Olympus Has Fallen was a decent action film, with Butler on good form in very patriotic take on Die Hard.
London Has Fallen is a horrifically racist and Islamophobic film that has no place being made nowadays. Yes, Banning gets a few zingers that on a very high level I can laugh at. But they’re rooted in such backwards ideology that I can’t enjoy them. It’s frankly irresponsible to push something like this nowadays.
So I like Banning, and I like action, but being on the verge of parenthood has made him particularly vicious. Lots of stabbing you see. At one point his POTUS best bud, played by Aaron Eckhart, asks him if torturing a bad guy was necessary. I’m paraphrasing, but ‘no’ was basically the response. At least I can appreciate the honesty?
Skipping over exposition and getting to the action is something I can usually appreciate, but it’s flat out bonkers. Two years after being hit by a drone, the terrorists have managed to infiltrate every level of London’s security. Even the Beefeaters are bad guys! There is no lead up to this, it just happens. The ease of which things go to shit is up there with how bad the CGI is. Maybe it moves so quickly to not let us wonder about what’s going on too much. But at least the first film made some sort of nod to a story.
I must mention the editing. There are whole conversations that clearly take place in separate rooms. I don’t think Freeman and Butler ever met each other whilst making this film. Then there’s the small issue of Banning’s heroics being rather undone by very obvious cuts between Butler and his stunt man.
Die Hard’s first sequel suffered from trying to be like the original but everything being bigger. London Has Fallen falls into a similar trap. You can only so far in a building. But an entire city?! Banning could have holed up in any number of charity shops or bookies and they’d have been safe. Instead he forces the President to run through streets that have been magically completely cleared so that we “know who the enemies are”. It’s bat-shit crazy.
I want to like some of this film. But I can’t in good conscience recommend London Has Fallen. Just watch the first one instead.