'Seen it all before'
FILM REVIEW: ANGEL HAS FALLEN (15), SHOWCASE CINEMA DE LUX PETERBOROUGH, OUT NOW
CAST: GERARD BUTLER, MORGAN FREEMAN, DANNY HUSTON, NICK NOLTE, JADA PINKETT SMITH, TIM BLAKE NELSON, PIPER PERABO, MICHAEL LANDES, MARK ARNOLD & LANCE REDDICK
RUNNING TIME: 2 HRS 1 MIN DIRECTOR: RIC ROMAN WAUGH
Never has the term ‘seen it all before’ been so apt. Gerard Butler returns as Secret Service agent Mike Banning, in this stereotypical actioner that sees him framed for an assassination attempt on Morgan Freeman’s US President Allan Trumbull – who has advanced from Speaker and Vice President in the previous two instalments to become the most powerful man on the planet.
After Banning and the President (who ends up in a coma) barely survive a terrorist drone attack – which kills more than a dozen special agents – he finds himself in the custody of the FBI (headed by Jada Pinkett Smith’s agent Helen Thompson) after being used as a pawn in a political game played by his ex-buddie-turned-mercenary Wade Jennings (Danny Huston) and his idealistic cronies. Sound familiar? Because it is. Just with a couple of nice action sequences throw in.
Even Banning’s relationship with his estranged father – and Vietnam vet Clay (Nick Nolte) – is shoe-horned in to try and make an emotional impact, but the only thing that stands out from their unlikely alliance after Banning escapes, is the ludicrous amount of explosives he has set up around his cabin in the wilderness. Which is as comical is it is ridiculous.
2013’s Olympus was actually pretty decent fare – preferable to the other Oval-office terrorist thriller of that year White House Down – but this is only on about a par with the lacklustre London has Fallen from three years ago, as the franchise runs out of ideas. It’s not without its merits – and is still watchable throughout – but this angel has slowly fallen from grace after its promising start.
If this trilogy does end Banning’s escapades, then sadly it does go out more with a formulaic ‘whimper’ – than the intended big finale ‘bang’. It is what it is. And that for some will be enough.
Rating: 2.5/5 By Gavin Miller