London Has Fallen – 3/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

london has fallenLondon Has Fallen – 3/5 – In anything that you find in films; there are certain things you expect from genres.  Horrors are supposed to scare, comedies are supposed to create laughter and thrillers are supposed to push you to the edge of your seat.  In these separate thoughts, it all boils down to being entertain.  There are times that any form strays from these standards and becomes known as guilty pleasure films.  London Has Fallen brings you this kind of guilty pleasure.  Just like the first; it is over-the-top, cheesy and especially predictable.  But because of that guilty sensation the audience can sit back, relax and have enjoy the simple fun.  London Has Fallen does not have all the fun as the original film; but there is enough here to say it is entertaining.

Premise: The Prime Minister of London has passed away.  While attending the ceremony; The President and his detail (lead by Mike Banning) must find to survive a planed terrorist attack on all the world leaders in attendance.  With a race against time; Banning must find a way to uncover the plot and keep the President out of the terrorist hands.

The whole cast from the first film have returned.  If you want to see a list of actors/actresses, you can reference the list at the IMDB page.   In general, it is what you expect.  All the people are caricatures that represent some form of the commonality to the real world.  You have in this film:

The Unsung Hero/Protagonist

The Vulnerable Target

The Vengeful Terrorist/Antagonist

The Sidekick/Supporting personnel

The ‘dumb’ bad guys

This is what bubbles on the surface.  It is one-dimensional and lacking.  In any kind of film this would distract from the viewing experience.  In this kind of story, it is enjoyable in an ironic fashion.  From Gerald Butler’s Mike Banning to Alon Aboutboul’s Aamir Barkawi; you see that they know what character’s they are playing and bring out the foolery to the forefront.  It is fun and devoid of any applicable thought, but that is all you need.  The awkwardness is pushed to the wayside as you see they are there to bring something that is ‘over-the-top’ but entertain in that same fact.  The layers of characterization are obviously null and void, but all these actors/actresses know this and run with it.  They perform for the ‘B-style’ genre this film is; giving the audience something worthy of their ‘cartoon’ like characters.

I mentioned it above, but the direction follows the common aspects of a ‘B-style’ action film.  These stories play upon the basic outline of the action genres; performing along a ‘beat by beat’ structure that links the introduction (or reintroduction) of characters to new plot.  From here, its linearity takes the form of predictable tropes, soothing you within for a ride like fashion.  The film mimics the original in tone, theme and common through line, but it moves all the main returning characters to another scenario and place.  Instead of being set in Washington D.C. and the terrorist being from North Korea, the setting is in London and the terrorist are from the Middle East.  There is the same kind of ‘vengeful’ scenario for the antagonist, but the complexity of the situation is moved up a notch with some back story into the ‘motive’ of this group of terrorist.  The focus is on taking out the leaders of the G8, with the ‘lone’ survivor being (plot point) the President of the United States.  From here, it is all the common things you see in this genre:

Over-the-top action sequences

Cheesy (sometimes terrible) One-liners

Intense ‘one-on-one’ combats

A ‘race against time’ scenario

Glorified climax for Hero

A ‘new look’ on life epilogue

Everything here is just a rehashing of any typical 80’s/90’s action flick.  The linearity keeps you from breaking away from the ‘point A to B’ purposed plot, but it also takes you down a road of accepting the value of the context.  In other words, you have to suspend disbelief in some of the plot points, twist and practicalities that happens throughout.  The factor that makes it worth watching is the indulgence of the known stylization; being entertained within that core elements of nostalgia.  The direction dances the fine line of breathing commonality within entertainment and not to being too serious or depressing.  While taking this angle (like the original film); it professes the fact that the overall point is to have simple ‘dumb’ fun.  Even in the obviousness of all the action tropes, you realize that it is OK to just sit back, relax and enjoy the ride even if there’s a lack of story, depth or characterization.  Not all films are supposed to be serious, and this one knows that and gives you exactly what is expected.  The irony of that statement defies most film’s experience, but there is always an exception, which is why you have that ‘guilty pleasure’ experience.

The visuals have both good and bad parts.  The situational aspect of being set in London helps create a place of realism.  That sense adds to the intensity of some of the action scenes.  It also provides an anchor when some of the scenarios go beyond comprehensions.  The CGI is terrible, but you push it aside for the fact the ‘B-style’ mantra.  The score is nothing to clamor over.  All the music is the common sounds used to build up situations.  It proclaims the endearment (or lack thereof), of the main players in the film.

London Has Fallen is what you expect.  It is your common stylized action film that mimics any kind of ‘B-style’ genre tale.  Over-the-top, cheesy and somewhat predictable; it is a film that knows what it is and gives you just that.  If you’re a fan of the first film or like to just have good fun at the theaters, this is one for you.  Recommend as a matinee to everyone that wants to go see this.


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