London Has Fallen
Director: Babak Najafi
Writer: Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt, Christian Gudegast, Chad St. John
Sequel to: Olympus Has Fallen
Cast: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Radha Mitchell, Angela Bassett, Morgan Freeman, Jackie Earle Haley, Melissa Leo, Alon Aboutboul
Seen on: 13.3.2016
Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is about to resign from his job in the Secret Service as the bodyguard of President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart), despite the fact that he and Asher are very close indeed. But Mike’s wife Leah (Radha Mitchell) is expecting and he wants to take it more slowly when the kid arrives. Before that, though, news that the English Prime Minister died reaches Asher. It’s clear that like most of the world’s most prominent politicians, Asher will have to attend the funeral in London and Mike will come with him. But an event like that is the perfect place for an attack – which is just what happens, leaving Mike and Benjamin stranded in London, fighting for survival.
I really hadn’t planned on seeing this. I pretty much hated Olympus Has Fallen (much preferring White House Down) and so putting myself through the sequel seemed like a non-starter. But then puzzledpeaces made puppy eyes at me and I found myself packing a whole lot of alcohol and resigning myself to my fate. It turns out that London Has Fallen is not necessarily a better film than Olympus Has Fallen, but it is more entertaining. Do take that as the very faint praise it is, though.
London Has Fallen is pretty much a mess in all respects. It’s certainly racist as fuck, with a lot of brown people chasing our two white heroes who never get more motivation than that they’re evil. And evil. Oh, and did I mention they were evil? To add insult to injury, all those chase and fight scenes were edited to incomprehensibility and usually ended in way too much gunfire than was interesting or good for my ears.
As the film drudges through cliché after badly executed, meaningless cliché and even kill off Angela Bassett’s character which is like a special kind of offense that should be punishable by law, there are only two things that make the film bearable – and thus more entertaining than the first part. One is alcohol and thank goodness I had enough of that.
The other thing is the fact that what we’re treated to with this film is a secret RomCom with all the right cues for an epic love story between Mike and Benjamin. If they had managed to get rid of heteronormativity as easily as of Mike’s alibi wife, the story might have profited from a fleshed-out relationship. As it is, my slash-fiction-trained brain had a whole lot of fun with the huge gap between homoerotic content and the awareness of it.
That didn’t save the film. It couldn’t have, the film sucks. But at least it gave my brain something to focus on and laugh about. And I’ve definitely pictured worse things in my life than Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart. But the film is not worth it. [That is probably the reason why there is surprisingly little Banning/Asher fanfiction. Which would probably be much better than the original in any case.]