Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) and President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) in London Has Fallen
“London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down.” Everyone remembers that song from kindergarten, but who knew the nursery rhyme would be adapted into a feature film? I remember just singing the first verse of the nursery rhyme as a youngster, but there are many more. The lines include “bricks and mortar will not stay” and “iron and steel will bend and bow.” London Bridge is just but one of many of London’s famous landmarks to, well, fall down. Those lines seem eerily prescient in director Babak Najafi’s new action thriller. Lots of bricks do not stay and lots of steel bends and bows as no London landmark is safe from the terrorist plot to destroy the city, including Parliament and Westminster Abbey. For those of us who love watching scenes of mass destruction on the big screen, myself included, it’s total annihilation eye candy.
In the sequel to Olympus Has Fallen, the world’s most powerful leaders gather in London to pay their respects for the recently deceased Prime Minister. Without warning, terrorists unleash a devastating attack that leaves the city in chaos and ruins. Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) springs into action to bring U.S. President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) to safety. When Asher falls into the hands of the terrorist organization, it’s up to Banning to save his commander in chief from a globally televised execution. The always reliable Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Melissa Leo, Robert Forster and Radha Mitchell reprise their roles from Olympus as well.
Action films generally fall into four categories. First are the films that sacrifice plot and character development to blow things up for two hours (Transformers). Second are the films that focus too much on plot and character development and not enough stuff blows up (Hulk). Third are the films whose action, characters and dialogue make even the most fervent fanboy roll his eyes and groan (San Andreas). Fourth are the films that seamlessly merge the plot and characters with the action (Terminator 2: Judgment Day). The plots make sense and you care about the characters but you never get bored. London Has Fallen falls into this category. Sure, it’s no Terminator 2, but few action films are.
With an action film, you know the hero will win in the end. You know things will be destroyed. There will be some witty one-liners. It’s the standard Hollywood recipe for an action film. What separates a good action film from a bad action film is how fun the ride is between the opening and ending credits. Now that spring has arrived with the huge summer box-office season on the horizon, movie studios will be falling over themselves in the coming months to convince us to shell out our hard-earned money on the latest big-budget spectacle. London Has Fallen is a solid action popcorn thriller. Sit back with your Junior Mints or Goobers and watch things get blown up while the dapper Gerard Butler saves the day.
London Has Fallen
In theaters March 4
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