One of the things I try to do with this column is save you money by warning you away from bad movies. Case in point: “London Has Fallen.” It’s a bad movie. It fails at every level. After reading this review, I hope you skip it.
“London Has Fallen” is the sequel to “Olympus Has Fallen,” in which Gerard Butler played an ex-Secret Service agent who protects the president of the United States from an attack on the White House. It was a bad movie, but it made money. This time, Butler must protect the president from a terrorist attack in London. Here are eight reasons why you shouldn’t care:
1. Bad writing. You’re in London trying to shield the president from highly resourceful terrorists. Your wife is home alone in the U.S., pregnant with your first child together. When a bad guy smack talks you on your walkie talkie, do you: a) call him Hans and remind him how badly things turned out for the terrorists in “Die Hard”; b) shoot the radio full of bullets; c) mess with him by ordering one of Taco Bell’s new quesalupas; or d) tell him your full name and that you’re coming for him? Butler’s Mike Banning chose “d.” Yes, this movie is that dumb.
2. “Badder” writing. “London Has Fallen” is packed with stupid one liners. In fact, this movie’s only chance for salvation is for it to gain cult status as a drinking game. Every time Banning says a cheesy one liner, you have to take a shot or a swig. My favorite one:
Banning: “How many men does he have waiting for us?”
Voice on the radio: “About one hundred.”
Banning: “Tell him he should have brought more men.”
Good one, Banning.
3. Bad action choreography. Remember the 100 bad guys the terrorist brought with him? He has them positioned along both sides of a section of street at night - some on the ground, some around corners, some in windows higher up. Do you: a) surrender; b) retreat; c) ask the president if you’re actually on Mars having a bad “Total Recall” experience; or d) run up the middle the street shooting at people you can’t see. Once again, Banning picked “d.”
For what seemed like two or three minutes, Banning and several others waltz up the middle of the street with dozens of weapons firing at them, and none of them take a single bullet. That’s when you go to the ticket counter and ask for your money back. If the filmmakers didn’t at least try to make a decent movie, you shouldn’t be expected to pay them for their efforts. Also, despite multiple bombs going off nearby, when the presidential motorcade attempts to escape, people are walking around as if nothing has happened.
4. Bad lead acting. This is the second week in a row in which I’ve watched a movie in which Butler fails to exhibit anything remotely resembling charisma. His performance in “London Has Fallen” runs the gamut from lifeless to awkward to goofy. At times, he looks almost embarrassed to be in the film. He should be.
5. Bad supporting acting. Morgan Freeman returns as the vice-president, along with several other cast members who spent “Olympus” in a situation room tracking events as they unfolded. This time, however, everyone looks like they don’t have a clue regarding what the story is about. Rather, it looks like director Babak Najafi filmed a variety of reaction shots (frightened, tense, exuberant) and inserted them where he felt they were needed. At one point, Freeman looks entirely hesitant and uncertain, as if he wanted to ask which reaction shot they were supposed to do but ran out of time before the camera started rolling.
6. There are better movies out there.
7. You could spend less money on something you’d actually enjoy. Like a quesalupa.
8. Your time would be better spent walking through a lightning storm on stilts with forks clenched between your teeth.
If you insist on seeing this turkey, don’t forget to bring your libation of choice and a shot glass.
One star out of four. Rated R for strong violence and language.
David Laprad is the assistant editor of the Hamilton County Herald and an award-winning columnist and photographer. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.