Star Rating:

London Has Fallen

Actors: Morgan Freeman, Aaron Eckahart, Angela Basset, Charlotte Riley, Gerard Butler

Release Date: Thursday 3rd March 2016

Genre(s): Action, Crime, Thriller

Running time: UK minutes

What a shame this is. 2013's Olympus Has Fallen was crap, to be sure, but enjoyable crap. You had Gerard Butler, pretending he was Chuck Norris, in a Die Hard rip-off set in the White House fighting off North Koreans. It was so ludicrously stupid that it was genuinely entertaining. Naturally, a sequel had to happen. But how? And why?

Fast-forward to today and Gerard Butler's Secret Service agent Mike Banning is still attached to President Ben Asher (Aaron Eckhart) and his security detail. When the British Prime Minister dies suddenly and under mysterious circumstances, the world leaders are brought to London for his funeral. However, it's all a ploy as international arms dealer Aamir Barkawi (Alon Moni Aboutboul) wants payback for the death of his daughter by a drone strike. Cue some outrageous stereotypes - the Italian Prime Minister's a fat old guy who's got a 30-year old girlfriend, the Japanese Premier is a venerable old man, the French President came by a boat for some reason - and CGI effects that are cutting edge if the world suddenly time-warped to 2005 and most of the world leaders are dead.

All except Aaron Eckhart and Gerard Butler. Can't say the same for their careers, though.

Again, what made Olympus Has Fallen so fun was that it revelled in its stupidity, but it had enough sense to keep it all relatively simple and tightly confined. It all took place in one building, it was one guy against a group of terrorists. You had an experienced director with Antonie Fuqua, who knew how to work an action sequence and keep it pulpy and entertaining and, of course, you had Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart willing to pull off quips and one-liners like it was the early '90s. The action scenes in London Has Fallen are poorly directed, confusing to look at and loaded with so many cuts and shakiness that it's genuinely difficult to follow the action. At least three times during the film, you'll be confused as to who's shooting at who. Making it clear and relatively simple to follow a shootout is something an action film should have down pat. This doesn't at all.

Not only that, the script is just plain stupid. One scene involves Academy Award-winner Morgan Freeman figuring out where Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart were going by a satellite image of Butler's hands. Really. It's THAT daft. There's more. You have the excellent Robert Forster resigned to wearing a US uniform and looking sullen when appropriate, you have Angela Bassett in there for all of about seven minutes and screams at the top of her lungs even though she's supposed to be the head of the Secret Service AND you've got Jackie Earle Haley, again, looking sullen when appropriate. These are all great actors, so what are they doing here?

A paycheque. Simple as that. London Has Fallen is a paycheque for everyone involved. Made for $10 million LESS than the original, the only reason London Has Fallen was put into production was because the first one did well and people, it seemed, were open to seeing a big-budget episode of 24 with a script that looks like the comments history of a Donald Trump supporter.

Don't waste your money on this. Watch Olympus Has Fallen instead if you haven't already seen it.