By Allison Hazlett-Rose
Mar 03, 2016 02:55 PM EST

London Has Fallen Theatrical Review

Reprising his role as Banning, Butler was a strong casting choice in the first film, and he continues his tough guy, “take no prisoners” persona in this one as well.
London Has Fallen Theatrical Review
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For those who loved 2013's Olympus Has Fallen, this year's sequel, London Has Fallen, will surely live up to expectations. Many of the original cast has returned to make this action adventure film familiar on so many levels and enticing to fans of the original.  However, with a new director (Babak Najafi; Banshee Origins) on board, there are enough differences to keep the movie as fresh as could possibly be for a politically charged action movie.

Back in President Asher's (Aaron Eckhart; The Dark Knight) good graces, Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler; 300) is ready to resign his post in anticipation of the birth of his first child.   That plan is put on hold when England's Prime Minister dies and suddenly world leaders are heading to London to attend his funeral.  As bombs start exploding and people are being assassinated, Banning suddenly realizes it was a set up and he must keep President Asher safe from whatever, or whoever, is trying to kill him.

Reprising his role as Banning, Butler was a strong casting choice in the first film, and he continues his tough guy, "take no prisoners" persona in this one as well.  He was much better suited to this role than his other character out now, Set, from Gods of Egypt.

Eckhart is destined to play politicians as he first came on my radar as Harvey Dent.   Now, as the President, he plays an active role in his own rescue, as opposed to being a spectator at a sporting event.  His demeanor serves him well in London and he is certainly believable as the leader of the free world.  Angela Bassett (American Horror Story) and Morgan Freeman (The Shawshank Redemption) are excellent as always and round out a solid cast.

The story is much of the same action that was seen in Olympus Has Fallen, except it is a little grittier and bloodier than its predecessor.  The special effects are fairly well done and the action doesn't drag on for too long (a pet peeve of mine).  The script includes moments of humor that lighten an otherwise fairly intense movie and make the film all the more entertaining.  Sadly, the story is over the top politically incorrect as the bad guys are portrayed as the epitome of the stereotypical terrorist.

As with most action films, there are times when one has to suspend belief in order to not groan at the ridiculousness of it all.  When Banning and President Asher fall two stories through an elevator shaft and emerge unscathed, it doesn't exactly give the movie an air of realism.  Also, when they survive, along with the building, from a gas explosion, you know you are watching movie magic at its finest.

With so much of today's action films lacking any sense of story or dialog, London Has Fallen doesn't fall into the trap.  Yes, there is plenty of action, but there is also a story motivating the movie along, albeit not an original story, and moments of solid writing to keep viewers from getting bored.  Fans of Olympus Has Fallen will definitely want to see this sequel.

Grade: B-

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MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 99 minutes
Distributed By: Focus Features

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About Allison Hazlett-Rose

FlickDirect, Allison  Hazlett-Rose

Allison Hazlett has always had a passion for the arts and uses her organization skills to help keep FlickDirect prosperous. Mrs. Hazlett oversees and supervises the correspondents and critics that are part of the FlickDirect team. Mrs. Hazlett attended Hofstra University where she earned her bachelors degree in communications and is a member of the Florida Film Critics Circle. Read more reviews and content by .

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