Sunday, 27 March 2016

#18 LONDON HAS FALLEN


Starring: Gerald Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Alon Moni Aboutboul, Angela Bassett, Robert Forster. Written by Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikit, Chad St. John and Christian Gudegast. Directed by Babak Najafi. 99 minutes long. Budget $60 million.

Look, I'm not ashamed to admit I loved the first film - Olympus Has Fallen, just loved it (apart from the truly shit CGI effects that really were wretched), so I was bloody excited about the sequel. I got down on my knees and prayed to the only god there is - the god of Hollywood - to make this like a proper old-school sequel, not one of those modern ones, where they try and re-invent the wheel. I wanted some of my favourite scenes revisited, I wanted what I loved first time round repeated - just bigger and most of all I wanted the same sense of relentless, vicious silliness that made the first film so glorious.

So, what did I get? Where my prayers answered? Well, sort of. It's certainly old school, it's bigger, louder and far more stupid than its predecessor but it's sadly not quite as good. It suffers from the same problems that Die Hard 2: Die Harder did, which is once you take your characters out of single location and give them more room to run around in, you sort of diminish the threat and make the situation look far too easy. Plus it's lacking a final mano-a-mano showdown.

This time round, rather than have our plucky heroes - US President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) and Secret Service serial killer Mike Banning (Gerald Butler), holed up in say, 10 Downing Street for the duration of the movie, the four-man writing team decided to make them run around an utterly deserted London for the all too-brief running time of 99 minutes.

The plot, for there is one, just - as in just to justify the outlandishly ridiculous action that is to follow, sees Asher, Banning and the heads of several 'free-world' states arrive in London for the funeral of the British Prime Minister. Luckily irate Pakistani arms-dealer and terrorist has been plotting for such a day since his entire family was eradicated at a family wedding several years earlier.

So, on the day of the funeral and on the steps of St. Pauls, it's revealed that the entire Metropolitan Police Force has been replaced by heavily armed terrorists and before you can say, 'hang on, that seems a bit far fetched.' Every London landmark has been obliterated in terrible CGI explosions and all the Heads of State are dead-dead. EXCEPT, wait for it... Asher and Banning! Who must now run around London killing all the terrorists before they can kill them.

After that it's just a series of fantastically repetitively stupid action sequences and OTT violence as Banning dispatches a slew of nameless fanatics with a series of knives, guns, bombs and his bare hands. The best bit in the film sees Banning repeatedly stab a terrorist to death in front of his horrified President who asks his psychotic body guard, "Was that necessary?" to which Banning replies, "No." Seriously, you had to be there.

Now, I'm not saying this is good cinema, I'm not saying it's well acted, or written, or even directed, indeed none of the above, but it is nevertheless stupidly enjoyable and I loved every minute of it. It does what it says on the tin and best of all, it's not making any attempt to say something new or radical. It's just a great big dumb, stupid action film starring a great big dumb stupid action hero.

This is the perfect Saturday night movie to be enjoyed with a Chinese takeaway or a big tub of Kentucky Fried chicken.

7/10!

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