London Has Fallen
Cert: 15 / 99 mins / Dir. Babak Najafi / Trailer
So that's Spring knocking on the door, and we can say hello again to some of the cheapest explosion-CGI available combined with a screenplay which is both so ludicrous yet mechanical at the same time that it's like Optimus Prime dancing the Can-Can! Yes, it can only be the flag-waving, victim-revelling unasked-for sequel to 2013's Stop That Foreigner! caper.
This time the action takes place in Old Blighty with the requisite number of the capital's landmarks being symbolically trashed by Them Nasty Terrorists™ (fair play to them, they synchronised their unfeasibly large terrorist network far better than their dialogue in the film's opening scene, which looked like the kind of dubbing usually reserved for a Saniflo advert). This is followed by The London Attack™, in which the world heads-of-state all appear to be travelling to the British Prime Minister's funeral by suspiciously different modes of transport, and are picked off with jingoistic irony.
[The French president is killed whilst being deliberately and petulantly late for the funeral, his Italian counterpart canoodling on the top of Westminster Abbey with his mistress, and the Japanese Prime Minister stuck in the traffic like a disorganised, hapless buffoon. At this point the film feels a little like a big-screen reboot of Mind Your Language. Or a N*gel F*r*ge daydream. Either or both.]
Surviving the attack despite only ducking slightly to outsmart several attackers with assault rifles and rocket launchers, chiselled US president Aaron Eckhart goes for a jog through central London, trying frantically to keep up with wisecracking Gerard Butler's wandering accent (grunting his lines like a Scotch Batman), while Morgan Freeman is taped firmly into the autopilot's seat back in Washington DC to gasp and scowl at a series of blue-screens, his role in the film completed inside a weekend. But as this is a sequel, we now have two sets of headquarters where people run around aimlessly in the background with plastic cups of coffee and blank sheets of paper. And as a bonus, the MI-6 office is headed up by Mr Colin Salmon, his eyes almost burning into the camera as his stare screams "Yeah, you remember me. I was the first black actor you wanted to play James Bond. Who the fuck is this Ingis Elbow and how have I been cast in an action-movie as a middle-aged, desk-bound police commissioner?"
Cutting to the chase (which coincidentally is exactly what the film does, briskly powering through its obligatory first-act), London Has Fallen is every bit as good or bad as you'd want and expect. And credit where it's due: the night-time shootout between the SAS and terrorist machine-gun-squads is pretty bloody impressive (although by that point, it's given up being a film and has just turned into the audience watching Butler playing a FPS game. Again). This is also the segment of the film where the SAS leader has a broad Scottish accent and you can see Butler's struggle as he tries to reply in the American accent he already couldn't maintain.
Okay, it's pretty crap, but largely passable crap.
Certainly not as hysterically-shrieking as its predecessor, at any rate*1.
The first one.
It's doubtful your experience will be enhanced or dampened by the size of the screen, to be fair.
Didn't hear one, but it could well have been buried under all that gunfire.
Level 2: London Has Fallen features a 'sitting in the background looking concerned' performance from Robert Forster, who had considerably more fun in Jackie Brown opposite Sam 'Windu' Jackson.
*1 And before you mention it, I have no idea why I gave Olympus Has Fallen 5/7. Even the tone of the review is completely withering, so who knows what I was thinking? This one only scrapes through with a four because I know other people will enjoy it (no believe me, I know those people).
• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
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