Aaron Eckhart in “London Has Fallen.”

Aaron Eckhart in “London Has Fallen.”

‘London Has Fallen”: Same deadly mayhem, only dumber

  • By Robert Horton Herald movie critic
  • Wednesday, March 2, 2016 6:33pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

Really grumpy when the president was taken hostage in “Olympus Has Fallen,” Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is still in a bad mood.

He must go to London to protect the POTUS (Aaron Eckhart) when a state funeral brings the world’s leaders together. Banning has a bad feeling about this.

And because the movie is titled “London Has Fallen,” the audience might expect the worst, too. Sure enough, an ISIS-like group unleashes an attack — payback for the drone-strike death of a terrorist’s daughter three years before—and London is paralyzed.

This sequel is less claustrophobic than its predecessor. The movie’s got scale, blithely destroying London landmarks and putting Banning and the prez into the streets as they search for safe haven.

Why not just steal a car and drive to a small town? Or go into a pub and start pouring some pints? Banning is good at crushing heads, not so much with escape plans.

The director, Babak Najafi, keeps this sprinting along so that it clocks in at 99 minutes—an especially admirable mark compared to the original film’s bloated bulk. It pauses only long enough to watch Banning drink an entire glass of water, one of the film’s many inexplicable moments.

There’s little time to fuss with the actors returning from the first film, even if they include Angela Bassett, Robert Forster, and Melissa Leo.

Morgan Freeman is also back, as a vice-president who must be getting used to the whole heartbeat-from-the-presidency thing. He looks as though he shot all of his scenes in a couple of days on a couple of sets.

For all its brutal efficiency, “London Has Fallen” is pretty ugly. Its lust for slaughtering Middle Eastern bad guys is almost ecstatic, and its eagerness to push the audience’s buttons is shameless.

Every once in a while the film feeds Gerard Butler a snarky one-liner, as though remembering that this is supposed to be like “Die Hard.” Some of these are so tone-deaf they give you the sense that nobody was actually in charge—it’s like watching a bunch of kids make a movie with a big budget.

Except the kids would be having more fun. The dumb kick of a cheesy action movie quickly sours into unpleasantness as our indestructible hero and our studly president crack jokes in the aftermath of the massacre of world leaders.

And you thought Rambo was dead.

“London Has Fallen” 1 1/2 star

This sequel to “Olympus Has Fallen” has Gerard Butler once again saving the president (Aaron Eckhart). This time the action is swifter, dumber, and much closer to “Rambo” than “Die Hard” in its glee at killing.

Rating: R, for violence, language

Showing: Alderwood Mall, Cinebarre, Everett, Galaxy Monroe, Stanwood, Meridian, Sundance, Thornton Place, Woodinville, Cascade Mall, Oak Harbor Plaza

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