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Review: London Has Fallen

London Has Fallen
03.03.2016
6 10

PLOT: After a terrorist attack on London ends with most of the leaders of the Western world dead, it's up to Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) to keep the U.S president alive until an extraction team can reach them.

REVIEW: OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN was one of the most unlikely sleeper hits in recent memory. A few years ago, Gerard Butler's career seemed to be on the down-slide, and with the mega-budget, similarly-themed WHITE HOUSE DOWN due in theaters a few months later, no one thought OLYMPUS would do much business. Happily for hardcore action fans, director Antoine Fuqua pulled-off a really fun, DIE HARD-style, hardcore action thriller that raked in the bucks and left WHITE HOUSE DOWN in the dust.

Flash-forward three years and the only thing that's surprising about LONDON HAS FALLEN is that it took this long for Millennium Films to put together a sequel. Now that Fuqua's strictly A-list, there’s a new director at the helm, Babak Najafi, who's best known for directing the sequel to the Swedish hit EASY MONEY (aka SNABBA CASH).

As a result, LONDON HAS FALLEN lacks the big-screen, cinematic appeal of the first film, coming off more like an ultra-violent, epic episode of 24. While OLYMPUS was goofy, Fuqua really knew how to make the film seem big despite a modest budget. While this one apparently cost much more, you'd never know it were it not for the abundance of CGI during the big attack on London scene that sets the plot in motion.

Running a scant ninety-nine minutes, this really does feel like a quickie sequel, right down to the way some of the first film's cast-members are shoe-horned into tiny roles. Melissa Leo, who had a few really powerful scenes in the first film (her torture scene was harrowing) has only a handful of lines. The same goes for Jackie Earle Haley, while Robert Forster is essentially an extra. Even Morgan Freeman seems to have shot his scenes in about a day. He only interacts with Butler once, and it's clear they weren't in the same place, with the scene being clumsily executed with body doubles and one-shots.

Despite all this, I still kinda liked LONDON HAS FALLEN. While the first half-hour is pretty dire, with the establishing shots of the various world leaders ludicrously playing up every stereotype (the Canadian P.M is a nice guy, the French president doesn't want to leave his yacht, the Italian P.M is chasing girls, etc), once the action kicks-in the movie is worth watching for action fans. Gerard Butler may have embarrassed himself somewhat in GODS OF EGYPT, but he's in fine form here. He's a terrific action hero, and while his one liners are really weak (including the wince-inducing “go back to F**khead-istan”) he looks like he's having the time of his life. Mike Banning is a great character for him who could easily sustain a franchise.

What's even better is that the action stays more along the lines of the first film in that it's a solid mix of gunfights, hand-to-hand and knife-play. It's shot in a clear, easy to make-out way with the glorious R-rating meaning nothing is toned down. Butler even gives the character a hint of sadism, with even Aaron Eckhart's tough-guy president wincing when Banning slowly suffocates one baddie, and brutally tortures another for no real reason. The body count is massive, with Butler sending more bad-guys to their maker than any action hero vacationing in Britain since DEATH WISH 3 (OK – that wasn't set in London but it was clearly shot there).

While Najafi doesn't have Fuqua's chops, there are some well-crafted scenes, including two tracking shots towards the end that are quite cool, even if this device is starting to become a cliché. The screenplay also leaves much to be desired, with it simply a skeleton the producers can hang action scenes on. The bad guys aren't memorable at all, with the main ring-leader being an arms dealer upset because a drone strike launched by the president killed his daughter. As is the first one, LONDON HAS FALLEN is jingoistic to the extreme, with Banning even lecturing a bad guy on the might of America before doing him in. The British are mostly sidelined, with Scotland Yard and MI5 being depicted as full of double-agents, with only Charlotte Riley's deep-cover agent having any kind of substantial part.

Without a doubt, LONDON HAS FALLEN is pretty dumb, but when it works it's also good fun. I'd put it at least a few notches below its predecessor, but even still it's a solid ninety minutes of entertainment. However, if this franchise is going to sustain itself and not suffer the same fate as TAKEN, they've got to spin Banning-off on a solo adventure away from the president and the White House. Butler and the character could easily lead a major franchise, and it's a shame the people involved didn’t make the sequel a little more ambitious.

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Source: JoBlo.com

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5:46AM on 03/07/2016

Crap

What a CRAP!!! There one very cool long take in a dark street with plenty of explosions and gun shots.... but above all there is mountains of clichés, stupid dialogues, and ugly VFX. It's like they have the money to do a decent Die-Hard-style film...but no they choose to make a dumb film. Sad.
What a CRAP!!! There one very cool long take in a dark street with plenty of explosions and gun shots.... but above all there is mountains of clichés, stupid dialogues, and ugly VFX. It's like they have the money to do a decent Die-Hard-style film...but no they choose to make a dumb film. Sad.
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9:15PM on 03/03/2016

"An ultra-violent, epic episode of 24."

That's EXACTLY what I wanted this to be! And boy does this review make it sound like 24.

"Banning slowly suffocates one baddie, and brutally tortures another for no real reason."

"the main ring-leader being an arms dealer upset because a drone strike launched by the president killed his daughter."

"jingoistic to the extreme, with Banning even lecturing a bad guy on the might of America before doing him in."

and of course

"Scotland Yard and MI5 being depicted as full of
That's EXACTLY what I wanted this to be! And boy does this review make it sound like 24.

