London Has Fallen

London Has Fallen Movie ReviewGramercy Pictures
Rated R for strong violence and language throughout.
Running time: 99 minutes.
One star out of four.

“London Has Fallen” is Donald Trump in film form.

And not even in the funny, Funny-or-Die film form, which knowingly luxuriates in the ludicrousness of his bombastic persona. “London Has Fallen” is a shot of Trump’s jingoistic viciousness straight to the veins.

In this numbingly violent, over-the-top sequel to 2013’s “Olympus Has Fallen,” all Westerners are innocent targets of terrorism. All Muslims are single-minded extremists. And only one man — Gerard Butler, once again swallowing his Scottish accent to play the nation’s most indestructible Secret Service agent — can stop them.

It’s: “America, Fuck Yeah!” with zero irony.

But let’s try to set aside the fear-based philosophical and political underpinnings for a moment and just focus on “London Has Fallen” for its entertainment value as an action flick: It’s actually kind of dull in its monotony. Director Babak Najafi whips up a couple of cool sequences that stand out amid the relentless gunfire and cacophonous destruction. One takes place inside a spinning helicopter as it’s under attack; the camera spins, too, from inside the chopper and then outside as it slams into the side of a building before crashing to the ground. In the other, he creates the sensation of a lengthy, unbroken take as Butler’s outnumbered but undaunted Mike Banning tries to hold off a barrage of enemy gunfire down a long, narrow street in the black of night.

And that’ll just about do it for the complimentary portion of this review.

Najafi, by the way, was born in Iran and makes his English-language directing debut with “London Has Fallen.” Helming a massive action picture with a cast featuring Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Jackie Earle Haley, Melissa Leo and Robert Forster probably sounded like an attractive challenge, but I can’t help but wonder what he thought of the film’s ideology. (The screenplay is credited to four people, including the husband-and-wife team of Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt, who also wrote “Olympus Has Fallen.”)

The premise this time is that the British prime minister has died suddenly, which means all the world’s leaders must convene in London for his funeral. That includes Eckhart’s president of the United States, Benjamin Asher, with the ever-reliable and wisecracking head of his detail, Banning, as well as Bassett’s Lynne Jacobs, the Secret Service chief. Also arriving to pay their respects are the leaders of Germany, Italy, France, Japan and Canada.

Despite insistence from the local authorities that security is super tight, Banning has a bad feeling about this — and as it turns out, he’s right. Plus, at the film’s start, he’s about to quit his job to spend more time with his pregnant wife (Radha Mitchell), who’s on the verge of giving birth at any moment. Of course something terrible was going to happen.

Middle Eastern Evil Guy Amir Barkawi (Alon Aboutboul), an internationally wanted arms dealer, takes the opportunity not only to assassinate all these heads of state but decimate London’s centuries-old landmarks in the process. He does this to avenge the killing of his daughter two years earlier on her wedding day in a drone strike that was meant for him. And he does it by infiltrating the police force and through general high-tech omnipotence.

From there, Banning’s main assignment is to get the president out of London, but first he must stop the evildoers who’ve taken over the city, making movement and communication nearly impossible. Back home, the vice president (Freeman) and various cabinet members and security chiefs wait and worry as they watch the devastating images from London and receive threats from Barkawi, who promises he’ll kill President Asher at 8 p.m. Gunfire, gunfire and more gunfire ensue. But sometimes, Banning also gets to stab someone as he protects the president, and he literally twists the knife with glee as he does it.

Superficially, their adrenalized adventures are meant to be thrilling. But fundamental to the duo’s quest to survive is an us-vs.-them mentality that’s offensive in the overly simplistic way it panders to fears of terrorism in general and Muslims in particular. They can’t stand us and our way of life, the film seems to be saying. These villains don’t even get the benefit of characterization beyond hatred and mastery of high-tech weaponry. They will kill as many people as they must to get to the leader of the free world. And when they do get their hands on him, they will beat and torture him cruelly.

