©Universum/Walt Disney

London Has Fallen
U.K./U.S.A./Bulgaria 2016

Opening 10 Mar 2016

Directed by: Babak Najafi
Writing credits: Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt, Christian Gudegast, Chad St. John
Principal actors: Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Charlotte Riley, Alon Aboutboul

With the unexpected death of the British Prime Minister, the western world leaders are required to attend his state funeral. As the world leaders descend upon London to pay their respects, the city’s security is naturally at an extreme level. With the added level of extreme security, firearms, and high tensions, the likelihood for disaster seems to be nonexistent and well taken care of.

Unbeknownst to all, this high stakes funeral is just the stage in which a deadly play is about to take place, one in which the world leaders are all but eliminated. Now it is up to Mike Banning (Butler) the head of the secret services, and a MI-6 agent (Charlotte Riley) to get the President of the United States out of London. 

As London darkens into chaos, the viewer is pulled into an action-packed film that is sure to get the blood pumping. The film delivers on being a good rock’em, sock’em stand-alone film, where it is not necessary to have seen the first instalment, Olympus Has Fallen (2013). Butler also delivers a rousing performance as a dedicated secret service agent, focused on serving and protecting his president at all cost. 

It is also hard not to miss Speaker Trumbull’s (Morgan Freeman) rich and reassuring voice, which can sooth those fired up heart palpitations, regardless of the intense action the film has to offer. With his, voice it can be assured that whatever happens, at least his calm voice can be heard. Barkawi’s (Alon Aboutboul) role as the dark and dangerous villain is also well delivered as it is easy to see him as a master mind of chaos and destruction. Altogether, the actors play well together and deliver a convincing story, one in which it is believable that such chaos and destruction is possible in our world. 

While this film tries to deliver the sense of American pride and patriotism, these motifs unfortunately miss their intended mark, and only end up sounding like another glorification of American propaganda. The film also plays heavily on the idea that America will save the day and all can be good again when the Americans are in charge, and that the world owes its freedom to the Red, White and Blue. It is unfortunate that the “Golden Rule” is also stated several times during this film, as the rule states “Do to others, what you would want them to do you.” If this rule is so highly regarded, why does it only apply to certain sets of people? It would be so refreshing to encounter a film in which this rule is actually carried out but unfortunately, understanding and peacemaking tend not to make for the most explosive story. (Maria Rippe)

Second Opinion

“Vengeance must always be profound and absolute“. This explanation of the weapons dealer Aamir Barkawi to his son, right before a drone of the US military hits his daughter’s wedding fatally, is foreshadowing for what is to come to the western world two years later.

The British prime minister is dead and the entire diplomatic world is in London for his funeral. What the US president’s chief of security (Angela Bassett) refers to as a “logistical nightmare“ with only little time to plan is supposedly the safest event of the planet. Too bad it was all a complot of Barkawi to lure all the world’s big political leaders to the same place, and now hell has broken loose in London. Detonations, gunfire, bobbies shooting at people and even the Queen’s guards are turned. No one is to be trusted and it is all a big ugly mess made of explosions, gun fire and dead bodies.

Mike Banning (Gerard Butler), the US President’s bodyguard, maneuvers the Americans safely through bomb squads and lethal motorcycle terrorists into the London underground trying to find a way to not only get back in touch with the White House but to make sure they all get out there alive.

What starts as a brilliant movie shaking up your inner core and the basic fear every one of us has slumbering in himself, at least since the tragic Paris events of last November, slowly decreases in tempo and originality when corny punch lines sound more like Donald Trump election slogans than to be taken seriously. Gerard Butler’s character seems lit up in red, white and blue throughout the entire second half of the movie, which make you laugh out loud in ridicule.

Die Hard With the President In London. This is how I would like to sum up the movie. A masterpiece to shake up your inner fear of terrorists and IS, especially since the tragic events in Paris, are slumbering in all of us. What if I can’t trust anyone and the bad guys are everywhere? (Karen Eve Malinowski O’Shaughnessy)

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