Angel Has Fallen.
By now, you likely know if you’re a fan of Gerard Butler’s Secret Service series that began with Olympus Has Fallen and then London Has Fallen. If you are a fan of those films, will this third film hit the mark for you?
Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Butler) is protecting the President (Morgan Freeman) when a drone attack nearly kills them both. When Banning wakes up, he discovers an elaborate trap has been laid, framing him for the assassination attempt. He must try to clear his name, avoid the authorities, and find out who is after the President before they can finish what they’ve started. Other talent includes Nick Nolte, Jada Pinkett Smith, Piper Perabo, Danny Huston, Lance Riddick, and Tim Blake Nelson.
If you’re a fan of the first two films, there’s a high likelihood that you’ll enjoy this one too. It’s a relatively safe action film, meaning it’s simple to follow, has plenty of big explosions, and offers a safe and satisfying conclusion. Gerard Butler isn’t a great actor but here, he’s able to deliver everything we need to sympathize with Banning.
The action is fun, including some great chases and an intense climax. If you just want popcorn fun and some edge of your seat action, you’ll find it here.
What doesn’t work?
While the action is intense, it’s not shot incredibly well. The movie’s director Ric Roman Waugh is relatively untested, his only major theatrical release being Dwayne Johnson’s Snitch. Otherwise, Waugh is a stuntman and writer, so his behind the camera experience is limited. The action scenes suffer from this, with shaky shots and lots of camera tricks to make us think the action is intense. I do applaud Waugh for writing this film, though, as it’s surprisingly simple to follow. Movies in this genre tend to overcomplicate things and can end up making a mess of the plot, which wasn’t the case here.
I also need to point out the visual effects here are… iffy. There are quite a few blatant green-screen moments or low budget visuals that really stand out, such as a helicopter that looks obviously added in post-production or smoke effects that really stand out. It can just take you out of the action.
We also have a problem with some repetition, as there are key moments that happen in every film in this series and it’s starting to feel a little redundant. This movie doesn’t do anything original or unique, which is why it’s getting a straight-down-the-middle score. It’s fine but ultimately contributes very little to the genre as a whole.
Have you seen the first two films? Do you want to see a one-man army taking on a lot of bad guys? This movie isn’t anything special but it delivers some fun action, so if you just want some explosions and a fine time, you’ll be good here. It’s exactly what you’d expect it to be.