London Has Fallen (2016)

  • Time: 99 min
  • Genre: Action | Crime | Thriller
  • Director: Babak Najafi
  • Cast: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman


After the British Prime Minister has passed away under mysterious circumstances, all leaders of the Western world must attend his funeral. But what starts out as the most protected event on earth, turns into a deadly plot to kill the world’s most powerful leaders and unleash a terrifying vision of the future. The President of the United States, his formidable secret service head and an English MI-6 agent who trusts no one are the only people that have any hope of stopping it.


  • Quickie Review:

    Prime Minister of UK has passed away and a funeral to be attended by world leaders is organised in London. Unbeknownst to everyone a terrorist group plots to assassinate the world leaders including US President Asher (Aaron Eckhart). Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) against all odds must carry out his duty as a Secret Service agent to protect and escort the President to safety. London Has Fallen continues the cheesiness of the previous film Olympus Has Fallen. If you hated the original, there is not much to change your mind in this sequel. Even for the fans of the original, the movie is a disappointment because it takes a step back by scaling up the setting, reducing the sense of danger. While it is not a complete disaster of a film, it’s not completely worth the price of a ticket.

    Full Review:

    I remember when the first movie Olympus Has Fallen released, it wasn’t well received by everyone. I understand their reasons for not liking it. However, I still found some guilty enjoyment out of the movie because it reminded me of the 80’s and 90’s action. In many ways it was a Die Hard light. So I was looking forward to London Has Fallen, but even with my hopes for another guilty pleasure I wasn’t all too impressed by the movie.

    If you are looking for a gratuitously violent action film, then London Has Fallen will deliver. When the action hits, it’s bloody, explosive, and sometimes a little cringe worthy. One of my biggest problems I have with current action films is the over dependence on shaky cam to deliver tension to a fight. It’s often an annoying, disorienting, and uninteresting technique. This movie uses none of it. The action is well executed, you’ll be able to clearly see what the heck is going on. In fact there was a shootout that is shot in one continuous take, and it was great! You are in the thick of it all, seeing our hero at his best. Other than the action, the chemistry between Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart continues to be good if you don’t mind some cheesy banter. Although these positives are very important, it’s about all the praise I can give this movie.

    For some reason Hollywood has the impression that bigger is always better. This time around the movie doesn’t take place in one building, but rather in an entire city. Having the story set throughout the city means the action is taking place sparsely over an open space. In the previous movie, the claustrophobic setting of the White House infested with terrorists brought on a sense of constant danger. Whereas in this film, Butler will from time to time fight a strangling group and once the fight is over the danger dissipates quickly. So I’m not as invested anymore. Then there is the villain whose motivation is very strong and relevant to present day war. Yet he is completely wasted because all he does is sit behind a computer broadcasting threats. It would’ve been a lot more interesting if he orchestrated the entire operation on ground and faced Butler’s and Eckhart’s characters personally. That interaction would have brought weight to all the destruction and explosions we saw throughout the movie. On a side note for the international viewers, yes there is a lot of ‘Murica f*** yeah moments, so it’s up to you how much tolerance you have for that. Personally it didn’t bother me. Additionally there are some laughable CGI in the first half but again considering its limited budget, I can look past it unlike another recent god awful Gerard Butler release: Gods of Egypt.

    In the end London Has Fallen was a disappointment, even for me who enjoyed the cheesy action of the first movie. So I can guess that if you hated Olympus Has Fallen, this sequel will definitely not bring you back around. The hand to hand combat and shootouts are filmed well, and is by far the strength of the movie. Still the upscaling to a city wide action did not work to its favour. There is some entertainment to be had but it’s definitely not strong enough even for the fans.