"Banning slowly suffocates one baddie, and brutally tortures another for no real reason."

"the main ring-leader being an arms dealer upset because a drone strike launched by the president killed his daughter."

"jingoistic to the extreme, with Banning even lecturing a bad guy on the might of America before doing him in."

and of course

"Scotland Yard and MI5 being depicted as full of double-agents"

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7:36PM on 03/03/2016

Too Bad Fuqua Couldn't come back

I wish Antoine had made it back. He did a masterful job with the first movie and put the Roland Emmerich movie to shame both in quality and monetarily. I think the Jingoistic nature is what helped make the first one a hip. That is why I think the White Down was such a bomb as it had political overtones (something Emmerich is known for) than the movie going public don't want to put up with. We have enough political outlets and opinions to go around in media and I still believe movie goers still
I wish Antoine had made it back. He did a masterful job with the first movie and put the Roland Emmerich movie to shame both in quality and monetarily. I think the Jingoistic nature is what helped make the first one a hip. That is why I think the White Down was such a bomb as it had political overtones (something Emmerich is known for) than the movie going public don't want to put up with. We have enough political outlets and opinions to go around in media and I still believe movie goers still are looking for escape. Sure we want quality movies, but we don't like to be beaten over the head with someone's agenda. I have no problem if the movie maker and studio want to do this but don't be surprised when they fail at the box office. Olympus has fallen only made $25 million more than White house down domestically but at only 47% of the budget it made money. I believe the reason the ratings were so low for the Oscars was the fact only two of the movies nominated were really hits and neither was a real block buster. The Row over the lack of "diversity" also had an effect but I was not at all surprised not as many watched.
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9:22PM on 03/03/2016
I really didn't find the first one to be overly Jingoistic and to be perfectly honest. I enjoyed White House Down far more. Interestingly enough I didn't really mind the political agenda in that film. If nothing else it had the Presidential limo chase which was great.
I really didn't find the first one to be overly Jingoistic and to be perfectly honest. I enjoyed White House Down far more. Interestingly enough I didn't really mind the political agenda in that film. If nothing else it had the Presidential limo chase which was great.
+0
4:47PM on 03/03/2016
Fuck I Stan is pretty brilliant
Fuck I Stan is pretty brilliant
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9:08PM on 03/03/2016
It warms my heart to hear it. If the rest of the movie is as perfect as that It'll be exactly what I want to see.
It warms my heart to hear it. If the rest of the movie is as perfect as that It'll be exactly what I want to see.
4:34PM on 03/03/2016
How many English-speaking white people are in the London of this movie? Is it a realistic number, like three or four?
How many English-speaking white people are in the London of this movie? Is it a realistic number, like three or four?
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4:04PM on 03/05/2016
Are you retarded? No joke, I am seriously asking. You do realize London is in England, which is practically the birthplace of "white english speaking" people... The fucking language is even based on the name of the country.
Are you retarded? No joke, I am seriously asking. You do realize London is in England, which is practically the birthplace of "white english speaking" people... The fucking language is even based on the name of the country.
+0
3:17PM on 03/03/2016

Cautiously optimistic....

I'm not sure how they pull this off without it being cheesy, but I really liked both Butler's character and Eckhart's. I'm glad to see them back, and hopeful that this will be as much fun as the original (or at least close). I'd put this in the John Wick / Jack Reacher category of fun, violent movies that hearken back to the 80s with no need to be politically correct or make the villain anything more than what he is. . . . a bad guy who wants to hurt people to further his cause. From this
I'm not sure how they pull this off without it being cheesy, but I really liked both Butler's character and Eckhart's. I'm glad to see them back, and hopeful that this will be as much fun as the original (or at least close). I'd put this in the John Wick / Jack Reacher category of fun, violent movies that hearken back to the 80s with no need to be politically correct or make the villain anything more than what he is. . . . a bad guy who wants to hurt people to further his cause. From this review it sounds like they've found modest success, but lost a little from the first one.
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2:41PM on 03/03/2016
"I don't know about you, but I'm thirsty as fuck." I'm excited.
"I don't know about you, but I'm thirsty as fuck." I'm excited.
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12:32PM on 03/03/2016

I didn't like the first one, this looks more of the same.

This is not my cup of tea. I really think Butler deserves better than this. He should be making more than just the generic die hard clone. This isn't even a clone of a good Die Hard movie either like the first movie was. This is like Die Hard 4 and 5.
This is not my cup of tea. I really think Butler deserves better than this. He should be making more than just the generic die hard clone. This isn't even a clone of a good Die Hard movie either like the first movie was. This is like Die Hard 4 and 5.
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11:18AM on 03/03/2016
"go back to F**khead-istan"

LMAO!!! hahaha
"go back to F**khead-istan"

LMAO!!! hahaha
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4:37PM on 03/03/2016
Sadly, F**khead-istan is just a couple of Tube stops away from the character's current position.
Sadly, F**khead-istan is just a couple of Tube stops away from the character's current position.
10:39AM on 03/03/2016
This review was pretty much what I was expecting. A good time, but quite doesn't live up to the original. It looks like a lot of fun, but I'm not going in with high expectations.
This review was pretty much what I was expecting. A good time, but quite doesn't live up to the original. It looks like a lot of fun, but I'm not going in with high expectations.
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