Thursday 28 November 2019

Angel Has Fallen ★☆☆☆☆

The so-called Fallen film series has got to be one of the biggest surprises of recent years – the surprise being that it exists, and continues to do so. Following Olympus Has Fallen (2013) and London Has Fallen (2016), this threequel fails to justify its own existence with an overabundance of cliché, predictable twists and a general cookie-cutter thriller structure. Is this the end for the Fallen series, or is it just getting started? Let’s face it, it’s probably the latter…Anyway, it’s time for a closer look at Angel Has Fallen.

Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is wrongly accused and taken into custody for a failed assassination attempt of U.S. President Allan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman). After escaping from his captors, Banning must evade the FBI and his own agency to find the real threat to POTUS. Desperate to uncover the truth, he soon turns to unlikely allies including his estranged father (Nick Nolte) to help clear his name and save the country from imminent danger.

If you’ve seen either of the previous Fallen films – or, hell, any thriller ever – you will know exactly where this is going from the first scene. Angel Has Fallen is exactly what it says on the tin and provides zero unexpected thrills or twists in this rather forced and wholly unnecessary trilogy-closer for a forgettable and tedious saga. Whilst a deranged Nick Nolte livens up the proceedings of Angel Has Fallen as Butler’s nutty old coot father (let’s face it, Nick Nolte improves anything he touches), there is very little else to recommend here. It is an uncomfortably predictable by-the-numbers affair that feels as though it has been generated by an AI who has watched every ‘president under attack’ thriller that has come before it.

As always, the character motives and general plot of the film are totally nonsensical – Danny Huston hams it up as the film’s big bad, an ex-army buddy of Gerard Butler’s Mike who has set up his own militia. His master plan is to assassinate the president so that the corrupt vice president can step up to the plate and give the villain’s private army more contracts, and of course, he can pin it all on his ol’ buddy Mike (and implicate Russia too because reasons). So begins a tedious attempt at a thriller with Gerard Butler desperately attempting to clear his name whilst gunning down an endless parade of nameless and faceless goons, in a ‘wrong man’ plot that would make Alfred Hitchcock turn in his grave. But then again, he was a bit of a nutter, so not really one to pass judgement… I digress.

Where was I? Oh yes, Angel Has Fallen is shit. This tired old franchise needs to take a long hard look at itself now and stop trying to justify its own existence – it’s not going to happen any time soon. There is nothing Mike Banning and his pals can do to make these films feel even remotely interesting or important viewing. Please let this be the end of the saga, for the love of all that is holy. Once, Morgan Freeman used to be an indicator of a film’s quality. Nowadays, as much as it pains me to say this, the opposite is true. When I see Morgan Freeman’s name attached to a film, I wince. Angel Has Fallen is the perfect example…yikes.

Sam Love

At Eternity's Gate at CeX

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