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  • I believe Gerard Butler to be a good actor. I also believe that he makes bad choices in the roles he takes. Playing for Keeps, Movie 43, Gods of Egypt, Chasing Mavericks, Gamer. King Leonidas really needs to fire his agent (if he hasn’t already). Gerard’s latest is 2016’s London Has Fallen (my newest write-up). It’s an uber-sequel to the lousily excessive Olympus Has Fallen and only exists because that vehicle became a so-so to moderate hit. Whereas “Olympus” felt like the ultimate Die Hard rip-off, “London” feels like a remake of Invasion U.S.A. (1985). Whereas “Olympus” proclaimed Butler to be the poor man’s Bruce Willis, “London” now has him conveying Chuck Norris. Bodies pile up, cardboard villains bite the territorial dust, London city landmarks are blown to smithereens, and countless rounds of ammunition are discharged. Oh look kids, there’s Big Ben, and there’s Parliament. Ha-ha.

    Anyway, Olympus Has Fallen was directed by Antoine Fuqua. London Has Fallen passes the reins over to relative unknown, Babak Najafi. Najafi doesn’t stray from Fuqua’s previous vision. He keeps the proceedings fast and brainless, patchy and dippy. “London’s” action scenes like in “Olympus”, consist of gunfights promoting the look of a video game (Call of Duty comes to mind). There’s nothing visceral here, just mounds of bullets and bad guys groaning briefly before they parish. As for the special effects shots, well they sort of look fake and cartoonish. It’s as if a helicopter flew over the calm city of London, England (to shoot dailies) and then the CGI artists came in to add some sham, death and destruction. That sort of buffoonery worked with the Transformer movies. Here, it’s obvious and kind of laughable.

    Containing many, unnecessary insert titles, harboring a screenplay that took four writers to complete, and owning a strong cast for such a silly actioner (Morgan Freeman, Jackie Earle Haley, Angela Basset, Melissa Leo), London Has Fallen never makes any mention towards its predecessor from 2013. You could walk into it thinking everything was its own movie. The story is as follows: Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is about to be a father. He and his wife Leah (played by Radha Mitchell) are expecting a child in about two weeks. At the same time, Banning is contemplating resigning from his job via protecting President Benjamin Asher (played by Aaron Eckhart). In the process of drafting his resignation letter, Mike finds out that a British Prime Minister has died prompting him to accompany said President to London for a state funeral. All the world leaders show up there too but for some reason, a terrorist organization wants to kill all of them (quickly) and then capture President Asher for means of a public execution (YouTube here it comes). With “London”, I’ve never seen automatic weapons fired so quickly and so hastily in a feature film. Again, this harks back to my video game perception stated earlier.

    Now as mentioned in the first paragraph, I don’t think of Gerard Butler as being bad at acting. I do however, feel that registering as an action hero is not quite his forte. Despite plugging tons of bad guys and even dispatching them in the style of Michael Myers (same knife too), he lacks the wit of a 90’s Bruce Willis, the accent and one-liners of an Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the overall coolness of one Liam Neeson. Yeah he looks manly but resorts to grimacing at the camera, subjugating an impractical one man army persona, and spouting plenty of F-bombs. You end up rooting for his character the way you would root for action monger Jason Statham (that can’t be good). Bottom line: With a dilettante slickness and an evaporating running time (99 non-epic minutes), London Has Fallen isn’t the worst action movie to date. It does though, register just above a rental. My rating: 2 stars.

    Of note: There’s a scene in “London” where a chopper crashes after being shot down. In said chopper is President Asher (Eckhart), Secret Service director Lynn Jacobs (Angela Basset), Butler’s Mike Banning, and I guess two pilots. Who do you think survives without any internal injuries and almost no bruising? That’s right, the Prez and his protective badass in Banning. Oh Hollywood, you never disappoint.

    Rating: 2 out of 4 stars

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  • In 2013, two films came out which featured attacks on the White House, Olympus Has Fallen & White House Down, and no one could imagine either of these outlandish films to get a sequel. Well, we were partly correct as White House Down is indeed not receiving a sequel (knocks on wood) but the former is but this time it is London that has fallen.

