In 2013, the White House, home of the American president was attacked on screen in White House Down which gave us Jamie Foxx as the president and as his protector, Channing Tatum. Coming from big blockbuster director Roland Emmerich whose CV includes Stargate; Universal Soldier; 2012; The Day After Tomorrow and Independence Day.
The film was expected to be a big hit, yet this was not to be the case, as unfortunately for the President, the White House was attacked on screen twice that year, as earlier in the year Olympus has Fallen opened with Aaron Eckhart as the president, with his protector being Gerard Butler. This film was directed by Antoine Fuqua whose CV showed why he was a great choice for this film as it includes Training Day; Shooter and The Equalizer
Olympus won the battle of the two films, with White House Down doing little business, possibly on the basis that audiences felt they had already seen the film due to its earlier release date!
It is because of this, Olympus now has a sequel, bringing the action to our shores in London Has Fallen. Unlike many other sequels, the film even brought back the majority of the cast, from Gerard and Aaron, to Morgan Freeman; Radha Mitchell; Melissa Leo; Angela Bassett and Robert Forster.
Adding to the cast are some great British names including Colin Salmon and Charlotte Riley.
The film also brought back the screenwriters from the original although Babak Najafi, a director whose work we are not familiar with has taken over from Fuqua
With a great cast, home setting and an enjoyment of the original, we decided this was on our to see list. We have to say the film was a bit of a disappointment for us.
The original for us felt like a bit of comic book, popcorn film fluff, enjoyable to watch, nothing to take too seriously and as long as you leave your brain at the door so to speak, you should find it watchable.
This film however, does not have that silly popcorn flick about it, instead trying to be a new Jason Bourne film and it suffers for it.
We see from the start of the film that the US have hunted down a known terrorist Aamir Barkawi (Alon Moni Aboutboul) in Pakistan and under drone attack, bomb his home, which kills his daughter and most of his family during a wedding they were having at the time. We now know with him being Sixth on the most wanted list, he will want revenge as he survives the attack!
The film moves on and we find that Mike Banning (Butler) is about to become a parent, and has plans to resign from the secret service to give a more secure home for his future child and wife Leah (Mitchell)
Before he can hand his notice in, we learn that the London Prime Minister has died and is to have a state funeral with the American President, Ben Asher (Eckhart) to be in attendance along with many other countries dignitary’s
At the funeral, they become heavily under attack and many are killed, as well as many of London’s landmarks destroyed, although I had expected to see more, The Shard Tower and London Eye are untouched and the posters showing extensive damage to Big Ben do not really happen. Of course, this could be simply because the terrorists only want to take out the world’s leaders but I found that unlikely. Although more likely, is down to budget as CGI is quite ropey in places!
Under heavy gunfire Banning gets Asher away. and following a car chase through London they get to the airport to fly away to safety, except their helicopter is then shot down
With London under attack, can Banning and Asher avoid their hunters and get back to the US and safety?
What follows is pretty much what happened in the original with Banning killing all who get in his way, throwing out the odd wisecrack.
This is where the film falls down as it does seem to centre on these two leads, the members of the White House such as Freeman, Leo and Forster characters are hardly used, and Jackie Earl Haley is added to this list,who not being in the original is hardly used in his role.
Colin Salmon, in charge of operations at Scotland Yard has little to do, but Charlotte Riley, as an M16 agent that Banning knows, has a bit more to do, including finding a mole within the British Intelligence yet everything is thrown on Butler to keep the film going, his performance just about does that!
Overall, this is a violent action film that is sadly instantly forgettable, a third film will surely be pushing it!
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