and communities of people who passively do the same to other places around the world without thinking twice.

London Has Fallen
Directed by
Babak Najafi
Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman
Release Date
4 March 2016
Steve’s Grade: D+

London Has Fallen, at the very least, manages to pack some gritty entertainment into its premise because it boasts an R-rating confidently, not at all worried or phase by the possibilities of not being a marketable picture. This is the same reason that “Olympus Has Fallen” was better than it could’ve been; when an action film owns an R-rating instead of a PG-13, not only does it open up the possibility for more dialog that’s realistic given the situations, but it also helps show a whirlwind more when it comes to the action sequences. “London Has Fallen,” as a result, turns its action sequences into some of the strongest I’ve seen since “Final Destination 5,” in terms of visual clarity and sheer intensity.

During the entire terrorist attack sequence, I was thoroughly enjoying the film as fairly basic but competent entertainment. Despite a strong opening, however, the film has little to offer once the second act kicks in, and by the time the third act goes for sentiment and a hard-hitting moral about how America’s involvement in near every foreign facet is the key to the country’s strengths, I not only stopped caring, but I tried to stop listening. While I won’t be one of the people to claim a New World Order agenda embedded within the screenplay of a new action film, I will be the one to claim that the personal politics, in addition to the lunacy between Butler and Eckhart throughout the whole film, work to take a simple, effective premise and effectively limit its potential by making it silly and overreaching.

London Has Fallen doesn’t need to be a political sermon, but it sure wants to be. It doesn’t need to be a story about a family man looking to turn in his badge for a safer, more comfortable life, but it sure wants to be. And, finally, it doesn’t need to be a carbon copy of its predecessor, but it can’t help but be. Even a slew of hard-hitting action sequences and beautifully rendered special effects cannot save the film from itself, and that is the biggest, most personal flaw of all.