Nearly as obnoxious is the flippant way Banning and Asher share a jovial quip each time they get out of a jam. At one point, Banning makes a joke about Asher coming out of the closet after Asher literally has stepped out of a closet. This is the level of repartee you can expect from “London Has Fallen.” Ostensibly, this brand of humor is meant to provide comic relief; instead, it’s cringe-inducing.

I hated “London Has Fallen” so much that as soon as I got out of the screening, I changed the Waze voice on my phone from the smooth, comforting tones of Freeman back to Thomas, the British guy who mispronounces major Los Angeles streets like La Cienega and Sepulveda. Hopefully, no more cities have to fall.

41 Comments on “London Has Fallen

  1.  by  Donald Trumps mother

    Obviously you don’t know a good film when you see one. Your just mad cause Donald Trump is going all the way #DonaldTrump2k16

    •  by  Owen McDowell

      “You’re” not “your”. “Because” not “cause”.

    •  by  Vegas Gypsy

      I immediately knew this “top reviewer” was a left-wing liberal who shutters at the thought of Donald Trump becoming the president. She would rather have the queen liar, corrupt criminal Hillary Clinton, especially because she has the same body parts.

      Not me…as a woman, I’m ashamed of those women who are supporting the conniving, greedy witch solely because she has a vagina. Shame on all of you.

    •  by  JJJameson

      No, Christy is right. This movie is hilariously bad…..and I really liked Olympus Has Fallen

  2.  by  Larry Flennerman

    This review just screams “I’m a bleeding heart liberal”.

    A few middle eastern men are portrayed as villains, and that makes the movie jingoistic? I’m sure it’s also by pure happenstance that you forgot to mention that in both this movie and its prequel, the “traitor” who allowed these attacks to occur, because of their own greed and personal grudges, turned out to be a white man.

    And for the record, I am absolutely *NOT* a Trump supporter, but this is a violent action movie, not a liberal utopian “safe zone”.

  3.  by  Sam

    Just came out of the film and it’s as if you read my mind. I don’t think anyone intelligent liked this film so your review stands as accurate. Truly a horrendous film with fear mongering propaganda. Comments here are suggesting you have a “biased and liberal” mentality when it’s nothing but common sense rather than a political agenda. “People like you have been trying to destroy us for a hundred years and we’ll be here for another thousand”. That was pretty much the quote in the film. Appeals to racist and xenophobic Americans and that’s about it. Saw this with a buddy from France and he couldn’t believe what he saw. He actually said, “your country is just as bad as North Korea in terms of propaganda”. Great review!

    •  by  Eric Callamezzo

      yeah you’re right man we should totally not change anything and let muslims come to America with no regulations. Its not like they murder innocent people in terrorists attacks all over the world every day. You are totally right dude. You’re so right man, gosh wish i was I was as smart as you!!

      SARCASM

      •  by  Skott

        You misspelled “bigotry” as “sarcasm”.

    •  by  Ryumoau

      You’re pretty stupid aren’t you? :/

    •  by  Alex

      “People like you have been trying to destroy us for a hundred years and we’ll be here for another thousand”

      The kind of line you could expect from a propaganda piece meant to bolster the denial of a collapsing Empire. “We’ll be here for another thousand years!”, You can almost imagine it being shouted in the Roman Senate circa 400 AD.

  4.  by  Eric Callamezzo

    yeah this review screams I’m so PC i get offended by everything!!! Its an action movie not a political statement. if you watch this without bias its actually entertaining. christy not everything has to not offend everyone. you are a push over in every way. Yeah we get it not every Muslim is a terrorist but some of them are and they continue to murder and slaughter innocent americans. Where does it stop? You can’t let this continue they’re trying to wipe America off the earth. We have to destroy ISIS we have to.

  5.  by  Person With Common Sense

    “Donald Trump in movie form”

    You just said that this movie is actually good and stupid people hate it not because they’ve actually seen it, but because of what they heard on social media.

    Educate yourself.

  6.  by  Anon

    Guys, she’s just bleeding from her whatever.

