Director: Babak Najafi
Cast: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman
Release Date: Now Available on Blu-ray & DVD
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 7/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
When the British Prime Minster dies unexpectedly, Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) knows it is his duty to prep with Secret Service Director Lynne Jacobs (Angela Bassett) for them to accompany U.S. President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) to the state funeral at St Paul’s Cathedral in London. With every powerful world leader set to attend, the funeral should be the most protected event on Earth. Yet within moments of arriving, heads of government are assassinated and London landmarks are attacked. Asher, Banning, and Jacobs are ambushed and retreat amidst a hail of gunfire and explosives. The devastated British capital goes into lockdown. Banning will stop at nothing to secure Asher’s safe return home. Back at the White House, Vice President Allan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman) races against time brainstorming with top advisors in the Situation Room to get those trapped in London a lifeline of support and a way out. Outnumbered and outgunned, Banning reaches out for help to an English MI6 agent (Charlotte Riley) who rightly trusts no one. Failure is not an option as they attempt to stop the criminals from carrying out the final phase of their revenge plan.
In ‘London Has Fallen’ (which serves as the sequel to the fantastic action gem from 2013 ‘Olympus Has Fallen’) we rejoin Mike Banning (Butler) who has more than reestablished his good name following the events of the previous film and is now dutifully serving as President Benjamin Asher’s (Eckhart) right hand protection, in addition to being in love and expecting a child of his own which is causing Banning to seriously consider retirement. When a last minute trip to London is scheduled in order to attend the British Prime Minister’s funeral, the event turns out to be a trap as terrorists take down a large chunk of the city and many of the world’s most powerful leaders. After escaping the initial attack, Banning soon learns that the real motive was in fact to capture President Asher in order to publicly execute him on live TV. Now Banning must once again keep the President safe and fight his way through hordes of attackers and in unfamiliar territory no less; fortunately he just may also be the only man capable of doing so.
Directed by Babak Najafi (TV’s Banshee) who does a solid job at the helm of ‘London Has Fallen’ guiding a script written by Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt (who penned ‘Olympus Has Fallen’) who co-wrote the sequel along with Christian Gudegast (A Man Apart) and Chad St. John (writer of the short film The Punisher: Dirty Laundry). The film also includes a number of notable cast members featuring numerous returning stars and newcomers to the series alike such as Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Radha Mitchell, Angela Bassett, Jackie Earle Haley, Robert Forster and Melissa Leo along with many more, the majority of which all providing quite capable performances at the very least.
‘London Has Fallen’ is an action packed thrill ride through the streets of London with Gerard Butler reprising the beloved role of Mike Banning as he once again brings plenty of hurt to the bad guys (whose numbers are seemingly unlimited) and delivering more goofy banter and one liners along the way. The film certainly manages the challenging task of widening the scope and the stakes, in addition to upping the ante on the action-packed madness (especially the explosions of which there are a surprising number) although unfortunately it loses some of the charm that was always exuding from the original in the process, forgoing quality tension and intricate moments for more big and booming action. Even so, the film serves as a fitting, enjoyable and incredibly exciting ride and a solid sequel to the original that while not quite as fantastic, is still pretty great and any fan of the original or outstanding action films in general will definitely want to check this one (as well as its predecessor if you haven’t previously had the pleasure) out when you have the chance to do so.
Overall, ‘London Has Fallen’ is a perfectly fitting sequel to 2013’s fantastic ‘Olympus Has Fallen’ that delivers a barrage of action packed excitement including everything from gunplay, hand to hand combat and more explosions than you can keep track of. It manages to up the ante in nearly every way, yet loses some of the charm of its predecessor in opting for bigger and flashier action sequences, and those action sequences certainly don’t disappoint in the slightest. ‘London Has Fallen’ isn’t quite the masterpiece that the original was, but still delivers in the majority of necessary aspects and also improves on many of them. The film (and its predecessor) may not be for everyone, but I would strongly recommend it to any fan of action movies as well as those who enjoyed the first entry in the series.
The Blu-ray release of ‘London Has Fallen’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks fantastic, providing a constantly sharp, detailed and impressive presentation. It holds up admirably even during the numerous fast moving and/or darkly lit sequences and never results in any notable faults appearing at any point throughout. Overall, this is a magnificent high definition video presentation that should easily thrill the masses.
The Blu-ray release features a DTS: X (DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the 7.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack is a nearly nonstop and aggressive good time, delivering a clean and discrete audio presentation from start to finish, while utilizing all seven available channels more often than not in order to send everything from explosive debris to a constant barrage of bullets and plenty more making their way throughout the various speakers, yet never resulting in any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible. Overall, this is an outstanding and wildly aggressive DTS: X (DTS-HD MA 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that should easily blow away even the most demanding audiophile.
The Blu-ray release of ‘London Has Fallen’ includes a couple of Behind the Scenes Featurettes exploring different aspects of bringing the film to life and featuring behind the scenes footage and interviews/comments with the cast and crew. The included Featurettes are ‘The Making of London Has Fallen’ (running approximately 13 minutes in length) and ‘Guns, Knives & Explosives’ (running approximately 8 minutes).