Gerard Butler in London Has Fallen
London Has Fallen is a movie in which the leaders of several sovereign nations are explicitly and violently assassinated on camera. Then half the city of London is blown up—particularly, all the “known landmarks”, as opposed to all those unknown ones—and then we spend two hours watching as everyone in the movie is varying degrees of incompetent except for Gerard Butler. This includes a British SAS team, who are relegated to Gerard Butler’s backup and are shown to have less balls than Gerard Butler. (Sure, these guys have to be shouted into action by Spittle Gerry.) Add in some Islamophobic stereotypes as the villains and jingoistic speechifying right at the end, and you have to wonder who there is left to offend. (No one.)
The sequel to the Die-Hard-in-the-White-House movie, Olympus Has Fallen, London Has Fallen once again stars Gerard Butler as Gerard Butler, and Aaron Eckhart as President Look I Have Bills To Pay, Too. This time, though, the action moves from cheapskate White House sets to Sofia, Bulgaria, the cheapskate stand-in for London. London has a reported budget of $105 million, and I would really like to know where all that money went, because this is the cheapest looking movie since Jack and Jill. The sets look like they were borrowed from public access television, and there is so much stock footage you could make a drinking game out of spotting it. Just look for all the people in the background completely not reacting to their city exploding around them.
The plot—and I use that term very loosely—is that the president has to go to London for a state funeral after the British prime minister dies in a set of circumstances that immediately scream “Assassination.” Yet all the world leaders gather in London for the state funeral, and then begins an extended sequence of brutally murdering them, one by one, except for the president, because he’s protected by Gerard Butler, and Gerard Butler is the best at everything. He’s the smartest, most aware, strongest, fastest, bravest, knifiest person in the whole movie, and is also the only one who can get sh*t done. The Die Hard formula remains a foundation of action cinema, but part of that formula is that the hero has to be an everyman who is in over his head (like John McClane). But Gerard Butler can’t be an everyman, he has to be the Most Stupendous Man.
Most of the movie is a run-and-gun shoot’em up as the president and Gerard Butler run through the street of This Is Totally London And Not At All Eastern Europe, trying to stay ahead of the terrorists hell bent on executing the president on Youtube. This is a supremely dumb plot point but much of the action in the third act turns on the terrorists waiting to get their internet connection up and running, because slow modems are the real enemy. All of this is happening because a drone strike failed to entirely obliterate a terrorist family, so the moral of the story is basically, “Make sure your flying death-bots kill everyone the first time”.
The action in London is equivalent to watching someone else play video games, and there are a handful of first-person POV shots that make it even more game-like. It’s also largely incoherent. Director Babak Najafi (Banshee) attempts the ever-popular single-take action sequence, but it doesn’t work out and the scene is incomprehensible. Pretty much the whole movie is incomprehensible, and the parts that do make sense are so stupid they could have been written by a six year old budding psychopath. London Has Fallen thinks it’s a cool, macho movie, but it’s just dumb and ugly and loud. This is the second Gerard Butler movie I’ve reviewed this week. Which one is worse? This one. By far.