Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases
Gerard Butler – Mike Banning, Secret Service agent
Aaron Eckhart – Benjamin Asher, President of the United States
Alon Moni Aboutboul – Aamir Barkawi
Morgan Freeman – Allan Trumbull
Angela Bassett – Lynne Jacobs
Philip Delancy – President of France
Alex Giannini – Prime Minister of Italy
Nancy Baldwin – Chancellor of Germany
Nigel Whitmey – Prime Minister of Canada
Tsuwayuki Saotome – Prime Minister of Japan
In a word – the special effects used during London Has Fallen were fucking fantastic, sheer entertainment. This is my first and main observation of the movie, the actual plot taking a back seat. Once again (as with any effective movie that blows me away) my verbal reaction was audible to most people sat near me in the auditorium; mainly one of my favourite phrases, “holy shit”. I wondered before it started how they would ‘do’ London blowing up – and I wasn’t disappointed. The visuals in London Has Fallen were incredibly convincing, I’d go as far as to say epic. The producers put a lot into the production with a nice mix of explosions and stunts. When it comes to the characters and their backgrounds, the movie is rather quiet – as in nothing thrilling happening between them. I can only put this down to the fact that 90% of the movie’s energy is filtered into hitting the audience with as much carnage as possible. But it works. In the end, I couldn’t give a shit about Banning’s pregant wife being at home with her mother in the States (who’s wife isn’t pregnant, comforted by a family member and watching her husband on the TV in an action movie?), for me it was purely the fact London was being torn apart that held my interest.
I’m a devoted Londoner myself who loves a good stroll along the Thames with a hot latte, so have nothing against the City at all. But watching major landmarks falling over or famous public areas bursting into flames is fascinating stuff (I should also add I have no intention of being a terrorist).
Whether it was Chelsea Bridge unravelling and snapping in half, the top of Westminster Abbey exploding or St. Paul’s being rained on with bullets, it was this action which kept my eyes firmly fixed on the screen. The fact this action was helped massively by stunning graphics made it all the more better, I was loving it. The Houses of Parliament shatter and crumble, the BT Tower (didn’t expect that one) explodes and Trafalgar Square becomes carnage when the Canadian Prime Minister’s limo explodes as he’s riding through.. this was turning out to be my kind of movie.
So the story may have been a bit shit, but by Christ – I knew visually I was on to a winner. And with the Thames becoming a tsunami at one stage, I was reminded of San Andreas (2015); a special effects movie just because it could be. A showcase of CGI which left the actual story to go to hell and focused purely on showering the audience with powerful special effects. London Has Fallen without a doubt won me over with this element, especially as it made me vocalise my reaction a few times (especially with cries of, “fucking Jesus” and, “Jesus Christ”. Thank god I’m not religious).
The Buckingham Palace soldiers deliver a deliciously nasty surprise near the beginning of the London attacks too. I won’t give the plot away with juicy detail, but the scene where the Palace guards are on a march of the grounds turns very sour – and shocked me massively, again exhaling an expletive. Such treacherous actions sent a thrilling shiver down my spine with my mouth left hanging open, I bloody loved it.
London Has Fallen contains all the cliché action movie traits:
– the bad guys never think to shoot the tyres of a vehicle that is chasing them – instead they hang out of their car window, pumping bullets into bulletproof windows of the vehicle in pursuit (would it not be advisable to ‘pop’ the tyres, therefore bringing the good guys’ vehicle to a halt?).
– the enemy reaches for his / her gun swiftly.. and then takes a fucking eternity to raise it into the air, before slowly gripping the trigger, and – BANG – the good guy gets the first shot because the enemy was too slow. The classic long pause before the enemy raises their gun gets on my nerves.
– the action movie ‘stupids’ (bad guys) who run in a straight line like Lemmings towards the hero (Butler) resulting in the hero (one singular man) gunning his way through 12-15 of them. (you’d have thought with the years of strategic planning it took for these boys to launch an attack on London, they would be able to target a single man in a hallway).
– the President of the United States of America gets abducted halfway through the movie. It’s all tears and anger as he tries to fight the enemies who take him.
Oh no.. will he be okay?!..
They always do.
– towards the end of the movie when Barkawi has President Asher on his knees in front of the world, the terrorist mastermind grabs a machetti from a platform next to him with which he intends to execute the President. However, for what the man makes up in evil intent he certainly lacks in wrist action. Because it takes him a few (VERY LONG) moments to raise the machetti..
..before being stopped by a main character who bursts into the room (wonderful lack of security this mastermind has also) and stops him.
London Has Fallen reminded me slightly of a Pantomime; dramatic lengthy pauses between evil actions giving enough time for the hero to swoop in and thwart the nasty plan.
Pregnant wife, loyal work colleagues who get bumped off, clueless members of an intelligence agency, terrorists who seem to fail spectacularly at what they’ve succeeded at previously, and Morgan Freeman sat in a leather chair.
It’s your classic tacky American action flick, made up of all the ingredients a predictable load of trash contains, and I’m willing to bet at least 85% of viewers of London Has Fallen will start watching it, knowing exactly what will happen and how it will end. It really is that sort of movie you’re dealing with here.
During one scene, Banning and President Asher stumble through the streets of London seeking cover from the terrorists (oh, how I loved those days myself – stumbling through streets of Westminster after a heavy night out in Soho). They come to one of London’s tube stations – Charing Cross.
I recognised it immediately as Moorgate with a fake ‘Charing Cross’ sign stuck over the top of it. A bit Cross, but not actually Charing Cross. Seeing as the producers had used practically every major public area in Greater London, I couldn’t fathom why they had to fake Charing Cross. Although perhaps it was full of rush-hour commuters at the time they were filming; I did notice at one point (when the current time pops up in the bottom left corner of the screen) it stated 6:30pm. But it was so obviously 6:30am. As the two characters crossed a main London street, a yellowy sky and hazy morning glow gave the appearance that it was dawn – very early morning.
I don’t like to be picky. But I do like to be observant.
To summarise, London Has Fallen is bloody awful. From its irritating ‘heroic music pounding over the top of ‘best buddie’ footage between a President and his Secret Service agent’ moments, to predictable scenarios you can see coming from a mile off, this movie is the same. The same as any other cliché yankee bullshit you’ve seen in the past. There is nothing new or original at all here in terms of plot, characters and cast, action, twist.
BUT – the special effects used are brilliantly refreshing and the best thing about the movie. You may let the whole thing go straight over your head whilst watching, but make sure you focus during scenes which use these effects; a lot of effort has gone into them and it pays off nicely.