Written by: Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt, Chad St. John, Christian Gudecast
Directed by: Babak Najafi
Starring: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman
Running time: 99 minutes
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President Ben Asher must attend a funeral in London, accompanied by his security detail only to discover that the funeral was staged by terrorists to wreak havoc in the city.
London Bridge is falling down
The year 2013 gave us two compelling escapades of U.S presidents being attacked in their very own backyards. One of them was Olympus Has Fallen. Ex-secret service turned presidential security Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) thrilled us all with a one-man show where he tore down the White House to save his president. This time around, he has to do the same thing in London.
London Has Fallen opens with scenes from roughly three years after the incident at the White house. Mike Banning is taken the next step towards a family life and is expecting a baby, whereas President Ben Asher (Aaron Eckhart) is running a successful second term in office. The U.S government receives information that the Prime Minister of England has been murdered and all the world leaders have been summoned to pay their final respects. Skeptical about the lack of planning going into this event, Banning places his early retirement plans on hold to accompany the president on his trip. Surely enough, upon arriving in London, everything does not go according to plan. The Westminster Abbey is blown to smithereens and leaders are executed one at a time. Due to Banning’s impromptu schedule making skills, terrorists aren’t able to predict Asher’s movements.
The terror squad this time are slightly more composed and organized as opposed to the Koreans from the original. Aamir Barkawi (Alon Amoutboul), an arms dealer from Pakistan, along with his family were victims of a drone strike from the US government approximately two years ago. Along with his son Kamran (Waleed Zuaiter), who is operating locally from London, they plan to exact revenge on the USA by kidnapping their president and telecasting his execution to the entire world. Rogue cops turn up, buildings start going down, and once again Banning finds himself trying to save his president.
The Najafi Abbey
Hollywood debutant Babak Najafi took over the project due to unavailability of Antoine Fuqua, who engagingly delivered the original. There was a sort of mindless amusement in watching Gerard Butler running around in the White House trying to save the day. But all that is negated with this effort, where original writers Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt were accompanied by two other stellar names from the industry. Despite their combined efforts, they failed to deliver anything original and the end result is an unimaginative slog.
Certain scenes were taken creatively, some even video game-like which did couple of favors to the delivery. But heavy dependence on miserable CGI backfired. The stunt sequences all started out with promise, but by the end of it, even the Avengers would be left scratching their heads. The implausibility of it all, coupled with disastrous location accuracy is a certain negative. But credit where it’s due, the music by Trevor Morris complimented the plot very well.
The biggest problem with this movie would seem to be the comic aspect, or lack of it. The quirky one-liners and the bro chemistry between Butler and Eckhart was a successful gamble in the original, but quite the opposite in this flick.
Cast has fallen
Gerard Butler (300, Gamer) is enjoyable as a lone warrior. His efforts reflect his hard work and passion for such projects. But because the writing failed him, the character Mike Banning would strike you as overtly clichéd. Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight, Thank You For Smoking) makes a fine president. He sticks to his basics and gives us a good performance.
Almost all the prominent faces from the original were called up for the sequel, but their jobs were limited to raised eyebrows and shocked moans. Morgan Freeman (Bruce Almighty, Shawshank Redemption) got a character promotion as Vice President Alan Trumbull. He plays his part excellently, but you end up wishing he too wasn’t limited to his chair.
The baddies in this film definitely deserve applause. Both Alon Aboutboul (The Dark Knight Rises, Body Of Lies) and Waleed Zuaiter (Omar, The Visitor) kept their composure and put in solid efforts. An interesting cameo presented itself in the form of Charlotte Riley (Edge Of Tomorrow, In The Heart Of The Sea). Her MI6 agent character was delightful.
All in All
One of two things will happen: either President Asher will realize that he needs a new security team, or the producers will realize they need new writers. Anyone who has seen the original, will go in expecting a repeat telecast albeit in another city. But even the ones with such minimal expectations will most likely leave disappointed.
Nevertheless, London Has Fallen is one of those flicks which you will forget the moment you step out of the cinema, but while you’re in it, you’ll munch away on your popcorn until you realize it’s over.
Watch it if you’re:
A fan of mindless action OR have time to kill.
B-Change Rating: 6/10
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