TL;DR – One of the better action films I have seen in a while, grab your popcorn and sit back, just don’t expect it to have a nuanced view on world politics.
Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars
London Has Fallen is a good little action film, it’s not the greatest I have seen, but given the poor showing so far this year, bar Deadpool, it was refreshing to see something done really quite well. So it should be no surprise that London is falling is about stuff blowing up in London, and since the film knows that you know, then it is able to really push the tension.
To be honest I had no idea this was a sequel to anything until a friend mentioned on the way to the movies, which of course answers the question do you need to see the first one? no, you do not. As well as this, I think it may have also helped me to enjoy the film because, from the look of it, there are a lot of similarities between the two films, a lot.
So what does the film get right, well the action is top notch, bullets firing, explosions taking out key landmarks, some top notch action set pieces, including some really good long single take shots (well presented as one scene, it might not have been filmed in one take). The film also uses its R rating (American) not to up the gore quota per say, but so it could allow people to react naturally to the situation, seriously you would be dropping expletives as well. However, unlike most films in this rating, the violence and language feels contextual and not gratuitous generally. Also, the tension in the start of the film is palpable because you know something is about to happen, so every time they introduce a new world leader you know things are about to go down. It helps that the scenario they present is actually quite a plausible one, the chaos it would create would be catastrophic.
However, is the film perfect, no, no it is not. The more it goes on the more unbelievable the situation gets. Also, the film has some problems with the story that it is trying to tell and to explain that, I do need to get quite spoilery so you have been warned. That main motivation for the bad guy is the indiscriminate use of drones by America (or the G8 in this film for no reason), a drone targeting him, instead hit his daughter wedding party. At first, this seems like a really fascinating critique of drone warfare, and the unintended consequences of the attempt to undertake a clean war. However, at the end of the film, we get the mantra “it is better to do something than nothing at all” and it is really disappointing. Also if you are paying any attention at all, the surprise reveal will not be remotely surprising.
Is it a perfect film, no, but it is a solid action film, and sometimes that’s all you need, but really what was the deal with the Japanese Prime Minister why does he have to wait in peak hour traffic, why doesn’t he get a motorcade, but alas, some questions will never get answered.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Directed by – Babak Najafi
Screenplay by – Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt, Christian Gudegast & Chad St. John
Story by – Creighton Rothenberger & Katrin Benedikt
Starring – Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Alon Moni Aboutboul, Angela Bassett, Colin Salmon & Charlotte Riley
Rating – Australia: MA15+; Canada: 14A; Ireland: 15A; NZ: R; UK: 15, USA: R