A sequel to an earlier Antoine Fuqua’s 2013 original (“Olympus Has Fallen”). After the death of the British prime minister, the world’s most powerful leaders gather in London to pay their respects. Without warning, terrorists unleash a devastating attack that leaves the city in chaos and ruins.
LONDON HAS FALLEN sees Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) back by President Benjamin Asher’s (Aaron Eckhart) side.Benjamin Asher – the widowed president who survived a North Korea-backed attack on the White House – and his equally indestructible, bodyguard Mike Banning (a sweary Gerard Butler) are in a new situation. However, now that his wife Leah (Radha Mitchell) is about to give birth to their first child, Banning is considering resigning from the Secret Service. But, before he can even finish drafting his resignation letter, Mike must accompany President Asher to London for a funeral at St. Paul’s Cathedral. Trouble is, little do they know, the funeral is actually being used to orchestrate an unprecedented terrorist attack, targeting London’s most famous landmarks and some of the world’s most powerful leaders, including Asher.
The bad guy portion of the backstory is an arms dealer named Aarmir Barkawi (Alon Moni Aboutboul), a drippingly rich and malevolent Pakistani. The bad guys’ motive: To exact revenge from the West having killed his daughter and many others by a drone strike at her lavish wedding, where he was the main target.
The only thing that emerges clearly from the hell storm is that there had to have been significant enemy infiltration of Britain’s security forces. As the world television audience witnesses the mayhem, several heads of state are killed, while Benning tries to spirit the President by chopper back to the waiting Air Force One. They don’t make it, instead landing on foot somewhere on the outskirts of London with no choice but to battle their way back into the city, block by block, and reach the American Embassy.
The bad guys, led locally by Barkawi’s son (Waleed F. Zuaiter), have a different idea, which is to kidnap the President and get the highest ratings in history by executing him on television.
Helmed by Iranian (now Swedish) director Babak Najafi (who came to Sweden as a young 11-year old refugee).
The film’s settings, circumstances and quips manage to keep each set piece feeling fresh enough so that the film never loses much momentum. The film’s signal achievement is an impressive firefight sequence that’s presented towards the end in a single take, during which Butler shoots up countless enemies while making a mad dash for a particular location. However, there are also instances when the CGI is mediocre at best, particularly when it comes to big explosions. It’s almost as if someone cobbled together the most familiar and basic digital destruction shots and threw as many possible into London Has Fallen. But, then again, London Has Fallen isn’t about proper story structure or a compelling narrative. It’s about seeing Butler barrel down the streets of London decimating as many enemies as possible.
While not nearly as elaborate, nor as visually sophisticated as the last Mission: Impossible outing or the most recent Bonds, London Has Fallen is actually more plausible at its core, if not in its details, which is partly why it succeeds in laying claim to an audience’s attention for the entirety of its swift running time. The film’s kinetic action is its real highlight, essentially a series of chases carried out across central London’s streets and subway system.
Familiar faces from Olympus Has Fallen return: Morgan Freeman as vice president, Angela Bassett as director of the Secret Service, a near-silent Melissa Leo as secretary of State. On the American side, old hands like Robert Forster and Jackie Earle Haley are more or less seat-fillers at the Situation Room roundtable, and among the British there’s a gallery of shifty-eyed agents offered up as potential moles.