Once again Hollywood has taken to a reboot, an adaptation or, in this case, a sequel for an easy cash grab. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you London has Fallen – an unnecessary sequel to the unnecessary original, Olympus Has Fallen, that has apparently established a movie franchise.
The original, was Die Hard in the White House and a grittier, more adult version of White House Down. Now, the cast (featuring Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart and Morgan Freeman) return for an even more far-fetched, over-the-top action thriller where a lone American must save the day.
As you might have guessed, this time the setting is England. Now, England is not America, so the American filmmakers have happily thrown caution into the wind in their destruction ratios and hoping to ‘outdo’ their previous efforts by obliterating centuries of British heritage.
As for the plot, we discover the Prime Minister has died and world leaders are arriving to pay their respects. However, the ‘Spidey senses’ of Secret Service Agent Mick Banning (Butler) suspect a plot…
Naturally, Banning is right, and the American President (Eckhart) is kidnapped by radical Muslim terrorists after a few meaningless, non-American leaders are assassinated.
What was at stake in the first film (Butler trying to earn his redemption) is quickly eroded by another farcical sequel opting for loud noises and explosions in lieu of character development.
This is disappointing. As violent and ridiculous as the previous instalment, Olympus Has Fallen, was, it at least had some heart at its core. On the other hand, London Has Fallen is simply another gratuitous and almost comically stupid action movie.
Not only does it suffer from an apparently smaller graphics budget than its predecessor, its reliance on clichéd stereotypes and racist undertones are simply offensive.
Is there a silver lining? Being another big, sloppy popcorn flick, this is a fun ride that is not short of action sequences and cool moments. The different setting creates a bevy of new opportunities for new characters and a more ‘global’ feel.
I get a sequel needs to up the ante on impact, but this must be circumspect on all levels. When the script and characters are weaker – noticeably weaker – it lets down an otherwise decent cast.
Overall the film is weaker and worse than Olympus Has Fallen which makes London has Fallen yet another example of a Hollywood’s increasing reluctance to invest in new ideas. At the end of the day, only the audience really pays for it, and in more ways that one.