Angel Has Fallen, the third installment of the Gerard Butler-led Has Fallen trilogy, following Olympus Has Fallen and London Has Fallen, is a film I would refer to as a “Lazy Sunday Dad Movie”.
Imagine your dad comes home from shooting a mediocre round of eighteen in the morning. He plops himself down on the couch with a sandwich and a cold beverage. He turns on the T.V. and begins to scroll the channels, not by using the guide button, but by the less efficient way of hitting the up arrow on the channel button. He sees that Angel Has Fallen is just starting and ends his search. He eats his sandwich and gets about a half hour into the movie, or right around the the first plot point, before he falls asleep in whatever position he was sitting or laying in. He wakes up roughly one hour later, which being on T.V. means only a little over a half hour of the movie has passed, and within five minutes picks up exactly what is happening in the story and has a great time watching wicked shootouts and explosive action.
Angel Has Fallen is not a complicated movie by any sense. It fits right in with the other Fallen films. It features Gerard Butler doing Gerard Butler things, a predictable plot, and a hell of a lot of bullets, explosions, and fighting. But Angel Has Fallen also adds a few more elements, like dealing with Mike’s injuries from the last movies, that make this a little more than just a shoot-em-up/blow-em-up action movie.
Secret Service veteran Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) has had one hell of a career. He saved the President when the White House was being taken over by terrorists and he protected the President again when they were in London. Still working as a member of the Secret Service, this time under President Trumball (Morgan Freeman), Mike is being considered to be in-charge of the secret service, though he is hesitant about it especially due to headaches and insomnia that have come from Mike saving the president. On a routine mission protecting the President on a fishing trip, Mike, the President, and a dozen other secret service agents are attacked my a reign of drones, which kills everyone except Mike and the President, who ends up in a comma. After investigating the scene, the F.B.I. concludes that it was Mike who planned the attack, much to Mike’s surprise. When Mike breaks out of their custody, he goes on a trip to clear his name while also find out who actually set up the attack.
My favorite part of Angel Has Fallen is how they put emphasis on Banning dealing with issues pertaining to his job and what he has been through. In the first two films, Banning survived a lot of chaos and mayhem, being shot at, blown up, punched, kicked, stabbed, and fallen through floors and walls. This cannot not have an effect on a person’s body and this is something that never gets touched on in any other action movie. I love Die Hard and The Fast and Furious franchises, but never once has there been a conversation about Dominic Toretto’s injuries from flying through a car window. In Die Hard, the most John McClane has been injured has been having a hangover in the first one and having a major headache, even though he went through hell in the first films. This was a nice touch to see in an action movie and series that seemingly does not care about story or character development.
I like Butler as Banning, but I was especially a fan him in this one. This is far and away the most serious of the Has Fallen films, with little-to-no one-liners, where as the last two, especially London, felt like a quip fest for Butler. Butler shows why he is an excellent action star, showing the physicality and confidence to handle this insane situation. Freeman is in a coma for half the movie and when he’s alive, he looks like he’s having fun. And a special shoutout needs to go to Nick Nolte who plays Banning’s father. Banning’s father is an off-the-grid hermit of sorts who has loaded his compound with guns, escape routes, surveillance cameras, and bombs, lots and lots of bombs. Nolte looks like he was found in the woods where they shot the compound scenes and just walked onto the set, but it’s for the best, as he’s just a ball to watch.
What are we to expect from this movie? If you go into Angel Has Fallen expect an action masterpiece filled with great characters, an exciting villain, and a story and plot that revolve around more than guns and explosions, you’re in the wrong movie. This is a no-holds-barred, guns-blazing, explosive, action spectacle that you can have as background noise, sleep through, or leave for twenty minutes and still know what is happening. Don’t expect much more than this.
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