  7.  by  William Waller

    I’m not amazed, sadly, when I read the above review. Ask the people in Brussels or Paris if we should open our doors to Syrian men of military age. The pseudo intellectual reviewer obviously has not read the Quaran or the Hadifs. We, as westerners and (God forbid) Christians, are AT WAR with radical Islam, and although the bleeding heart, “Coexist”, liberals who have never been to a Muslim country may not acknowledge that fact, the Jihadists know it and are organizing their efforts accordingly. The movie was a classic shoot’em up, good guys vs bad guys and the good guys win. There is no moral equivalency! Only in this movie the bad guys are not red neck fascist like the first movie, but radical Muslim fascists. JUST LIKE the creeps that attacked in Belgium, Paris, Ft Hood, etc. The action was nonstop, the cinematography and special effects were excellent. The score was moving and exciting. It was a wonderful film with a “Rocky Balboa” ending. If Trump represents the US this movie portrays, I’m gonna vote for him. And I thank God for our constitution that gives us the freedom to say what we think….even the useless drivel this reviewer writes. Go see the film and make up your own mind, don’t believe Hollywood propaganda!

    •  by  Dr. Who

      The special effects were a joke! Dr. Who has better special effects. The helicopter crash looked like a video game.

  8.  by  Susie Queue

    GREAT Review. I, too, hated this movie and figured it would appeal to Trump voters. It was like watching an extremely long and trite video game!

    •  by  Enrico Mezzatesta

      Anti trump, anti video game… You truly are a boring person

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  10.  by  anon

    Saw this movie a while back. I disagree with your review primarily because of the political affiliation coming from an educational element. Wars are waged through all forms of extremism. Trump? Trump has a wide ranged portfolio of facts, experience, and accomplishments same as Bernie, Hillary, Carson, and Kasich just to name a few candidates. I recommend those reading this to rent first, and buy if you like.

  11.  by  Kenneth O'Brien

    Um. It’s a movie. An action movie. It’s not based on ANY facts and movies are designed to provide escapism. I don’t think anyone with any intelligence watched this movie and thought of the Donald. Watch a movie so you can turn off CNN for one and escape your normal boring life.

  12.  by  Jimmy Russles

    Wahhhhh Donald Trump! Maybe you should stick to writing to the garbage heap known as Huffington Post.

  13.  by  TeaRunner

    What’s worse than injecting politics into a movie? Doing the same in a review. Need to make up your mind, are you a reviewer or a political pundit?

  14.  by  John J

    All hail the GOD EMPEROR TRUMP, may be bathe in the blood of all non believers!

  15.  by  BANE

    To be honest, the movie didn’t specifically state the enemies in this film were Muslim though. I mean they seemed like Muslims. Violent, psychopathic, stupid, unskilled. All inherently Muslim qualities. Either way, the film wasn’t quite as good as Olympus, but it was still awesome to see Gerard Butler kill a ton of Muslim characters(assuming any way). Hopefully more films follow suit. Muslims make for the best bullet sponges.

  16.  by  Chris Braun

    Best movie of the year by far… I can honestly say I love my country and have lost all faith in your taste in movies.

  17.  by  Get a grip

    I agree, this movie was such propaganda and terrorists such as the ones portrayed don’t exist and murder countless innocents. Oh wait….

  18.  by  Fred T. Coffman

    What is xenophobic about telling a story about Islamic terrorism? You guys are so hung up on not hurting anyone’s feelings that you ignore the fact that most terrorism is committed by Muslims. Try getting a grip on reality. I’m so sick of your PC crap that you have become irrelevant. Enjoy your cocktail parties and stand around telling each other how smart you are. Out here in the real world we know what’s going on. Take your prissy little opinions and shove them.

  19.  by  Ironbob

    This is one of the most idiotic reviews I’ve ever read. Go kill yourself…go kill yourself now. You’re not emotionally or mentally fit to review movies. In fact, you’re not emotionally or mentally fit to be alive.