Film Review: London Has Fallen

by Chad Liffmann on March 4, 2016

Implausible and ridiculous, London falls hard.

Gerard Butler, despite a big gun, misses the mark by a long shot.

Gerard Butler, despite a big gun, misses the mark by a long shot.

I really wanted another Olympus Has Fallen, the action-packed guilty pleasure of 2013. I was ready for explosions and gunfire and John McClane-type odds. London Has Fallen missed the mark on every single one of my expectations. The explosions looked hokey, the level of implausibility was off the charts, and despite the John McClane-type odds, the action never rose to fully excitable heights. Gerard Butler has the same charisma he’s always had, but the movie (which he produced) doesn’t do him any favors — simplifying his one-note wise-cracking character to a gun wielding one-note wise-cracking character. Sure, it serves the ultra-generic action movie plot well, but when the best line he utters is “F-ck me? F-ck you!”, you know that another minute or two could’ve been spent fleshing out his character’s persona a bit more. Needless to say, Butler is still the best part of London Has Fallen, demonstrating his physical action hero gravitas in a sea of utter muck.

London Has Fallen, how implausible art thou? Let me count the ways: foreign dignitaries aren’t guarded at all (or they’re stuck in traffic), the entire London police force seems to have been turned into/replaced by bad guys, the same acts of violence that befall and kill bad guys can only barely bruise the good guys, a direct hit from a missile results in a slight cane-aided limp, a few taps on a keyboard can lead to complete control of London’s electrical grid — oh, and all global telecommunication channels. Honestly, the list keeps on going. Most action flicks get away with implausibility because its done in a way that you either don’t notice or the remaining awesomeness of the film makes up for it. In London Has Fallen, the implausibilities are nearly all major plot points, so they can’t be ignored or glossed over, and if the film were awesome enough to make up for it, I sure didn’t notice.

In a country so divided and in need of authenticity and global respect, it’s impossible to recommend London Has Fallen because it shoves xenophobic American patriotism down our throats (not in a fun way— like, say, Team America: World Police), and then glorifies our violent actions around the world. When taking into account the poor filmmaking, which includes the previous paragraph’s plausibility gaffs, as well as odd framing of dialogue scenes and cheesy effects, there’s really no redeeming values to highlight. I guess the ~3 minute long single take gunfight sequence was sort of neat? Meh. I’ve seen better. I can only presume that London Has Fallen was lazily green lit in the hopes of creating a new cash cow action franchise (the ‘Fallen‘ series?). So if this makes enough money, we’ll be seeing Paris Has Fallen in a few years time. Let’s unite against that happening.

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London Has Fallen opens in theaters today, March 4th.

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