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article imageReview: No shortage of explosions in ‘London Has Fallen’ Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Mar 4, 2016 in Entertainment
‘London Has Fallen’ is a non-stop series of gunfights and explosions as a dedicated Secret Service agent once again protects the U.S. president from assassination.
The premise of so many Hollywood action movies is defending American values from terrorist threats. Typically, one lone man who embodies the courage and skills expected of an American hero risks life and limb to defeat ill-matched bad guys and save the day. While they try to hopelessly eliminate him, he racks up a body count. There's nothing as simultaneously silly and inspiring as watching the enemy fall at his feet… as he walks in plain view but miraculously avoids injury. London Has Fallen is the sequel to just such a movie in which Secret Service Agent Mike Banning is called upon to do it all over again.
While countless summits about varying topics occur annually across the globe, a must-attend state funeral is the surest event at which to gather national leaders. Thus the ceremony for the British prime minister makes the perfect target for international terrorists. With hundreds dead and several countries' chiefs murdered, Banning (Gerard Butler) is the only thing keeping the U.S. president (Aaron Eckhart) from meeting the same fate. Like rats in a maze, they race across London trying to evade would-be assassins and find a way to exit the country safely. In the meantime, MI-6 struggles to regain control of the city and figure out how the enemy was able to take it to start.
This movie begins and ends with a drone strike, which is the pillar of modern warfare and at the centre of significant controversy. As is the case with many premeditated strikes, the London assault is an act of revenge for the initial incident. But the legitimacy of either is not the movie’s concern, so it doesn’t dig too deeply into the politics or ethics; it’s simply a matter of cause and effect, good and bad guys — and blowing stuff up. Once the action-packed thrill ride gets off the ground, there’s no slowing down. There’s a terrorist with a gun or RPG around every corner and enough explosives lying around to make something go boom at regular intervals.
The key and irrefutable sentiment of this picture is “’Merica, f#%k yeah!” Banning even delivers a stirring monologue near the film’s end about the endurance of American/Western ideals in the face of terrorism. One almost expects to see an image of the stars and stripes waving in a breeze imposed on the walls of the bunker behind him. This isn’t a new sentiment in the action genre, but it’s generally not this blatant… or being spouted by a Scotsman.
Nonetheless, the numerous battles are well choreographed and designed for maximum entertainment. It doesn’t feel as if there’s repetition within the picture, nor is it directly lifting scenes from other action movies. Thus the resulting sequences and script are just inventive enough to maintain fans’ interest all the way through, finding forgiveness for the cheesy dialogue and inflated heroism.
Though there are new enemies, the key players from the original film reprise their roles. Butler is once again at the centre, demonstrating survival skills that would’ve designated Banning a classified secret weapon by now. Eckhart may play the most targeted president in screen history, but he is certainly not the most useless. Thankfully this POTUS can hold his own and doesn’t cower in the face of death — for the second time in his term. Morgan Freeman also returns as the vice-president, who spends most of his time in the White House’s Situation Room once again trying to manage the issue from afar. Finally Angela Bassett is also back as the Secret Service director and apparently one of Banning’s closest friends.
This movie is unquestionably ridiculous, but if you like big action movies that set an entire city afire and count John McClane amongst your heroes you won’t be disappointed.
Director: Babak Najafi
Starring: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart and Morgan Freeman
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