In Babak Najafi’s London Has Fallen, the action takes a trip across the pond from the White House to the City of London as this adrenaline fuelled sequel to Olympus Has Fallen brings Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart face to face with a mass act of terrorism once again. With an event in the British capital that requires all major leaders of the Western world to attend, a terrorist attack is able to leave London injured and down on the ground—forcing the President of the United States and his trusty bodyguard Mike Banning onto a two-man crusade against, what appears to be, the world.
Scenes of fiery explosions, ferocious fist fights and nail-biting shootouts bring back the feel of a classic Hollywood action film. The film has been criticised in regards to the use of poor special effects. But when wanting to show London’s greatest landmarks being blown to smithereens, how realistic can you make it look? It gives off this old-school action effect—a Die Hard notion with a hint of the aesthetics from The Expendables—minus the comedy. London Has Fallen gives you the chase scenes that drive an action film and unlike its prequel, allows the President and Mike to work together as a team, leaving viewers to turn to social media to refer to the pair as an onscreen ‘bromance’.
Some of the original cast members from Olympus Has Fallen come back for more in the next round of the action. Morgan Freeman returns to his role as the Vice-President to watch the action unfold from the safety of the White House and uses his famously known ‘God-like’ voice to fiend the attackers off from afar. Angela Bassett reprises her role as the Director of the United States Secret Service, who joins both the President and Banning on their journey across the Atlantic and feels the heat of the attack personally to say the least, claiming that “it’s one thing to plan for this… it’s another thing to live through it.” Both provide plausible supporting roles in the film and by choosing to keep several of the same actors for this sequel, a somewhat saga is created.
Aaron Eckhart’s performance is stunted due to the helpless characterisation of the President and likewise, Gerard Butler provides an admirable performance as Mike Banning as much as the narrative and genre of the film allows him to. There were moments of Butler’s performance within London has Fallen that reminded me of his performance during his role as Clyde Shelton in F. Gary Gray’s Law Abiding Citizen. It is these moments of Mike’s pure anger and hatred that are portrayed by Butler in London as Fallen that stem from certain catalysts. The film touches on some controversial matters as the plot revolves around the Western world being attacked by the Middle East—a topic relevant in current affairs at the moment. In a scene which shows Mike Banning in a head to head with one of the leading attackers, Gerard Butler’s character refers to the home country of the terrorists’ as ‘Fuckheadistan’, which leads me to question what sort of message this film emits to its audience members. The West is presented as the hero and the East as the enemy. In a highly anticipated Hollywood blockbuster, is this really what needs to be presented given the current circumstances of global politics?
If you like the non-realistic stereotypical cheesy action film, then London Has Fallen may be just for you. But if you are into an action film with a little bit more of a thrilling and stimulating drama to the narrative, then you may need skip the trip to the cinema to see this one. The White House has fallen and the City of London has fallen but is there really any need for anywhere else to take the fall?