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London has Fallen – Review

London has Fallen

Young, gun and full of dumb. ‘ has Fallen’ is an action sequel that throws everything it can at the screen, but the story is so amazingly stupid it should be a capital offence says John Mosby…

When the British Prime Minister suddenly dies after what was expected to be routine surgery, a funeral is arranged that will be attended by many dignitaries and heads of state. It will be a security nightmare but MI6 will do its best to work with the competing needs of each country’s own security details. The US President Benjamin Asher(Aaron Ekhart) flies to the UK with his erstwhile and head-of-security Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) the man who took on a taskforce aiming to subdue the White House many months before (as seen in Olympus has Fallen). Banning is on the verge of making the decision to retire, wanting to prioritise his impending fatherhood so this will be his last job.

However it soon become clear that the event has been a carefully designed opportunity for terrorists to inflict massive casualties and win a huge victory in a PR war against the West. In a matter of minutes, many guests are separately killed on route to the ceremony and Mike only just manages to save the President as London landmarks are blown apart. Now they are in the heart of a capital under siege by an enemy force that won’t hesitate to take any measure to find them. And if they do – the President will die a horrific death streamed across the world.

London has Fallen

London has Fallen… and it can’t get up again.

If it wasn’t for the probable size of the wage-packets involved, one would have to feel sorry for , rapidly becoming the go-to guy for action that are a step above straight-to-DVD, but several steps below making any quality impact at the multiplex. Even from the first glimpse of its trailer, last month’s Gods of Egypt had all the earmarks of a dud and duly delivered an underwhelming overkill of  special-effects that spent far too much time admiring itself in the pixelated mirror to actually bother with anything other than a clash of tin-pot titans. Despite possessing the physicality needed and proving perfectly charismatic enough in interviews, Butler (or his agent) seems to have the uncanny ability to seek, locate and destroy the most awkward and ill-judged action outings. London has Fallen may yet be the benchmark for that misdirection.

From the ludicrously spotless Ikea kitchen in Banning’s home to the London streets devoid of anyone but evil ninja-trained commandos, it all feels like a generically sterile pulp-fiction designed for the big-screen by a committee on road-rage steroids.Every element in this dire demolition derby is dialled up to eleven but without any sense of the urgently-needed irony with which you can suspend a moment of disbelief. London has Fallen starts off as harmless formulaic testosterone and descends into a ‘Grand Britannia Theft Auto‘ and ‘God Bless America‘ stance of ever more violent and ludicrous proportions – with the status-quo seeing Banning’s tactics become shooting at every police-officer he sees, simply presuming they’re the enemy – and given the kind of endlessly supplied terrorist cannon-fodder rarely seen outside of an old 007 movie, usually being conveniently right. Equally the knuckle-head script merely degenerates into grunts, cliches, threats and racial epithets… with Banning suggesting at one point that the enemy ‘Pack up their sh*t and head back to F*ckheaditsan…‘ while suffocating a terrorist and simultaneously and stupidly confirming the location of the US President to the enemy. Way to go, Sherlock

London has Fallen

The White House staff look on in horror. Possibly at the script…

Morgan Freeman, Colin Salmon and Angela Bassett get some contractual lines to read but the likes of other usually-impressive performers such as Jackie Earle Haley, Robert Forster and Melissa Leo can barely have had a collective hour’s work on set. You will probably not even remember they were there. Even the jokes, perhaps originally imagined with a Schwarzenegger or Stallone delivery in mind, fall flat – Banning’s wife (an equally thankless role for Radha Mitchell) moans that her husband has literally put up six close-circuit cameras in their nursery-to-be and he negotiates it down to one as long as he can include a kevlar mattress. Ho ho ho. The dialogue throughout continues to be cringe-worthy, the action almost random and the internal logic inconsistent. When the President asks him what he’s made of, Banning’s reply is ‘Bourbon and poor choices….‘ a line that might work for but seems like scripted machismo from anyone else.

The attack on London place-checks every major landmark in the same way Fast and Furious 6 needed iconic buildings to speed past and then disappear. Narrative logic would have said that terrorists with such an effective arsenal should surely have waited until all the guests were in the same place, but that would likely have halved the CGI-team needed and who are hit and miss in delivering a convincing day of reckoning for the capital. Yes, the manic vehicular stunt-work is as impressively choreographed as it is unlikely situated, the narrow streets of London at rush-hour providing a back-drop to the kind of adrenaline-pumping drive-by shooting races that have long since been a staple for action adventures in American-set features. The stunt-teams involved should be applauded. The script-team, on the other hand, remain off-target.

Not even of a beer-and-pizza standard, this is ultimately a feature that is lazy, bloated and a waste of ninety minutes – akin to 2013’s equally banal misfire A Good Day to Die Hard that trashed Moscow.

It’s surely clear click-bait and front-runner for next year’s Razzies and if this IS the state of action movies, then they’ve …Fallen way too far to be anything but disposable and best-forgotten video-game fodder.


London has Fallen(15) is released by and is out now. 

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