London Has Fallen (d. Babak Najafi USA 2016)

 

Please read On Reviews for a guide to how I write film reviews. Any spoilers are appropriately marked and, though I personally prefer to know little about a film before seeing it, there is a synopsis at the bottom for any who wish to see one.

Entertainment: starfish starfish starfish  

Performances: starfish starfish 

Predictability: starfish starfish 

Technical: starfish starfish starfish  

London Has Fallen is the follow up to Olympus Has Fallen (d. Antoine Fuqua USA 2013) and very much sits in the current political day. Without going in to much detail it is easy to say that there is political tension in the world and the War on Terrorism is strong. This is something that also ties itself in to how the world sees America. This is a very complicated issue and far beyond the scope of anything that can be offered here. Film is entertainment and as much as that can have an influence upon people it is mostly a comment on what is happening and our fantasies. For more on what is going on politically perhaps something like this can be helpful as a brief look. What should be taken from this, however, is the idea that there is a lot of resentment for the western world (could even read just America) that we (even more so read America) would like to resolve. This could be argued as the need act on Terrorism. This is a central theme to London Has Fallen and as a political issue is very complex. As a film, well, how is it handled?

First a note on some of the major aspects of film. Technically, the film shows a very impressive use of the Oner and therefore shows some very complicated and impressive choreography and use of special effects. This was somehow undermined by some interesting choices that didn’t fare very well. The choice of some of the explosions and destruction to be depicted in extreme long shots is really refreshing to see but is unfortunately not done very well and this completely undermines the shots in questions. Unfortunately this leaves the technical ability to be varied and missing its point. Considering that this is an action film the way that the action scenes were handled were very impressive despite some flaws and this carries the film in terms of entertainment but only a little.

The performances in the film were similarly undermined. There are some good actors here but giving some unfortunate performances. This wasn’t helped at all by the script, that reduced many characters to 2-Dimensional plot devices or representations. For example, two characters may carry one of the themes, one being aggression and the other being scepticism. Playing out this theme the film urges for a better understanding of the aggression by the use of the scepticism being therefore undermined. Unfortunately that is an easy way to sum up the characters and this is throughout. This lends itself to a predictable plot that lacks anything more than a paint by numbers filming strategy. This character is introduced to give context and sympathy to the protagonist, that character is killed to give danger and a ‘reason to fight’ for the protagonist. Essentially what we see is transparent and it’s also heavy on the films major theme. The theme being an apparent desire for any American in the wake of everything going on, they’d like to be the hero of the world. This can work for some but in a film where London (UK) is the target, it feels arrogant.

All-in-all this isn’t a great film and thematically it’s just a way to play to an American desire to be better than other countries. This isn’t just due to the idea of London being a victim for which the US is the saviour for but also to the very racial slurs that are common throughout. The unfortunate trap of seeing certain parts of the world as synonymous with Terrorism is very much apparent. Furthermore I was surprised to see the idea of vengeance to be nurtured so openly. The resolution of problems isn’t violence and it certainly doesn’t need to be enacted with such malice. Granted there are many films that show violence as a solution to a problem but here we have moments in need of lines like “Is that really necessary?” I have to argue it isn’t, but it does show a films willingness to take things a bit too far.

Synopsis

A War Criminal, Amar Bakwai (Alon Aboutboul), has launched an attack on the world leaders through a funeral for the secretly assassinated English Prime Minister. It is now up to the US president (Aaron Eckhart) and his right hand man, Mike Banning (Gerard Butler), to take him and his plan down.

Further Reading

rottentomatoes.com

metacritic.com

Official Site

Interview with Gerard Butler and Angela Bassett

Interview behind the Scenes with Gerard Butler

Interview with Morgan Freeman

America FUCK YEAH



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