    The sequel to the worldwide smash hit “Olympus Has Fallen.” The story begins in London, where the British Prime Minister has passed away under mysterious circumstances. His funeral is a must-attend event for leaders of the western world. However, what starts out as the most protected event on Earth turns into a deadly plot to kill the world’s most powerful leaders, devastate every known landmark in the British capital, and unleash a terrifying vision of the future. Only three people have any hope of stopping it: the President of the United States (Aaron Eckhart), his formidable Secret Service head (Gerard Butler), and an English MI-6 agent who rightly trusts no one.

    London Has Fallen is an action film before anything else but attempts to enter the world of politics by making their villain very ISIS-esque. They should of just stuck with action as the politics behind the film could give you glimpses of what to expect if Trump is elected president. The film begins with a drone attack on a Pakistani wedding which intentions of killing the main villain Aamir Barkawi. The attack is completely unsuccessful as Barkawi survives and innocent civilians are murdered. This attack is why Barkawi launches the strike on global leaders and when explains his reasoning to President Asher, Asher calls it insane. Our president even tells our terrorist to head back to “F—headistan or wherever you’re from.” Yeah, the politics are off with this one for sure.

    But like I mentioned, London Has Fallen is an action film before anything and sadly, the action doesn’t make any sense either. At one point, Gerald Butler’s Mike Banning takes down a Delta-force of terrorist with nothing but a knife. In fact, Banning only gets hit once throughout the entire film and that is when a bullet barely touched him.

    It is simple, London Has Fallen is just outlandish from beginning to the end but we do have some fun set pieces before Banning becomes a super solider and kills everyone without even being scratched.

  • London Has Fallen is one of those barely serviceable action movies with paint-by-numbers plotting and ultra-simplistic characters that may be best viewed in the comfort of one’s own home as one performs various chores whilst the film’s various goings-on serve as background noise. If nothing else, this wholly unnecessary sequel makes one appreciate its moderately successful predecessor, Olympus Has Fallen, which at least cleared the low bar it set for itself.

    The original also had the benefit of director Antoine Fuqua’s well-honed razzle-dazzle to temper the ordinariness of that particular slab of cheese. His successor, Babak Najafi, knows enough to blow up stuff but his lack of finesse results in a grinding monotony. Certainly Najafi rises to the occasion during London Has Fallen’s main set-piece, a coordinated series of bombings carried out by Middle Eastern arms dealer Aamir Barkawi (Alon Moni Aboutboul), exacting payback for a drone strike that killed his daughter and most of the guests attending her wedding. Barkawi’s revenge results in the deaths of a handful of world leaders, many of whom had gathered in London to attend the funeral of the Prime Minister.

    Though audiences have been overfed with the now obligatory destruction of seemingly amaranthine landmarks, there is still a basic knee-jerk thrill at seeing the Houses of Parliament or Chelsea Bridge fall so easily into smithereens. Ditto for witnessing highly-trained, very skilled security teams scrambling to get their bearings amidst the mayhem in order to ensure the safety of their assigned world leader. For a brief moment, there was a hope that London Has Fallen was going to be an all-star team of international agents banding together to fight the disposable minions deployed by Barkawi. How this hope ever came to pass is beyond understanding since, in London Has Fallen’s narrow-minded worldview, no one is worth saving other than American president Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart), and no man more equipped to kick terrorist ass than buffalo in a suit, Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler).

    Butler’s Banning is no John McClane – and Butler definitely does not have Bruce Willis’ light touch – but he is a blunt and manfully gruff enough presence to maintain a modicum of audience interest. Butler may have come into prominence a decade or two too late – he would have done well during the Eighties or Nineties when these type of eye-for-an-eye action pics were often more enjoyable than they had any right to be. Butler is the star and given the most to do in this dreck, with a cadre of fine supporting actors like Morgan Freeman, Melissa Leo, Robert Forster, Jackie Earle Haley, and Angela Bassett predominantly relegated to staring at monitors.

