London Has Fallen

Posted on March 3, 2016 at 5:22 pm

Copyright Gramercy 2016
Copyright Gramercy 2016

“London Has Fallen” is a love letter from producer-star Gerard Butler to himself and every bit as dumb and dreary as that sounds. This sequel to the more violent of the two attack on the White House movies of 2013 follows an opening scene of a drone attack on a terrorist group, establishing the revenge motive, with a re-introduction to our hero, manly showboat Secret Service hero Mike Banning (Butler), out jogging with (and out-jogging) President Benjamin Asher. “What are you made of?” the President asks with the same air of astonished admiration producer/star Butler clearly expects from the audience. “Bourbon and bad choices,” says Mike, letting us know that he is harder than nails and tougher than hell. All right, then!

Bad news from London. The Prime Minister has died. So that means all the world leaders will attend the funeral, creating a security problem of unprecedented proportions and a heck of a traffic jam, too. Meanwhile, just to amp up the emotion in the laziest possible way, manly Mike and his adoring wife Leah (Radha Mitchell) are expecting a child. Mike stops home to chat with her about paint samples for the new nursery (and whether six security cameras trained on the crib is overdoing it, “and a Kevlar mattress,” ha ha). He also composes a draft letter of resignation but has to leave when the President needs him for the trip to London.

The rest of the movie is just a lot of shooting and explosions as most of the world leaders are wiped out and Mike has to keep the President safe and get him back to Washington. Plus some totally predictable (especially if you saw the last one) scenes of officials back home in the situation room watching intently on screens and saying things like “I think you’d better see this,” and at least one highly predictable death of a major character and at least one “surprise” about a traitor who turns out to be someone previously trusted.

I’d say it was more FPS game than movie, but at least in a game there is some excitement in the challenge of skill and timing. This is just passively watching things and people getting blown up and blown away, with many squishy sounds to remind us that blood is spurting. It is porn-y and fetishistic in the loving depiction of so much carnage, with iconic locations destroyed and many characters killed.

Just as distasteful is the portrayal of producer/star Butler as super-smart, always right, always picking the right target to hit and the right corner to turn, and able to take out dozens of bad guys all by himself, every single time. Excesses of self-regard and self-promotion are dwarfed by a complete failure of self-awareness. Mike blows away yet another swarthy generic bad guy and someone says, “Was that necessary?” “No,” Mike answers casually and moves on to the next one.

Those bad guys are tough. Not only do they blow up the city and murder world leaders, they “are all over social media.” Try burning that down, Mike Banning!

Gerard, was this movie necessary?


Parents should know that this movie has extensive, intense and graphic peril and violence with guns, explosions, terrorism, and many characters injured and killed, disturbing images, world leaders assassinated, massive destruction, and constant strong language.

Family discussion: How do Mike and the President see things differently? If you were running the Secret Service, what would you do to protect the President?

If you like this, try: “Olympus Has Fallen” and “G.I. Joe”

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Action/Adventure Series/Sequel