Hooray, the “Fallen” film series has managed to achieve their goal of creating the most lacklustre Action trilogy in the history of Hollywood! If you’ve never had the non-pleasure of viewing these lumps of filmic dung, I can only describe them as sporting an extremely tawdry look (think something produced by the WWE) as well as containing completely unoriginal and predictable plots (one patriot kicks terrorism’s ass – whoo-hoo!). For the last six years, the movie-makers responsible for the Fallen films have tried to borrow heavily from ’80s and ’90s Action classics but unfortunately, their finished product is completely amateur-looking with mediocre stars, poor direction, not to mention embarrassing scenes and lines. The lasting impression of the first two Fallen films is their right-wing and downright racist tone that tried to exploit the latest fear-mongering news story to get bums on seats. First it was Olympus Has Fallen with its anti-North Korean plot, then came London Has Fallen with its anti-Muslim storyline, but now the racism has been toned-down with Angel Has Fallen where we have an American bad guy who may or may not be working for the Russians. So yes, despite mirroring yet another news story, the patriotism has been taken down a notch, the xenophobia has been retired, and the jingoism is non-existent and in that respect, Angel is arguably the best film in the series. This would have been an achievement had the first two movies not been some of the worst flicks made in the history of cinema; it’s not exactly something to brag about that the film-makers have created something just above excrement but below flatus.
So what’s this latest movie about? Well, once again we have Mike Banning (played by Gerard Butler) a Secret Service agent who is now up for the position of Director. Banning suffers from insomnia and concussion but he still loves his job and his boss, President Trumbull (played by Morgan Freeman) who himself has gone from Speaker Of The House to Vice President (in films one and two) to finally P.O.T.U.S. in this movie. After an assassination attempt where everybody is killed except Banning, Mike becomes the main suspect. He then has to clear his name and protect the President from a further attack while SPOILER ALERT his best friend and military contractor in cahoots with the acting Vice President tries to instigate a war.
This synopsis is pointless however because the central premise makes little to no sense. The military contracting firm “Salient Security”, a Blackwater-type outfit, is trying to benefit from a war but they shoot a couple of FBI agents on their training ground, break-out the only suspect in the assassination case, and fail to clear-up their own deceased further linking their company to this conspiratorial plot. What utter geniuses. With such a badly realised idea, the only reason to watch this movie is for the action but that isn’t great either unless of course, you have a fetish for pot-bellied, middle-aged twats shooting shit amidst fake CGI smoke and explosions.
Aside from Gerard Butler, Angel Has Fallen also stars Danny “descendant of Hollywood nepotism” Huston who plays the baddie with his usual, one-gear delivery. Jada Pinkett Smith, complete with her newly cosmetically-enhanced face plays an FBI agent and Piper Perabo replaces Radha Mitchell as Max’s wife (although you’d hardly notice as they’re both equally as vanilla). There’s also Lance Reddick who seems to enjoy taking part in lame Action trilogies (obviously Fallen is soooooo much worse than John Wick).
Angel Has Fallen is a film that pretends it’s set in the real-world but thanks to a shite-load of cheap visuals, it quite clearly isn’t. Yes, there’s a plot concerning Russians (who we’re told have tampered with the elections) but because Trump isn’t there, the whole farce looks unrealistic. Sure, there’s President Trumbull (which sounds like “President Trump” I guess) but the appalling G20 scene where Morgan Freeman is inserted next to Vladimir Putin looks so fake that you never believe any of what’s going on. The usual “popcorn” excuse will undoubtedly be used by fans if you criticise this flick. Apparently you’re not supposed to say anything against the nonsensical storyline or the shoddy visuals because you know, it’s “fun”. But Angel is anything but “fun”, it’s dull and miserable like a BBC soap opera with the action of a Netflix-made film that you immediately scroll past as soon as you see the thumbnail. The character of “Mike Banning” always sounded like someone from Eastenders to me so the entire trilogy from actors to aesthetics is in the realms of a made-for-TV movie.
I will reiterate that Angel Has Fallen is the best movie in the trilogy but we’ve gone from a crap Die Hard to a shit Fugitive which isn’t really progress. The storyline here tries to include an anti-war stance which is brought to us by Banning’s estranged father (played by Nick Nolte) but this change of tone feels antithetical to the Fox News-watching or Daily Mail-reading, gung-ho audience who I assume, enjoyed the concept of the first two movies in the series. So why change tack? I mean these films star Gerard “300” Butler who in his spare time attends fundraisers for the FIDF (Friends of the Israel Defense Forces) so he and his cinematic-enablers are perfectly placed to bring the fringes of society a dose of right-wing entertainment. Let them have their crappy series.
The older Gerard Butler gets, the less and less he looks like an Action star and more like some bloated dad who’s wondered onto set. These days Gerard should stick to adverts for Enterprise Rent-A-Car who despite having the tagline “Whatever The Mission” couldn’t convince Tom Cruise to take part. That’s actually a perfect analogy of Butler’s career: if you can’t bag an A-list star to take part in your mediocre creation, Gerry will do it for a fraction of the cost. And with a string of flops including Geostorm and Hunter Killer, the only people who want to cast him or pay to watch him are those who don’t mind mundanity and right-wing bigotry. It’s not just Olympus, London, and Guardian Angels that have fallen, so too has Gerard Butler’s career and he only has himself to blame.