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  • “We’re bringing the war, to you. Make no mistake. This is the day, when your world changes forever.”

    Dumbest movie of the year. A sort of sequel to “Olympus Has Fallen” but this time the battlefield is moved to the UK. Especially to the metropolis of London. The same key figures were gathered again. Aaron Eckhart plays again the role of US President Benjamin Asher who managed to survive a terrorist attack by overzealous North Koreans in the previous film. And this with the help of the disgraced secret agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler). Morgan Freeman is back again to take over the President’s tasks as Vice President as soon as Asher ends up in an awkward position. This time it’s during the solemn funeral of the Prime Minister of England. The idea of Butler to hang his secret agent braces on the peg (as he’s about to become a father), is forgotten temporarily so that he can accompany the President to this state funeral.

    The moment the most important government leaders arrive for the ceremony at St Paul’s cathedral, all hell breaks loose. London is being reduced to a smoldering war zone where major known landmarks are transformed into ruins and twisted steel. Admittedly, it sometimes looks impressive and this chaotic situation is shown in a convincing way. But you can’t say that the special effects are very present-day. They look downright lousy sometimes. Especially the crash of the Presidential helicopter looked like crap.

    Don’t get me wrong. I really enjoy an action-soaked movie once and a while. Such an action movie where you have to put your brains on mute momentarily. But there’s a difference between mindless and entertaining action pulp and a plain utter dumb spectacle. When suddenly half of London throws off his disguise during the most secured ceremony and starts to kill every bystander (even a grenade launcher appeared from under a djellaba), this felt downright ridiculous. Maybe it’s suitable for raising the level of spectacle. But after the terrorist attacks we faced recent years, this was absolutely insulting. I can imagine that people who do their best while working for the national security, would be p*ssed and turn their back towards this film after seeing such an amateurish organization.

    To be honest, I thought “Olympus Has Fallen” had a bit of originality, although it shamelessly copied the “Die Hard” formula. But this film smells purely of commercial extortion. So they can exploit the moderate success of the previous one even more. Adding the sentimental topic of Banning’s pregnant wife and the wrenching dilemma Mike is facing, was a weak attempt to bring some variation. And don’t get me started about the cheesy dialogue and failed attempts to bring some humor. Only the parodies on some European government leaders (with a flirty Berlusconi as highlight), I could appreciate a bit. I’m just hoping there won’t be a group of insane morons who’ll use this film as a guide to try something similar anywhere in the world.

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  • I was shocked to read all the bad reviews of this film! From start to finish it was action packed, i couldn’t keep my eyes off the screen! Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart both play their characters so well it was better than Olympus has Fallen…although I loved that film also.

    The pace is just right and the story is well laid out by establishing the reason for the attack by taking out the the arms dealer in the beginning. Things move quickly from DC to London where rather tongue in cheek humor shows the different heads of state including a woman for Germany and an older man with a young lady/ mistress for Italy.

    The action is very well done. Nothing deja vu here. You’ve get everything here. Firstly the disaster sequences are well done – not fake looking because they aren’t over the top, from car bombs to bridges and Westminster Abbey blown up to boats exploding. The helicopter sequence is outstanding and quite scary. Then there are some pretty impressive fight scenes that are brisk and fresh. The street fighting scenes are almost video game like but entertaining. Finally even though you know the outcome, the threat of online beheading is quite scary.

    Gerard Butler is surprisingly right for the role – believable in his action and convincing in his determination. He acts like someone who could pull it off and delivers some snappy one liners. Aaron Eckhart plays the President who can handle a weapon. Good support from Angela Bassett and of course Morgan Freeman is the Vice President. Charlotte Riley handles things on the British side and she is not too glamorous to be unrealistic.

    There may be a bit of political incorrectness in the way there the “terrorists” are dispatched rapidly and in large quantities. But that’s the nature of this type of movie and there are white villains too. The director is of Iranian descent and does a terrific job.

    Well done!

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