Review: London Has Fallen Is Poorly Paced And Rather Dull
Title: London Has Fallen
Director: Babak Najafi
Screenplay: Creighton Rothenberger (screenplay, story, based on characters created by), Katrin Benedikt (screenplay, story, based on characters created by), Christian Gudegast (screenplay), and Chad St. John (screenplay)
Principal Cast: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Angela Bassett, Morgan Freeman, Alon Aboutboul, and Jackie Earl Haley
Summary: In London for the Prime Minister’s funeral Mike Banning discovers a plot to assassinate all of the attending world leaders.
Full disclosure: I have not seen Olympus Has Fallen. I know that might invalidate the rest of this review but I felt pretty confident that this involved the characters moving on and not much else. I’m a fan of big, dumb action movies but there was something about London Has Fallen that made me nervous, bringing out a big action movie in the beginning of March when this seems more like the kind of “Merica!’ type movie that would fit in in more of the mid June to July market. However, there have been good movies in the last few weeks so there was every chance that this one could be fun, too.
London Has Fallen is a weirdly paced, rather boring action movie that feels extremely out of place in the modern age.
There is something about action movies and blowing up monuments that I don’t quite understand anymore. The first time we saw a building blow up back in Independence Day it took our breath away, but now it has all been said and done so many times I just can’t make myself get invested. A movie like this needs to work very hard to keep someone like me engaged because I tend to get distracted by collateral damage. I’m the person that watches a Fast and Furious movie and when there is a crash all I think is “someone who was just driving around just died”. London Has Fallen was not nearly engaging enough to make me forget about the collateral damage. As terrorists blew up a city that has already been blown up before, all I could think about was the roughly 8.5 million people that live in that city who are losing their livelihood and their lives. We live in a world where monuments have fallen, and in movies like this it just dates the entire production.
On a more personal level I think I’m quite sick of “one man against an army” scenarios and, in this case, the man is just a more brutal and less smooth version of James Bond. Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) goes up against over a hundred terrorists as he tries to protect the president Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) whom he seems to be all buddy buddy with from the last movie. The movie is not very long but the story structure makes it feel much longer. It takes far too long to get to the first shootout and then the movie stops so suddenly I nearly got whiplash. Then it got started again and then stopped yet again. It felt like there were almost commercial breaks for people to stand around and talk about how they want to get back to their families.
Butler, who between this and Gods of Egypt should probably just stay home for awhile, is a competent enough action hero but he’s also that kind of action hero that has absolutely no flaws. Aside from coming off as a little bit rash, everyone in the entire movie seems to bend over backwards to remind Mike how amazing he is. Director Babak Najafi at least doesn’t rely on shaky cam too much so there is a decent sense of space, but it’s not engaging so it doesn’t really matter. There aren’t even any real creative kills that take advantage of the R rating. It’s just the same guy in tactical armor getting shot over and over again.
London Has Fallen is the type of movie that gets dumped in this time of year when a studio realizes they don’t stand a chance in the summer market. The teenagers that might have helped keep this thing afloat aren’t allowed through the door and the adult population could waste 99 minutes of their life literally doing anything else.