By Nathan M Rose

Jun 13, 2016 10:40 PM EST


London Has Fallen Blu-ray Review

It was a guilty pleasure for me seeing Mike Banning again on the big screen being a one man army because these films harken back to the big action films of the 80s that I so sorely miss today.

In 2013, two films came out within six months of each other about the United States White House being taken over by terrorists and the President taken hostage. One film succeeded; one didn't. And, in the wake of box office success, a sequel was green lit for Olympus Has Fallen entitled London Has Fallen.

Following in the footsteps of Olympus Has Fallen, London Has Fallen follows the life of Secret Service agent (and hero from the first film), Mike Banning (Gerard Butler; Gods of Egypt). Things have changed a little bit for him since the first film. He is back in charge of the President's (Aaron Eckhart; The Dark Knight) security detail and he also has a baby on the way. Due to the death of the Prime Minister of England, Banning, along with his boss, Lynne Jacobs (Angela Bassett; What's Love Got to Do with It) have the insurmountable task of making sure the President is safe on his very spur-of-the-moment trip to London. Of course, things didn't work exactly as planned...because if they did, this would have been a very short movie.

With Antoine Fuqua opting not to return for the sequel, the producers decided to go with director Babak Najafi. An interesting choice, considering he had never done an action film before. However, their risky move paid off. Babak Najafi effortlessly directs the action with ease, as if he had been directing action movies his entire life. As discussed in the special features, Najafi ,as well as Butler, wanted to give audiences some types of action that they had not seen before, and, they did this with a lot of great wide-angle shots, as well as long one-shot action sequences.

Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart easily slip back into their old roles from the first film and their chemistry as a team still holds. Most of the film relies on both of their performances to carry it and they do not disappoint. One major draw Olympus Has Fallen had was the powerful, dramatic actors in the supporting cast roles. Most of the of that cast decided to return and reprise the roles for the sequel, as well as the addition of other great newcomers such as Jackie Earle Haley (The Watchmen) and Charlotte Riley (Edge of Tomorrow).

Not having the budget of a summer tent-pole film did cause London Has Fallen to not live up to it's fullest potential. While it was interesting to watch most of London "fall" to the  attack. The at times "rough" CGI cheapened some of the epic destruction scenes into little more than children's cartoons. It is unfortunate that a movie such as the twenty years old Independence Day  had more realistic destruction with the use of miniatures. However, once the initial destruction of London has been complete, those CGI flaws are barley seen throughout the rest of the film.

Presented in 1080p the video transfer of London Has Fallen is pretty decent. Blacks for the most part are on par and there are no signs of artifacting. Colors are a bit muted, but this was intentional as the director wanted to give a more "european" feel to the film. The audio soundtrack is truly where this Blu-ray disc shines. Presented in DTS:X the sound is amazing. This is the film that the audio engineers dreamed of when coming up with the DTS:X format. Bullets and explosions simply engulf the room around you. It's like you are actually inside the firefights that are happening on the screen.

Aside from the usual Digital HD copy of the film, London Has Fallen, unfortunately, only has two featurettes (The Making of London Has Fallen, and Guns, Knives & Explosives) included in the set. However, while these two features are short, they cram a lot of information into a total running time of approximately 21 minutes. They showcase how the streets of London were recreated on sound stages, the thought process behind making the sequel, and all the technical expertise that went into the making of the film.

It was a guilty pleasure for me seeing Mike Banning again on the big screen being a one man army because these films harken back to the big action films of the 80s that I so sorely miss today. If you are a fan of the original Olympus Has Fallen, or just the action genre in general, I highly recommend you see this film. In the meantime, one can only hope that Mike Banning will be back to save President of The United Sates one more time in the near future.

Grade: B+

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

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