In terms of modern action sequels, few have felt as unnecessary as London Has Fallen, nor have they been as strangely accessible. The sequel to 2013’s underrated action hit Olympus Has Fallen, London Has Fallen once again finds President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) and secret service agent Mike Banning (Gerald Butler) in the middle of terrorist crossfire, this time at the funeral of the British Prime Minister at the hands of a radical terrorist group. While the film’s own ridiculousness does require a fair suspension of disbelief, there’s a giddiness to how simple the story is, and how dedicated it is to its entertainment purpose.
While the initial film was an homage to ’90s action films in the vein of Die Hard, the sequel only ups the action with more humor and disaster sequences. Director Babak Najafi proves to be inferior to Antoniw Fuqua’s work on the original, with an over reliance on CGI in comparison to practical effects, though a few tracking shots at the climax salvage much of the film, and the brutality makes for an above average thriller. However, the plot is more thinly drawn, and while there are some nice character moments, the material feels dense at points and lacks a real center focus, as the subplots often feel unresolved.
While the material is less tightly crafted in comparison to the initial film, the sequel does continue the great chemistry between Gerald Butler and Aaron Eckhart, who’s charisma and surprising dramatic heft elevate the material. The film is completely bonkers at points, with a vast majority of it feeling underwritten, but he film leaves a wink to the audience that suggests that dramatic storytelling was never it’s true intention. On a basis of pure entertainment, London Has Fallen is often rewarding and completely enjoyable, though one shouldn’t think too hard or look for anything but fun. Grade: B-