Review: ‘London Has Fallen’ Gives Generic Action Movies a Bad Name


Although not especially well-regarded by history, 2013’s Olympus Has Fallen delivered a very watchable stream of slickly executed violent action movie tropes. The old school swagger on display helped push the film beyond its initial status as the Pepsi to White House Down‘s Coca-Cola.

Very little of that unapologetically fascistic appeal has made it into this thoughtless sequel, which gives generic action movies a bad name.

Gerard Butler remains a highly-convincing shit-kicker and his awesomely-named secret service agent Mike Banning remembers to stab a few people in the head, but the action around him is so boring I cannot recall a single set-piece one day after seeing the movie. And if you thought the CGI looked cheap in the first film, just wait for the sub-TV visual effects that unfurl here.

The over-talented supporting cast are given very little to do. Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Melissa Leo and Robert Forster all return, but those last two barely speak and are never shown outside the ‘command centre’ set that shows up in every second action movie.

The film’s slapped-together nature is most depressingly apparent in the one scene where Butler and Freeman’s characters meet: it’s blindingly obvious that the actors were never in the same room, and their individually shot scenes have been composited together with all the skill of a five-year-old with snips.

This reviewer has a very low bar for mainstream action movies. London Has Fallen nimbly limbo-ed well beneath it.

‘London Has Fallen’ Movie Times

Want Better Straight-to-Video Action Movies? Try: Close Range, SPL 2: A Time for Consequences, No Escape