LONDON HAS FALLEN—should carry the subtitle Through the sub-Basement into a New Level of Stupid. You don’t look for Shakespeare from a big-budget Hollywood action flick, but this 2016 megaturd makes Rambo III look like Lawrence Of Arabia.
The cast members who survived the diverting slaughter (what else would you call it?) of 2013s Olympus Has Fallen somehow let agents, contracts or egos sign them on for this installment in the rip-off Die Hard series that will culminate, if there is any real justice, with Hollywood Has Fallen–and Can’t Get Up, where the studios that produce crap like this will be blown to smithereens, leaving more parking spaces for wanna-be screenwriters.
Maybe the new hacks could come up with a more viable line than that ‘fallen’ to be uttered by Angela Bassett after twenty solid minutes of CGI carnage that level Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, London Bridge, numerous heads of state, hordes of citizens, boats, helicopters and enough conveniently placed terrorists to re-stage D-Day: “It’s a trap!”
Yes, it is, a $60,000,000 trap that snared good actors with idiotic situations, captured $197,000,000 from gulled audiences and shackled reviewers with insufficient ways to express how goddamn terrible it is.
As he seems hell-bent on accumulating a roster of dumbo movies gamy enough to compete with Stallone or Arnold we leave star Gerard Butler’s childish one-man army to the shoulder-holstered side and wonder just how badly the other cast members really needed the money. No way it could have been the script that enticed the following: Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Robert Forster, Melissa Leo and Ms. Bassett (dying, with a chunk of something sharp the size of an oar sticking through her chest, telling Butler to “get the fuckers” –gurgle, flex jaw, loll head, collect a quarter mil, don’t go out in public…). These people have been in actual Good Stuff. Granted, there’s nothing wrong with having fun, capering about in lightweight action or comedy, or various genre thrillers, but… this cheese? For shame…
Not since Gorgo rampaged (more convincingly) back in ’61 has London suffered so much catastrophic rezoning. The special effects look like CGI special effects, which rather undercuts the use, and the ordinary standard action stunts—cartwheeling autos, mowed down extras, snap pistol shots at two hundred yards that don’t miss, etc.–are equally dodo. Perhaps if the terrorists used pistols (preferably held sideways) at golf course distance they could hit Gerard Butler easier than the dozens of machine guns they miss him with from badminton range?
Of course, in the midst of bloody wholesale massacre and vicious hand-to-hand throttling and stabbing make sure to inject totally inappropriate, unoriginal and— worst—unfunny one-liners from the hero. Throw extra fuel on the current Mid-east terror dynamic: that’ll heal things. Insult European and Asian audiences by making them look like inept tools next to TeamUSA! Have the cute little girl hand a flower to the dowdy German minister lady, then count to five. Both of them!? It looks bad for due process. Where’s that Secret Service guy with 40,000 rounds in his pocket? Fear-mongering rah-rah that is as boring as it is offensive, and should embarrass everyone who had a hand in it. One critic was on to a thin sliver of light by saying it was so bad “it begs to be made into a drinking game.”
99 minutes, directed (it says that’s what this was) by Babak Najafi, co-starring Alon Moni Aboutboul, Radha Mitchell, Jackie Earle Haley, Charlotte Riley, Waleed Zuaiter and Patrick Kennedy.