London has Fallen: hasn’t it just? Positively plummeted, I’d say.
Given that so many great TV series have been built around British and American governments, perhaps it’s no surprise filmmakers have been clamouring to climb aboard the bandwagon, but in this case it’s not only London that’s fallen; seems it took all the basics of good film-making and narrative development with it.
Part of the issue is self-righteous indignation on the part of the British secret services, who appear to have been en masse away on a holiday for the duration, while the few that remain swan around ineffectually as terrorists organise themselves unhindered around a remarkably unpopulated capital.
Naturally, in the ensuing crisis it is those heroic Yanks rather than the feeble Brits who step up to the mark, though they are led in the breech by a Brit playing a Yank! That’s right, Gerald Butler does his lantern-jawed American hero bit for civilisation as the President’s bodyguard, in the manner of a wannabe Die Hard Bruce Willis and other hard men.
Butler foxes out those snivelling Middle-Eastern terrorist types (they seem to have replaced the Nazis as public enemy number 1) with a bit of help from the US in the form of the CIA special forces and veep Trumbull (aka Morgan Freeman with beard), and naturally saves the president from certain death.
This Americocentric frontiersman view of the universe might well sell cinema tickets back in the States, but it is deeply insulting to British intelligence, which surely should have reacted to LHF with disdain if not a formal complaint to the UN, but there is worse, far worse: it’s boring and dull as ditchwater!
The saga begins with the usual family guff, not to mention Banning’s drafted but not despatched resignation, before we head for London as the world mourns the death of PM James Wilson (I see what they did there – you all knew Harold Wilson‘s real first name was James, didn’t you?)
The action sequences are dreary to a fault: CGI London is blown to smithereens, then it’s biff-bang, car chases, the rat-a-tat of guns, terrorists in assorted fancy dress (London bobbies, yeomen and a host of officials – yeah, right) missing their targets but Butler’s bullets magnetically hitting their targets every time. For an action film, this is seriously dull drama, such that I ran out of empathy within the first 20 minutes and could barely concentrate on the screen thereafter.
Yawn, yawn, heard it all before. The movie is utterly predictable all through, tell the truth, especially but not exclusively the nick-of-time rescues just as President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) and the inevitable victory over arms dealer and terrorist mastermind, No. 6 on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list and all-purpose bad guy, Aamir Barkawi (Alon Moni Abutbul or Aboutboul, depending on your source – actually an Israeli actor) just as the pres is about to have his head sliced from his shoulders on live TV.
There was time for the president to be sliced into stakes and chargrilled before Butler’s Agent Mike Banning turns up, which simply allows the audience time to pour scorn on the whole process. Were I a terrorist I’d just get on with the job, not hang around for an American hero impervious to bullets to show up. But then (whisper it!), films are actually nothing like reality.
Indeed, if suspension of disbelief is on the cards then we should also include the fact that the presidential helicopter crashes but, unlike every other vehicle portrayed here, does not explode or kill all of its occupants. Yeah, right.
Sorry folks, but in spite of the marketing tripe this is simply a 1.5 * out of 5. There are very many better films you can view with your hard-earned leisure time, trust me.