Far more than London Bridge is falling down on this one. After the death of the British prime minister, the world’s most powerful leaders gather in London to pay their respects. Without warning, terrorists unleash a devastating attack that leaves London in chaos and ruins. Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) springs into action to bring U.S. President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) to safety. When Asher falls into the hands of the sinister terrorist organization, it’s Banning who saves his commander in chief from a horrible fate.
The sequel to 2013’s POTUS-in-peril thriller “Olympus Has Fallen” now shifts and expands the battleground to London. Arriving roughly three years after its predecessor, this high-octane action piece verily zips along at such a fierce clip that it’s over practically before you know it. In Olympus it was the North Koreans who were up to no good, but here it’s a wealthy Eastern arms merchant out to avenge and humble the West. What can I say, some countries just hate us.
For good reason, I can see why many characterize London Has Fallen as “terrorism porn.” It plays off the fears of average Americans in a macho slaughterfest kind of way. Lots of sadistic violence we’re meant to cheer without regard to how we, the United States, sit in the world.
One of the things I did like about the film was the depth and dimension they gave to the star of the show. Butler manfully dispenses justice to the bad guys many times over. Yet, with his wife weeks away from giving birth, the worry that comes with new fatherhood is big enough to take down even the strongest superhero. Its no small task to make sure you have what it takes to raise a decent human being who’s passionate about something in the world. So Butler constantly solicits advice from secret service colleagues who’ve been down that road.
Make no mistake. London is not nearly as elaborate, nor as visually sophisticated as the last Mission: Impossible outing or the most recent Bond movies. It basically uses the Die Hard formula. Here, the action is pumped up. The destruction is extreme. But then, that’s about it. Throw in a couple of one-liners and there you have it. Add water and stir instant action film. There’s definitely some fun to be had on this one, but there’s a good chance you’ll walk out the theater wondering why you just didn’t follow your instincts and wait for it on Netflix.