I thought that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice would win the bad film of the week title, but in less than 24 hours London Has Fallen took the crown, firmly placed it on Gerard Butler’s head and surrounded the crown with barbed wire so no other film could take it.
London Has Fallen is apparently the continuation of the adventures of Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler). Aside from guarding and protecting United States (US) President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart), Banning likes to deflate the president’s ego and make duck faces to the camera. In the first five minutes of Banning’s appearance, he pouts and purses his lips like a spoiled teenage girl more than three times. The only reason I can think of to explain Banning’s juvenile actions is the nervousness welling up inside him for the impending birth of his and wife’s (Radha Mitchell) first child, a daughter.
Meanwhile in London, the British Prime Minister dies. Leaders of the free world, headed by US President Asher, convene in London to attend the state funeral. The funeral does not occur as coordinated attacks destroy the city’s landmarks and with them thousands of people perish, including some of the world leaders. Canada loses its Prime Minister near Trafalgar Square, Japan’s own Prime Minister gets stuck in traffic in Chelsea Bridge and goes down with it when it collapses, France’s president reacts a tad too slowly and explodes on the River Thames, and the romantic Italian Prime Minister meets his end atop the Westminster Abbey.
The gruesome and very public deaths of these four leave Asher as the lone survivor among the prime targets. Asher is lucky to have Banning beside, in front, behind and on top of him. Banning’s fighting and driving skills are unparalleled. He incredibly survives hundreds of terrorists disguised as policemen and first responders. For a while there, I thought I was watching a Filipino movie where bullets are allergic to the protagonist and the protagonist never runs out of ammunition.
The perpetrator of the attacks is Pakistani arms dealer and terrorist Aamir Barkawi (Alon Moni Aboutboul). With the help of his son Kamran (Waleed Zuaiter), Barkawi succeeds in planning and implementing the London attacks. The source of Barkawi’s bitterness is traced back two years prior when Asher authorized a drone strike on Barkawi’s compound on the day of Barkawi’s daughter’s wedding. Barkawi’s daughter died on his arms, and since then he compounded on his infamy and made quite a reputation for himself.
While bombings, air assaults and citywide demolition of London happen, the British authorities are out of loop. I do not know how it is possible for the James Bonds and the like to have nothing to do in the rescue effort. No intelligence, no Plan B in case Plan A goes awry and a city network that is hack-friendly. London Has Fallen shows that the British authorities are inept at their job just so Banning can shine as Asher’s one-man rescue team.
In movies like these, the main protagonists do not die. Yes, they will get gunshot wounds and bleed to the point of almost dying, but they always fight the dying of the light. They triumph over evil and quip a cool statement or two for the audience to remember after the film ends. A movie like London Has Fallen follows these to a T, with Banning hogging the screen for a good 80% of the time.
To further show that London Has Fallen is Banning-centric, towards the end of the film, Banning continues to wear the bulletproof vest while the president wears his bloody suit. I was silently screaming, “give him the vest, moron!” Also, when the Special Forces finally finds Banning and the president, Banning climbs out of the hole first and cracks a lame-ass joke before they help the president. If I were Asher, I would fire Banning to spare the audience from another yawn-inducing film with subpar acting, unfunny writing and atrocious special effects.
- Morgan Freeman as US Vice President Allan Trumbull and Angela Bassett as Director of the US Secret Service Lynne Jacobs are so wasted in this film. Gerard Butler’s lips have more screen time than both of them combined.
- When Jacobs agreed to be Banning’s daughter’s godmother, I knew right away that she would die. And she died after uttering the words, “make those fuckers pay”. Not the last words I would expect from a person of her position, but whatever.
- It is interesting to note that Barkawi killed more people than the plague, yet he was just number 6 on FBI’s Most Wanted List. Let us assume that the top 5 on the list have killed entire civilizations or bombed major planets into smithereens.
- Who is the staff member of the White House with eyebrows so high, he looked surprised all the time?
5. The worst among the lame-ass comments of Banning, “I was wondering when you were coming out of the closet.” He said this to Asher after Asher had saved his life. What a way to say thank you.