Angel Has Fallen

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Previously, Olympus and London have both fallen.  Now it is Angel’s turn.

This is the third movie in the series of “…has Fallen” movies starring Gerard Butler as Secret service agent Mike Banning.  Those two previous movies set the bar for what this movie had to be, a high action, silly, popcorn movie.

The President (Morgan Freeman) is fishing when a massive drone attack attempted to assassinate him.  The president was saved by Banning, but, when they were taken to the hospital, the president was in a coma and Banning was being arrested for turning on the president with help from Russia.  Mike escapes custody and goes on the lamb, looking for help from his paranoid father (Nick Nolte).  Mike has to go to extremes to prove that he was framed and that he was still loyal to the president.

A few weeks ago, with Hobbs and Shaw, we saw a movie that was big and dumb, depending on its action and the charisma of its lead actors to carry a weaker plot.  This franchise is very much in the same vein as that.  It is hard not to think of the Fast and the Furious franchise and how much leeway those films get when you are thinking about Angel has Fallen and its other films.

Unfortunately, there was one major drawback for me with this movie and it was the fact that this was DESPERATELY predictable.  There were two different times in the movie that they portrayed a moment as a huge reveal, when it was painfully obvious that EVERYBODY already knew the reveal.  And while predictability is not always a kiss of death, when it is shown as a mystery, you have to have some level of surprise about the reveal.  I literally knew immediately who the first villain was, and then, when we found out that that first villain was working with someone else, I said to myself in the theater, “Please don’t let it be [insert name]” and, of course, it was.  I held out a slight hope that the film was not going to go where it looked like it was going, but it obviously did.  And that was hard to get past for me.

Gerard Butler was fine.  He is never going to blow you away with his performance, but he is a solid action star and he was certainly believable.  You can get behind his relationship with Morgan Freeman, who plays the president.  I liked them together.

The film absolutely had some scenes that were reminiscent of The Fugitive, which was distracting for awhile too.

There were some really good action set pieces, including a pretty solid third act at a hospital.  Yes, much of what happens really should not be possible, but you let that slide because the film is not trying to be 100% realistic.

However, there are some scenes that deal with real life problems affecting Mike Banning from his life as an action hero.  For example, he has concussions and is addicted to pain meds.  He is shown to be slowly breaking down as the years moved along.  This was a fascinating part of the film that, sadly, did not receive enough of screen time.  I would have liked this to be more of the driving conflict of the film.  Especially since his physical troubles never seem to affect him during the fight or action scenes.

Nick Nolte’s scenes were some of the best in the film, despite really being a different tone from the rest of the movie. Speaking of that, this movie has a mid-credit scene that is completely ridiculous and has absolutely nothing to do with anything.  I sat there watching this mid-credit scene thinking “Why?”.

Implausible?  Yes.  Predictable?  Absolutely.  Fun?  Somewhat.  I did not hate Angel Has Fallen, but these problems did weigh it down for me.  Yet, there have been many worse movies than this out this year.

2.7 stars

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