"Angel Has Fallen" is the third chapter in the saga of Mike Banning, and here's hoping it's the last.
It's one of the most unlikely action trilogies of the past decade, but heroic Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) still can draw people into theaters. 2013's "Olympus Has Fallen" and 2016's "London Has Fallen" both barely made back their modest budgets stateside at the box office, but were slightly bigger hits overseas. There must be a hankering for generic action around the globe, because that's been the calling card of this whole series.
In the first film, Banning successfully protected the President from a terrorist attack on the White House. In part two, he foiled a terrorist plot in London. This time, he must save himself after he is framed for an assassination attempt on the new President Trumbull (Morgan Freeman, whose character was VP the last we saw him). On the run with nowhere to go and bad guys planning to pull off even worse horrors, Banning seeks out his long-estranged father, Clay Banning (Nick Nolte), a Vietnam vet who left his son and wife back when Mike was just a kid. The film also stars Danny Huston, Jada Pinkett Smith, Lance Reddick and Tim Blake Nelson.
None of the "Fallen" films have really worked all that well, but this might be the worst of the bunch. Despite the heavy themes in the first two films with them centering on terror attacks, both movies have had a sense of levity, where Banning was always quick with a one-liner and the action was made to be fun. The f-word is missing completely from this movie, nearly until a strange-fitting stinger scene comes mid-way through the end credits.
This movie is so generic that in fact, I wondered if it was actually a new movie at all, or if it was just an action script that was laying around in Hollywood, that was retro-fitted to squeeze in the characters of Banning and Trumbull. Other than the fact that we've seen them in other movies, this film has almost ZERO to do with the other two films that came before. Even worse, for anyone that has ever watched Keifer Sutherland's Jack Bauer in FOX's "24" will recognize nearly every plot point...this entire franchise is basically a cheap, hackneyed rip-off of every story-line from that show. And Bauer quite frankly, would kick Mike Banning's ass.
"Angel Has Fallen" is as throw-away as they come, adding nothing new to the genre or the characters. With studios these days desperate for new, original franchises, Lionsgate must have been happy to have squeezed three movies out of this one.
Banning - at the end of the last two films - has flirted with resigning but always chooses to return to duty. But it's finally time to hang 'em up. The only thing left to fall is the public's interest in this banal franchise.
Run Time: 2 hours.
Starring: Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Nick Nolte, Danny Huston, Jada Pinkett Smith, Lance Reddick, Tim Blake Nelson, Piper Perabo.
Directed by Ric Roman Waugh ("Shot Caller," "Snitch," "Felon," "In the Shadows").
"Angel Has Fallen" opens everywhere on Friday, August 23rd, 2019.
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