Keanu Reeves is hailed for launching an original action franchise, and rightly so, because in the age of Big IP, that is nearly impossible. But he is not the only actor to front an original action franchise—Gerard Butler has his own original action franchise in the “Fallen” series. You know the ones, where he is the super double extra special very best Secret Service agent that has ever lived. (Not to be confused with the movies where Butler is the best cop, best submarine commander, and best scientist. No one loves to be The Best more than Gerard Butler.) The “Fallen” movies are kind of like John Wick, just without the style, comedy, or Keanu, and with decidedly less spectacular action plus a helping of xenophobia for garnish. So like budget John Wick.
The latest “Fallen” movie is Angel Has Fallen, and if you know anything about Gerard Butler’s penchant for playing overachievers, you know that “Angel” refers to Butler’s character. Yes, that’s right, Gerard Butler is the angel who has fallen, framed for trying to murder President Morgan Freeman. (I can’t remember any character names from these movies, because everyone is just playing a heightened version of their public persona.) The movie looks exactly as dumb as you think a movie would be in which Gerard Butler plays the very best Secret Service agent, framed for the president’s murder. Which is to say, it looks about as dumb as Very Best Submarine movie Hunter Killer, but not as dumb as Very Best Scientist movie Geostorm. Though to be fair, I’m not sure anything is as dumb as Geostorm.
If they can make one of these movies without the xenophobic/jingoistic bent of the other two, I would be into it. The “Fallen” movies are super stupid, but are held back from true dumb-fun entertainment by their barely-latent racist portrayals of the bad guys, who are always brown people. This one, however, looks like a “the call is coming from inside the house” scenario, so maybe the bad guys this time around are like, hard right extremists or something. I would just like one of these movies to not have gross racist undertones because the “Fallen” movies are so spectacularly stupid, they should be topping B-movie watch marathons everywhere, but the bad guy situation makes them a little hard to get through. This one, though, really looks like budget John Wick, right down to the man on the run with an unlikely ally plot. All it needs is a dog, though knowing Gerard Butler, it would have to be the best dog ever, and we all know that the very best dogs are already in actual John Wick.