We witnessed how Olympus fell in 2013 and in 2016 London was under attack in “London Has Fallen”. We’re now three years later and so what could fall in 2019? Well, it seems that this time it’s the Angel (a.k.a. the protector of the politicians) himself. Director Ric Roman Waugh (“Snitch”, “Felon”) his “Angel Has Fallen” might be the most unnecessary “fallen” film but luckily for us, it doesn’t fall flat.
Welcome back, Mike Banning!
Let’s bring you up to speed as fast as the actions scenes in this movie just in case you haven’t seen the previous two films. Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is the arch-angel and protector of high profiled politicians. In “Olympus Has Fallen”, he had to rescue the former president from kidnappers and in the second instalment, he needed to stop the assassination of the world leaders.
What is it this time? It’s a mix of both. During a trip of president Allan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman), who’s escorted by Banning and his team, an assassination is carried out on Trumbull. The aftermatch of this drone attack: eighteen men killed and both the President and Banning have slipped into a coma. After waking up, Banning’s life is about to change forever. Because he’s the only survivor of the attack and because his hair and skin cells were found on the device that was used, he’s being charged for the attempted assassination of the President.
Banning knows that he’s being framed and wants to prove his innocence. Sadly, this means that he has to leave his wife Leah (Piper Perabo) and their little daughter behind for all their sakes. Banning’s trying to uncover the real threat but at the same time, his agency and the FBI are doing everything they can to nail him down. Will he be able to expose who’s behind the attack or will he be the one who takes the fall?
While their cat-and-mouse game is in full swing, the president is still in a coma and so Vice President Kirby (Tim Blake Nelson) has to step in. However, this leads to hard political allegations and the leak of secret information. It goes from bad to worse when there are rumours of corruption. Which impact will this have on the political landscape and will president Trumbull come out of his coma or not?
Does there need to be more action?
No, absolutely not! If you’re looking for an explosive and fast-paced film, then you should watch “Angel Has Fallen”. The action is present right from the beginning. Banning is his usual self during his active operation: Quick, handy with a gun and ready to kill. That’s just the start of all the stunning action. One of the people you have to thank for that is director/co-writer Ric Roman Waugh. As former stunt man, he knows what’s like to be in the heat of the moment. From drones flying around your ears to multiple shoot-outs with loads of casualties and from extremely “fire-y” explosions to car chases. “Angel Has Fallen” is just packed with entertaining and intense action scenes.
Because one unit wasn’t enough to handle all the action, director Waugh decided to work with Vic Armstrong as his Second Unit Director. Together they made sure that every explosion and every bullet is being captured on screen from as many angles as possible. Whether it’s via steady-cams, handheld camera’s or tracking camera’s, you name it, they use it. While there are a few scenes that are being ruined by the rapidly moving camera (such as the training exercise and nightly ambush scene) or bad CGI effects, the audience is just being immersed into the heart of the action.
Up-close and personal
Both “Olympus Has Fallen” and “London Has Fallen” were about Gerald Butler in action, big explosions, and long and thrilling car rides and less about intimacy and the up-close stories. We’re not saying that this isn’t the case anymore in this movie (Butler has still plenty of screen time to show us his shooting, fighting, and combat skills) but in “Angel Has Fallen”, there’s also room for emotions and very personal moments. However, Waugh does what neither Antoine Fuqua (“Olympus Has Fallen”) nor Babak Najafi (“London Has Fallen”) could accomplish: Making this film about brutality and vulnerability
If you want to achieve that duality, you need to have a cast who can pull it off exactly how you want it. Ok yes, the characters are as predictable as the film itself but that doesn’t mean they’re badly portrayed on the screen. While sometimes overplaying Mike during the action scenes and underplaying him during the more emotional ones, Butler (“Hunter Killer”) still puts on a solid performance. Especially from the moment he comes face-to-face with his on-screen father Clay (played fabulously by Nick Nolte). Humour is making its way into the movie and there’s that personal connection we were looking for. Butler deserves some credits for those scenes but it’s especially Nolte (“Warrior”, “Affliction”) who rocks the screen as the estranged dad. Don’t get us started on that explosive scene right in the middle of the woods.
The director wanted to give this movie also a female touch when hiring Piper Perabo (“Black Butterfly”). With the most emotional ones, Perabo needs to be moving, gripping but also strong and that’s exactly what she’s as Banning’s wife. Starting as just the politician Trumbull in the first film to becoming Vice president in the second one, Morgan Freeman (“Million Dollar Baby”) is back and this time he takes on the role as president. “Angel has fallen” might be the movie in which he has the least dialogue. However, when he has some lines, he makes you listen as no one else can.
They get back up from a strong supporting cast which includes Jada Pinkett Smith (“Girls Trip”) as the secretive but righteous BFI agent Thompson, Lance Reddick (“John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum”) as Secret Service Director David Gentry who put his country before himself and Tim Blake Nelson (“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”) as Vice President Kirby who does everything to gain power.
The end of the franchise is near
After the unsuccessful previous “fallen” films, you’re probably wondering why they made the third one as it would be unnecessary. However, “Angel Has Fallen” has proven to be the best film out of the three. With the new director behind the wheel, a predictable but more balanced (thrilling action versus emotions) storyline, humouristic moments and still some convincing acting performance, the trilogy ends on a high.
Rating: (3.5 / 5)
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