London Has Fallen

 

starstarstarhalf

 


London comes under attack from Pakistani terrorists in this terrifying sequel to Olympus Has Fallen.

  

London Has Fallen

 

In Antoine Fuqua’s efficient, ludicrous and ruthlessly thrilling Olympus Has Fallen, the White House got quite a battering. Here, President Benjamin Asher is still in charge and Secret Service agent Mike Banning is still flexing his brawn – but the stage for the next terrorist onslaught is considerably larger. We’re not talking one emblematic building here, but a whole capital city. To quote one official, the British government is cutting its defence budget just as the Barbarians are gathering at the Gate. London Has Fallen is nothing if not topical and for a mainstream Hollywood movie the capital’s topography is rendered in surprisingly accurate detail. Because London matters – and that is the point. One of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, and a city saturated in history, its pummelling can’t but strike a nerve with many. One might even call the film’s gung-ho bloodlust and masonry mayhem bordering on the pornographic, as the Iranian-Swedish director Babak Najafi would seem to relish blowing stuff up.

 

The British prime minister has died (not Cameron, but James Wilson) and forty of the world’s most prominent leaders are arriving in the capital for his state funeral. Of course, it’s a logistical nightmare for the respective security agencies and President Asher (Aaron Eckhart) is advised not to attend. However, Asher is determined to exhibit his loyalty to his British allies and this is, after all, the “most protected event on earth.” And he’s got Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) by his side. Still, one should never underestimate the cunning, chutzpah and technical expertise of the world’s preeminent terrorist organisations…

 

London Has Fallen II

Gerard Butler carries out his own brand of justice on the Jubilee Line

 

Much has been made of the irresponsibility of this terrifying film, its callous body count and the red flag waving at potential jihadist bulls. But nothing in London Has Fallen – the infiltration of the police, the appropriation of the city’s CCTV infrastructure and the shut-down of the national grid – will not already have been contemplated by our enemies. While the four credited screenwriters are not above dabbling in the morality of global politics – and in America’s accountability – the end result is nothing more than an epic disaster movie running amok on a giant canvas. We know this because of the timbre of the dialogue. When an SAS officer warns Banning that, “there’s nearly a hundred terrorists in there,” Banning answers: “Yeh? Well they should’ve brought more men.”

Like the first film, London Has Fallen is a guilty pleasure, a rollicking slice of Boy’s Own escapism that knows which buttons to kick. Even so, David Cameron might like to give it a look to weigh up his defence options. After all, is the name of the villain – Kamran – merely a coincidence?

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Alon Moni Aboutboul, Angela Bassett, Robert Forster, Melissa Leo, Radha Mitchell, Charlotte Riley, Jackie Earle Haley, Waleed Zuaiter, Colin Salmon, Patrick Kennedy, Penny Downie.

 

Dir Babak Najafi, Pro Gerard Butler, Mark Gill, Danny Lerner, Matt O'Toole, Alan Siegel and Les Weldon, Screenplay Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt, Chad St. John and Christian Gudegast, Ph Ed Wild, Pro Des Joel Collins, Ed Michael J. Duthie and Paul Martin Smith, Music Trevor Morris, Costumes Stephanie Collie.

 

G-BASE/Millennium Films/LHF Film-Lionsgate. 

98 mins. USA/UK/Bulgaria. 2016. Rel: 3 March 2016. Cert. 15.