Tuesday, March 8, 2016

London Has Fallen

Year 8, Day 68 - 3/8/16 - Movie #2,269

BEFORE: Well, I had a unique (for me) opportunity present itself, when I realized that the sequel to the film I watched yesterday had premiered in theaters just last Friday.  I don't believe this has happened before, and just at a time when I was looking to expand the March chain by a few films to make things line up right - it was like a sign from the scheduling gods that I should go out to the movies.  The real movies, in a theater with popcorn and a giant soda and everything - I haven't been since "Star Wars" in December.  But a Monday night is, like, the perfect time to go to the movies - I almost had the place to myself, could sit wherever I wanted - jeez, I feel like I should make this a regular thing, Monday night at the Multiplex or something, since I want to see "Deadpool" on the big screen, and then "Batman v. Superman" is coming out, so perhaps this is where I draw my line in the sand and say that every big film before this one, I'll catch it on cable, but from this point forward, I'm really going to try to see these things sooner.  Now, this doesn't mean I'm caught up, not by a longshot, but this means I'm on the way to catching up - big difference. 

You may notice that I don't feature any advertising on my blog - this is a general principle of mine, largely stemming from the fact that I've had no offers.  Isn't it about time that major distributors realized the power that I have, why, if I say that I've enjoyed tonight's film, I've got literally TENS of followers who will then consider rushing out to see it.  Now, that's power.  So, how about it, Hollywood, how about some of that sweet, sweet cheddar for me promoting your product?  People, you've got a choice of Gerard Butler films at the cinema (seriously, there's more than one) so why not choose "London Has Fallen"?  New from Focus Features and Lionsgate, please check your local listings. 

Almost the whole cast of "Olympus Has Fallen" carries over - those that survived, that is....

THE PLOT: In London for the Prime Minister's funeral, Mike Banning discovers a plot to assassinate all the attending world leaders.

AFTER: It's another quite serviceable action film, with the emphasis on non-stop action - jeez, this Secret Service guy has the worst luck, he always seems to be in the middle of things falling apart.  But you can say the same about Bruce Willis in the "Die Hard" films, or Liam Neeson in the "Taken" franchise, Mel Gibson in the "Lethal Weapon" series.  How many times can these guys fight the good fight, how much do they have left in the tank?  At what point do they pack it in, cash in their pensions and go look for a little cabin in the woods to relax?  Then again, these action heroes don't really seem like the relaxing type, they're very tightly wound.  

But come on, we all know who's going to come out on top in the end, right?  The action hero's going to win, against incredible odds, because the forces of niceness will always win out over evil, right?  And in this case, the U.S., represented by the President and his top bodyguard, will kick the terrorists' collective asses, be they Korean or Muslim.  And coming soon, no doubt, will be "Moscow Has Fallen", or maybe "Tokyo Has Fallen", because setting the next one in New York or Paris would just really hit too close to home.  

I've looked at a few of the recent reviews, which have called this film everything from a "racist debacle" to "Team America without the jokes".  I may have some issues with the film, but I don't think it's all that bad.  It's very America-forward of course, and I wonder how we keep getting away with it, is it just because we invented movies?  Does that somehow make Western propaganda OK?

The film does raise issues for me, sort of like how "American Sniper" did - is it right for the U.S. to kill our enemies via sniper attacks and drone strikes?  Is that really brave, or cowardly in a way?  And for every enemy we kill in such a fashion, don't we create two or three people in his family that now hate the U.S. even more?  When the President here realizes that the man trying to kill him is an arms dealer who survived a drone strike, it almost seems like he's going to question our foreign policies, but the film just can't connect that last dot.  So they send in the vice-president, played my Morgan Freeman, to remind us in the end that we can't just sit idly by and do nothing.  Umm, why not?  If meddling in the Middle East created the situation with ISIS that we have now, why don't we just stop and admit we don't know what we're doing over there?  Let them fight some intra-murals for a while.  Because everything seems OK now while our tech is superior, but what happens when the terrorists get drones?  

Also, we're still fascinated by special effects of buildings coming down, it looks like.  The SPFX teams keep upping the ante, and I noticed it during films like "Man of Steel" a couple of years ago - how many virtual skyscrapers and landmarks have to be destroyed before we get tired of seeing that?  I figured that since 9/11 it's something that would be a painful reminder, but nope, it keeps putting asses in the theater seats.  So if you hate London and you want to see its landmarks come falling down, then this is the movie for you.  Also, if you're a fan of first-person shooter games, because there's a long sequence in the second half that seems straight out of "Call of Duty" or similar games.  

If you ask me, Gerard Butler is putting in his bid to play James Bond, once Daniel Craig finally gives up the role.  I wouldn't mind a bit, I don't think the franchise could do much better.  He's Scottish, right?  That worked with Connery...

NITPICK POINT: While on the run from terrorists, Banning's recommendation to the President is to avoid the Embassy, because that's where everyone will expect them to go, so they go instead to an MI:6 safe house.   Why are those the only two choices?  My advice would be: get a car, drive to the outskirts of London, find a pub and just sit in the back room all night.  Play some darts, have a pint and get something to eat, plus the Muslims will never even think to look there. 

Starring Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Radha Mitchell, Robert Forster, Melissa Leo, Sean O'Bryan (all carrying over from "Olympus Has Fallen"), Alon Aboutboul, Waleed Zuaiter, Colin Salmon (last seen in "Match Point"), Jackie Earle Haley (last seen in "Little Children"), Charlotte Riley, Patrick Kennedy, Bryan Larkin, Deborah Grant. 

RATING: 6 out of 10 stinger missiles

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