Yep, they made a third one. Why? Hell if I know.
I’m not sure if using the word ‘moderate’ to describe the success of the Olympus Has Fallen trilogy is an understatement or overstatement. The plot is simple, Morgan Freeman is the president, someone is trying to kill the president, Gerard Butler saves the president, rinse and repeat. The first film released in 2013 just barely made enough to be considered a box office success. Three years later, London Has Fallen was released. While that film did better at the box office than it’s predecessor, the film was slammed for its cheap effects and having radical Islamists as the bad guys. Yet, here we are, three years later and the Butler/Freeman duo is back with more of the same.
Our film begins once again with Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Butler) who after the events of the last two films discovers that his body is falling apart and he can’t keep being the superhero bodyguard for the president anymore. But before Mike can retire, yet another attempt at the president’s life occurs and this time, Mike is the prime suspect. In a desperate race to clear his name and save the president’s life, Mike must overcome the might of America’s top intelligence agencies to become the hero one more time.
Angel Has Fallen is a decent film if you can ignore the faults, starting with the plot. Superstar bodyguard Mike Banning takes the fall for a failed presidential assassination. Despite the overwhelming evidence of a clear cut setup, the FBI has no problem believing that Banning, the man who went through hell on two occasions to protect the president now suddenly tried to kill him…Sure. Angel Has Fallen resurrects the Bush-era subplot of privatizing war while squeezing in some anti-war messaging, shoehorning a conflict created by Russia, and sprinkling in a line where the antagonist wants to make America ‘Strong’ again…
The camerawork of modern action films has become a complete headache, violently shaking the camera to enhance gunfire turns a mid-budget action film into a motion sickness diaster minutes into the runtime. Cheap effects have always marred this series and while this film vastly improves on the last one, there are still issues with the visual effects.
If you toss all of that out of your mind, it isn’t a bad watch. The action is standard, but if that is all you are coming here for, you’ll enjoy it. Mike’s father played by Nick Nolte absolutely steals the film. A deranged isolationist providing some good humor and most of the cheers make Nick a positive addition. There are lots of good set pieces and action sequencing that you will get captured in, which is the most you can ask for a film like this.
As much as I wanted to be cynical about this film, Angel Has Fallen has a lot more going for it than working against. With that said, I’d wait to Redbox or rent the film, it’s a far better waste of time than the third season of Stranger Things.