Much to the chagrin of moviegoers, Grammercy Pictures is set to release London has Fallen to a worldwide audience this weekend. Gerald Butler returns in this sequel to the 2013 film Olympus Has Fallen, and this is brutal in every sense of the word.
If anyone is shocked that a sequel is coming out this weekend, remember that Olympus Has Fallen surprised everyone. Olympus Has Fallen grossed $161 million worldwide. The film was extremely budget conscious, so this sort of financial windfall amounted to an enormous economic victory for the studio.
In a plot twist that is just as shocking this time (sarcasm font), the plot around the terrorists is more sophisticated and ambitious. These manage to take down one world capital and many world leaders within a long, tedious plot. The bad guys are successful in a way that for anyone who loves London, is distressing. The visual effects are on par with what the public has seen in any of the Final Destination film (which detracts from the startling image of Westminster Abbey and Parliament being blown up.)
So who’s the villain this go round? Aamir Barkawi (Alon Moni Aboutboul), is set to exact revenge on the United States for a drone strike that was meant to kill him but instead killed his daughter. His scheme he devises is to use the death of the British Prime Minister (which he secretly arranges), to bring all the western leaders in one place so he can wipe them all out at once. Barkawi lives by the motto “Vengeance must always be profound and absolute.”
The occupants of the White House are certainly aware of the danger on this trip. President Asher (Aaron Eckhart), Mike Benning ( Gerald Butler), and the secret service director played by Angela Bassett all at one point make mention that this seems like it could be a trap. Once again, much to the shock of all us (we really do need that sarcasm font), they decide to go and pay their respects to the fallen British prime minister and leave a freshly promoted Vice President, played by Morgan Freeman (remember he was speaker of the house in the first film), in charge. Of course, despite every imaginable precaution, things begin to go boom on the afternoon of the funeral, and it is evident that all hell has broken loose.
One of the lone positives of the film was its run-time. At 99 minutes (it felt like it was double that time), the producers, at least, recognized that there was no sense in stretching this “B” movie out any further. It was as if Gerald Butler wanted to show mercy to us all and we are thankful for it.
What was profoundly shocking to was how many screenwriters this film had. The original’s writers, Creighton Rothenberger, and Katrina Benedikt were aided and abetted here by Christian Gudegast and Chad St. John. Did It take four screenwriters to punch out this atrocious dialogue? What, were the first two not acceptable enough at writing bad grunts and cheezy one liners that they had to call in a team of experts? It was as if these men just graduated from a weekend course in script writing and this was their post-graduate work. We did, however, learn that lines can still sound like hot garbage even when spoken in Morgan Freeman’s voice. Truly, the idea that a script was even developed for this movie is unbelievable as the performances were reminiscent of watching a bad improv troupe.
In fact, it is hard to pinpoint what London Has Fallen is good at. The chases are laughable. The use of mismatched stock footage was not shocking. The special effects make the ones in Death Wish 3 look cutting edge. The cinematography in the film was abysmal. The director Babak Najafi felt it was necessary to cover up the incoherent action with shaky handheld shot and rapid cuts. Add it all up and what we have is one of the worst action movies ever made.
London has Fallen
Opens: March 4 (Gramercy Pictures)
Cast: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Alon Moni Aboutboul, Angela Bassett, Robert Forster, Jackie Earle Haley, Melissa Leo, Radha Mitchell, Sean O’Bryan, Charlotte Riley, Waleed F. Zuaiter
Director: Babak Najafi
Screenwriters: Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt, Christian Gudegast, Chad St. John,,
Producers: Gerard Butler, Alan Siegel, Mark Gill, John Thompson, Matt O’Toole, Les Weldon