29th Aug2019

‘Angel Has Fallen’ Review

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: Gerard Butler, Frederick Schmidt, Danny Huston, Jada Pinkett Smith, Morgan Freeman, Rocci Williams, Piper Perabo, Michael Landes | Written by Robert Mark Kamen, Matt Cook, Ric Roman Waugh | Directed by Ric Roman Waugh

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Angel Has Fallen is the third and presumably final film in the trilogy of secret service agent Mike Banning, played by Gerard Butler, which began in 2013 with Olympus Has Fallen, followed up with London Has Fallen in 2016. Viewers find Mike Banning on the run from his own country after he is set up by an unknown international terrorist organisation, after an assassination attempt on the President of the United States, played this time around by Morgan Freeman, does not go to plan.

If it all sounds quite familiar, you would be right. However, there is a slight difference in this specific tale we have all been blessed with. Yes, the narrative is a somewhat exact retelling of the previous two installments, but Angel Has Fallen takes what works, ramps it up tenfold and intensifies all the action with a strong R-Rating. The plot is absolutely absurd. It is outrageous and is all over the place with an excessive amount of overly accentuated material that could so easily come across as ridiculous.

That being said the way it is crafted is reminiscent of the 80s action sequences of Schwarzenegger and Stallone and much like the pioneers of 80s action cinema it is joyful to watch the character Mike Banning. Especially in set pieces in which he takes on a whole unit of police while on a spree in a semi-truck. An unbelievable and outlandish factor that has no other way for it all to end, aside from in explosions and him surviving to live another day. Such an action piece is repeat and rinsed, to train all entertainment value out of each sequence. A clear sign that Angel Has Fallen has no other concept on its mind aside to impress and deliver value for money for the viewer.

Often than not ridiculousness can become bloated and tiresome yet here, it is marvelous to watch in its impeccable peculiarity. A bloated cameo from Nick Nolte as Banning Sr only reinforces the “IDGAF” attitude that it wears on its sleeve proudly. The absurdity that works so well does so as it does not play overly serious but that the action sequences are crafted with sharp intensity and bravado. Butler’s accent is horrendous, but his physicality and screen presence are strong, and he undoubtedly adds a certain gravitas to the events very few action heroes of his ilk can genuinely uphold.

On the more serious front, Angel Has Fallen has its moments to breathe and explore more socially conscious factors. One specific example is that it explores the severe nature of PTSD and one-way avenue of patriotism to some extent, and the execution is profoundly compelling and intriguing. It forgets about it after the first twenty minutes and only really touches upon it in small doses, but it’s a welcome addition for a more impactful and character-driven feature that has struggled to craft compelling characters in the past.

Angel Has Fallen, on its third try, succeeds in the outrageous and ridiculous with an energetic action spectacle and utterly bonkers narrative that has no qualms of exploring its hard R-rating. It is a regurgitated screenplay but gets around such a factor with each set piece equally if not more crazed than the one before – so while the specifics may bore the visuals suffice.

Angel Has Fallen is in cinemas now.

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