Presidential security officer Mike Banning (Gerard Butler, 300) is planning to resign from his post in preparation for the birth of his first child. Meanwhile, the British Prime Minister has died under suspicious circumstances, so every important world leader must gather in London for his funeral. Banning has no choice but to accompany President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart, The Dark Knight) to keep him from any harm, so his resignation is postponed. The world’s leaders arrive in a heavily protected London, but shortly, something goes horribly wrong!!!!! The British police force has been infiltrated by Middle Eastern terrorists, and even the Queen’s Guard starts shooting at innocent civilians (honestly, one of the most unintentionally funny scenes I’ve seen in a long time). Banning springs into action to protect the President, who also happens to be his partner in bromance. If you’ve seen Olympus Has Fallen, this plotline may sound awfully familiar. And that is for good reason: the two films have almost identical plotlines, apart from taking place in different cities.
Everything about London Has Fallen is wildly unrealistic. I know that’s pretty much a keystone characteristic of any American action film, but this one takes it too far. My personal favorite logic-defying scene is when Banning happens upon a hallway full of terrorist soldiers with automatic rifles, and he somehow manages to pick off every single one...using a small knife as a weapon. Seriously. That is something that happened in this movie. I am so embarrassed that this is the type of movie geared towards American film-goers. I am especially embarrassed that it is still somehow acceptable to employ the trope of Middle Eastern terrorists as the main enemy. As much as I disagree with the use of this stereotype, there are some ways to make it a little less egregious. London Has Fallen is so flagrantly racist that I’m surprised it hasn’t seen more backlash as of yet. “Go back to Fuckhead-istan, or wherever you came from,” is something that Butler’s character actually said to one of the soldiers. Disgusting, I know.
I struggle to find any redeeming qualities in this film. The only thing I can consider as positive is that it didn’t drag on. It was kept to a jam-packed, shit-filled hour and forty minutes. The ending came at exactly the right time, but brought with it a terrifying possibility: they could make another one of these trainwrecks. The movie ends with Banning permanently erasing the resignation email he was drafting, leaving his character on the very path that he was on before. It is so scary to think that within the next few years, we may see Sydney Has Fallen or Tokyo Has Fallen or whatever the hell they decide to do next.
London Has Fallen was filled with cheesy one-liners, ridiculous action sequences, stupid “humor,” and empty dialogue that contributed absolutely nothing to the film as a whole. If you’re a fan of action movies with little to no substance, this is the perfect movie for you. If you’re not a fan of that stuff (and I truly hope that you are not), then avoid it at all costs.