The British Prime Minister has died and the resulting state funeral brings the world’s leaders together in London. Mike Banning, now running US President Asher’s Secret Service team after the events of Olympus has Fallen, is soon to become a father and is contemplating resignation. But not before he fulfils his duty to Asher in the United Kingdom.
Bruce Willis has a lot to answer for. Ever since he and director John McTiernan captured lightning in a bottle with Die Hard back in 1988 Hollywood has been trying to replicate it, with varying degrees of success. We’ve had Die Hard on a Mountain (Cliffhanger, 1993), Die Hard on a Bus (Speed, 1994) and a Boat (Speed 2, 1997) and essentially all the Mission Impossible entries, all showcasing one man against insurmountable odds that he just manages to, er, surmount. The ridiculous Olympus has Fallen (2013) not only won the battle against it’s virtually identical rival, White House Down (also 2013), but made enough box office for a sequel to be fast-tracked. And sequels have to be bigger.
With all the world leaders in the capital for the funeral of the recently deceased British Prime Minister, the stage is set for clichéd, photofit middle eastern bad guy Aamir Barkawi to unleash mayhem. As the leaders converge bombs, boats and buildings explode, huge swathes of police reveal themselves to be terrorists in disguise and Prime Ministers and Presidents drop like flies. Asher survives and it’s up to Banning to get him to safety.
It’s hard to decide what’s more ridiculous in London has Fallen. Top of the list may well be Gerard Butler’s American accent which has all the authenticity of an Ikea ming vase but there is much, much more to choose from. It’s a given that Banning is basically bullet proof but the real world must intrude somewhere, even for a mindless beer-and-pizza action flick like this. To have the British police force not just infiltrated but riddled with bad guys is bad; having large parts of the Queen’s guard, red uniforms and bearskin hats complete, turn and open fire on a crowd is just stupid. When yet more bad guys launch multiple RPG’s from rooftops against the Presidential helicopter convoy, it’s hard to care any more.
Ten years or more ago, a film like this (starring Steven Seagal no doubt) would have come and gone to neither acclaim nor outcry. But times have changed and when European cities are threatened and subject to terrorist attacks and extreme violence at the hands of radicals and extremists, to produce a trite, glib, flash movie celebrating, nay glorifying, in such smacks of simple opportunism at best, debased morality at worst.
Time will tell whether London has Fallen will earn enough to warrant a third instalment. If so, might we suggest L.A. has Fallen, with carnage wrought through Tinseltown? Now, that would be a crowd pleaser.