Gerard Butler returns as Mike Banning in this sequel to Olympus Has Fallen, the ridiculous but utterly enjoyable action blockbuster of 2013. After the British Prime Minister dies unexpectedly, the world’s leaders are summoned at short notice to London to pay their respects at his funeral. This is the perfect opportunity for a terrorist faction to incite war by taking out every single head of state, along with all of the most recognisable landmarks in the capital. Thankfully Banning and the President (Aaron Eckhart) are still alive and go on a two-man mission to save the free world.
Right off the bat, it has to be said that this is a ludicrous movie full of corny dialogue and ridiculous circumstance. But sometimes you need a big, silly action movie and this willingly fits the bill. It’s not as enjoyable as the original but there’s still plenty to like here, not least Gerard Butler smashing bad guys faces in. It’s great to see him leading the line once again. Aaron Eckhart also does well but it’s a shame to see the direction his career has gone since hitting such a meteoric high with The Dark Knight in 2008.
The action in the movie is solid and it’s great to see London used as the focal point of a big-budget film. Not since The Sweeney and Welcome to the Punch has the capital been used so well. You name it and every major attraction gets the terrorist treatment. Seeing this brought back memories of Independence Day and the cool factor that had when it decided to tear apart familiar places.
The worst aspect is the visual effects. It occasionally feels like they’ve been rendered on Microsoft Paint. Some are laughable, some are just odd – could they really not have just landed a helicopter in Somerset House? It’s also fun to see the likes of Morgan Freeman and Melissa Leo realise how hammy their lines are – but credit to both, they still deliver them with a straight face and take it all seriously.
The villains may be clichéd but that hasn’t stopped countless other films from using the same trope. You can question so many aspects of this story but that’s not really the point. If it was, you’d struggle to conceive how literally thousands of enemy personnel could all infiltrate the capital at the same time. The plot moves along as expected but the ‘shock’ reveal will shock no-one who’s ever seen an action-thriller before.
London Has Fallen is big, brash and bucket-loads of fun but cynics need not apply. Revel in its absurdity and you’ll enjoy the ride a lot more. Let’s hope Butler returns for more in this series – it might be silly but it’s amusing.
Cast: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman Director: Babak Najafi Writer: Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt, Christian Gudegast, Chad St. John Released By: Lionsgate Certificate: 15 Duration: 99 mins Release Date: 4th March 2016