Action extravaganza ‘Olympus Has Fallen’ certainly divided audiences, it was cited as ‘Die Hard in the White House’ and there was no bigger supporter for it than me. I loved its one man war against the bad guys, how it was full of action and tension plus its fantastic one liners. In 2013 it was pitted against rival action movie ‘White House Down’ and I think it’s fair to say that ‘Olympus’ came out on top. It shouldn’t really have been a surprise to anyone that we’d get a sequel and three years later here we are again, except we’ve left the star spangled banner behind in exchange for all things British!
The start of the film doesn’t really set the tone too well, it takes what credibility that the first film did have as a competent action movie and exchanges it for ridiculous elements to the narrative followed by some of the poorest action I’ve seen in a long time. The CGI used in much of the first big action sequence was so bad, nothing I was watching felt real meaning that I didn’t buy into anything I was watching. As you’d expect with a sequel the cliches are all cranked up a notch but very much so at the expense of a lot of the tension, excitement and fun that the first film had. Overall in terms of the action ‘London Has Fallen’ treads a very fine line between fun over the top action and just plain dumb action movie tropes without ever fully embracing either. In terms of its action movie status its not annoyingly bad or laughable in the way that ‘White House Down’ or the new ‘Point Break’ was but it’s not anywhere near as much fun as the likes of ‘Speed’ or ‘Die Hard’.
Once the film moves on from its frantic opening and our characters move onto the streets of London things do improve, mostly because not as much CGI is needed though. Much like the first film ‘London Has Fallen’ was at its best when it was giving us fast paced combat scenes. Combined with this were often some genuinely funny one liners, this was good to see as there were some quality lines in the first movie and that has been replicated here. However the writing team seem to have made some changes to Butler’s character, Mike Banning. He was already a badass, the first film proves that, but here they seem to over compensate by making him swear a lot more, and what I thought seemed more randomly. It’s not too much of an issue I just felt it took away from his character rather than added to it. The cast are all fine and perform in a manner you’d expect from an action sequel, however anytime that Morgan Freeman is on screen you realise just how much better he is than everyone else involved. As the film comes to its finale, it really is just plodding along and I have to say it became a tad boring but up until this point it always had my attention.
‘London Has Fallen’ is definitely not a good movie, it’s not terrible though either. Whilst it has many awful elements the film does hold them down from completely taking over and the chemistry between Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart is good. It’s messy, poorly made in places and quite ridiculous for a lot of the time but there is some fun to be had here and this sequel is still miles ahead of the likes of ‘White House Down’. I found the whole thing to be quite indifferent and inoffensive, so I imagine that there will be a large audience for this movie who’ll enjoy it and I don’t think anyone should come out hating it either.
Rating – 5/10
Question: What is your favourite action movie sequel?
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