Gerard Butler: the action hero with a dad bod we didn’t know we needed. Alright, I really liked his performance in Den of Thieves last year, so I’ll cut him some slack.
The “Has Fallen” trilogy picks back up, once again following the exploits of secret service agent Mike Banning. This time, after a failed assassination attempt puts the President in a coma, Banning, being the only other survivor of the attack, is accused of cohorting with the Russians and attempting to overthrow the President. Distrusted by his companions and own government, Banning must evade being caught while simultaneously discovering who wants to kill the president.
I’ve somehow managed to see all three films in this trilogy, even making it out to the theaters for the second one, London Has Fallen. I remember Olympus Has Fallen pissing me off at the North Koreans and I remember London Has Fallen… well I don’t remember much other than I saw it with my grandparents. What makes Angel Has Fallen different from the first two films, is it portrays Banning at his most alone and vulnerable, not only turned against his peers but suffering from the effects of his job and age. This allows the film to dig deeper into his character, although not too deep, and say something about men like him. Banning makes secret doctor’s visits, over relies on medication, and blows off his struggle to sleep, not willing to counsel with close friends or even his wife. This aspect of his character is core to one of the film’s messages, revealing the problematic self-prescribed loneliness and neglect of potential help men like Banning face, in fear of looking weak. The film wants to remind audiences that asking for help and admitting to having issues are not acts of weakness, but of bravery.
Despite Angel Has Fallen’s well-intentioned new direction for the franchise, it doesn’t get away from the basics that got people in the theater seats in the first place. The film is chock-full of explosions and shootouts. Nick Nolte appears and provides comic relief, one of the most explosive scenes in the film involves him and his off-the-grid defense system, a lot of fun and the film’s way of not taking itself too seriously, as it shouldn’t. Morgan Freeman is a compassionate fictional president and Danny Huston is a good foil to Butler, emphasizing how war can wrongly change a man. All in all, Angel Has Fallen has a simple message and is largely run-of-the-mill, nothing more than a quick fix for us “lions”. 6.5/10