The second in the franchise that bought us, Olympus Has Fallen, finds a ‘made for TV’ Bruce Willis (Gerard Butler) and the U.S President murdering their way around a burning London, after they visit the capital for the funeral of the British prime minister.
Without warning, terrorists unleash a devastating attack that leaves the city in chaos. Amid the ruins Secret Service Agent, Mike Banning (Gerard Butler), springs into action to save U.S. President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart).
The plot is like a parody of the world’s indifference towards the war in Yemen, and the other fifty-odd years of poor Western foreign policy decisions in the region. It’s not like this sort of propaganda is even necessary anymore with all the actual terror attacks recently, but it’s ballsy all the same. In an alternate universe where a Yemeni is selling arms through British companies to terrorists on British soil.
The terrorists are dressed as the emergency services, just in case you’re not scared enough. It felt like watching Thersea May present the case for increased surveillance powers to parliament. The kind of film that would get a standing ovation at the Defence Select Committee. I mean, what do you do when the paramedics are firing grenade launchers?
Our ‘special relationship’ with the US has spawned it’s own unapologetic franchise. It’s just a shame that it’s ruined by Eckhart and Butler who couldn’t act their way around a terrorist plot if it flew straight into them, and even then nothing would collapse. Just two crude racists grimacing their way around a refugee camp.
At least Gerrard Butler’s career is fast becoming as successful as Western foreign policy. As Agent Banning he takes a Donald Trump-like approach to diplomacy. “You can get back to Fuckistan or wherever” he snarls at one point. While the SAS follow him around like shy Bullseye contestants.
If you’re going to go on a freedom inspired murderous rampage protecting the President, he has to be likeable. Eckhart’s performance made me think of how lucky his wife was to die at the start of the last one. He acts like he’s been asked to fill in for the ghost of the person that rejected the part, while the real brains behind the operation, Morgan Freeman, is keeping the whole thing ticking over in his obligatory Presidential role. If it wasn’t for the war room scenes with him and Robert Forster the whole thing would just be some sort of absurd, poorly acted, poorly written, computer generated farce.
The film finishes with a slow motion drone strike in Yemen as some sort of heroic musical irony plays in the background. While Morgan Freeman does his best to win the Oscar for Most Convincing Slightly Concerned Statesman. Don’t get me wrong, I like shit films. But if you’re going to incite racial hatred, at least do it well. Never mind the fact we have licensed 5.6 billion pounds worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia under the current government, and have been drone striking Yemen of years.
But yeah. London has fallen.