Combustible Celluloid
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With: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Alon Moni Aboutboul, Angela Bassett, Robert Forster, Jackie Earle Haley, Melissa Leo, Radha Mitchell, Sean O'Bryan, Charlotte Riley, Waleed F. Zuaiter
Written by: Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt, Christian Gudegast, Chad St. John
Directed by: Babak Najafi
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence and language throughout
Running Time: 99
Date: 03/05/2016

London Has Fallen (2016)

1 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

London Bridge... and Everything Else

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Anyone who was calling for a sequel to Olympus Has Fallen ought to have been careful what they wished for. This second entry borrows shamelessly from many action classics and ends up lifeless and dim. London Has Fallen is interesting when showing the logistics of assembling so many world leaders in one place, though that order is quickly turned into brain-numbing chaos. And director Babak Najafi employs at least one impressive, 60-second tracking shot, but that still leaves about 90 dull minutes to slog through.

After the events of Olympus Has Fallen, Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is thinking of retiring, now that his wife (Radha Mitchell) is about to have a baby. When the prime minster of England unexpectedly dies, a funeral service is held, with world leaders from all over the globe invited. Mike must accompany U.S. President Asher (Aaron Eckhart) there with very little preparation. Unfortunately, in retaliation for a U.S. drone strike two years earlier that killed a terrorist's family, an all-out attack is launched, targeting those in power. Mike collects the president and spirits him away through the city streets, but with bad guys dressed up as cops and military, who can he trust? And can he stop the evil master plan?

Gerard Butler is no Harrison Ford or Bruce Willis and can't handle the dopey quips the screenplay gives him. Other, Oscar-nominated actors get even less dialogue, and much of that forced and clunky. There's no one to connect with. Most of the action either underdeveloped or relies on coincidence. But the movie also leaves us feeling depressed and guilty, wondering whether, these days, movies about large-scale terrorist attacks ought to be marketed as slam-bang entertainments?

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