London Has Fallen Review – An Electrifying, High Body Count,Thrill Ride

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London Has Fallen, the much anticipated sequel to Olympus Has Fallen, from Focus Features and Gramercy Pictures, presents an action packed, high body count, testosterone charged amplified thrill ride, complete with a realistic plot, stunning explosions, horrific destruction and heightened suspense.

Directed by Babak Najafi, London Has Fallen stars Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett and Melissa Leo. London Has Fallen also stars Radha Mitchell, Robert Forrester, Patrick Kennedy, Charlotte Riley, and Michael Wildman. With Alon Moni Aboutboul, Waleed F. Zauiter, Adel Bencherif, Mehdi Dehbi and Shivani Ghai.

London Has Fallen begins in two different deserts which couldn’t be further from each other. The first, in Lahore, Pakistan at a lavish wedding and the other drone service quarters in the Nevada desert. Cleared to launch, the drone military team unleashes an airstrike killing family, friends and wedding party of the world’s most lethal arms dealer, Aamir Barkawi, played by Alon Moni Aboutboul.

Fast forward two years, President Asher in a role reprised by Aaron Eckhart has just won re-election. His lead Secret Service agent Mike Banning, also reprised by Gerard Butler, are moving forward. Banning and his wife, Leah, played by Radha Mitchell are expecting their first baby. Normal and routine which one understand is how the president and his secret service team prefer is taming the wild man.

London has Fallen doesn’t get waylaid in the bringing the audience up to speed and it is just as well.  Within minutes, the team is notified the British Prime Minister has died of a heart attack in his sleep (echoes of current headlines) and the must attend state funeral brings forty world leaders, each with its own security detail, and each a logistical nightmare, to London.

As one could imagine London is on high alert and teams are introduced to discuss the details. Soon with Secret Service Director Lynn Jacobs, played by Angela Bassett who also reprises her role, Banning, and the President are in the air.

In order to secure the President, Banning has moved up the arrival according to his own schedule instead of the pre-set sent by the British government.

With terror methods so widely disseminated the screenwriters were brilliant in bringing authenticity to a sensitive and lethal topic. In order to stage a full scale assassination of the G7 leaders how would one go about handling the logistics?

That is what is played out in London Has Fallen. The series of immediate explosions send shockwaves, shrapnel and teams scattering, killing initially the Canadian Prime Minister and his wife and then immediately following the German Chancellor.

Wave Two kills the French President and Japanese Prime Minister and in a stunning cap, the third bomb blast kills the Italian Prime Minister who has taken his assistant on a private tour of Westminster Abbey.

The shock and surprise set off team two, which as London Has Fallen is played out the amount of terror recruits in each of her majesty’s branches and employee is alarming.

Immediately the world has learned of the devastating attacks which decimate the London skyline destroying almost every known landmark. The White House War Room erupts with former Speaker of the House, now Vice President Trumbull played by Morgan Freeman stunned with wave after wave of news reports filtering in.

The intent was to kill the U.S. president and his team immediately after the first strike. Surviving the hit Asher, Banning and Director Jacobs were extracted from the attack site and in a spectacular street chase scene, fight their way to the helicopters that take them to Air Force One.

The continuation of government and extracting the president are the two most important issues. Confident in Banning, the scale and perpetrator of the operation is the chief concern for Trumbull.

Banning taps one trusted MI6 agent, Jacqueline, played by Charlotte Riley, and soon the scope of the enormous campaign unfolds when the two of them add together the puzzles pieces.

London Has Fallen erupts into a large scale Cat and Mouse chase with well-funded terrorist team chasing the President through the streets, on foot, in air and on ground. The special effects creating the series of amplified explosions were dramatic and impressive.

Pulling from every terrorist assault manual in the world, Banning and Asher don’t escape unscathed. This is not an immediate getaway. The terrorists, again mirroring events barely in our history, that the world media has covered, are in well-planned coordinated teams.

The terror teams prepared for an on ground and in air fight and launch surface to air missiles as the helicopters pilots become fighter pilots in a never before attempted dogfight scenes.

London Has Fallen was written by the husband/wife writing team of Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt, the original writers of Olympus Has Fallen. Christian Gudegast and Chad St. John were brought in to develop the screenplay.

The writers were impressive in every way. My one critique would rest in filling the heightened action scenes that could hold their own without additional dialogue, which is no small feat, with empty one liners. At times additional words are unnecessary.

The two men share a history so the humorous one liners used to break the tension is funny when the world isn’t actually falling apart around you. Some of the one liners were gratuitous and should have been left in the writer’s room best saved for another day.

London Has Fallen is every bit the action thrill ride, it is packed solid with some of the most unique terror assaults scenes ever portrayed. The premise remains faithful to the original, Olympus Has Fallen storyline with a location change.

With terror threats so high in Europe and the uncanny timing of a state funeral due to a sleeping heart attack of the Prime Minister the film echoes of conspiracy theories, modern events and mirror unimaginable and very real terror threats.

London has Fallen, a must see film, is one bad ass fast action electrifying ride. It has it all. A top notch cast, stunning surprises, the whammy’s are in overdrive. Expect the unexpected.

London Has Fallen opens March 4, 2016 everywhere. 

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