Loud, high on action and moving at a frenetic pace, the sequel to Olympus Has Fallen is more of the same on a bigger scale. Unfortunately, this doesn’t automatically translate to bigger is better and in this respect the film falls short. Despite a promising start, as the bombs fall and the action levels increase London Has Fallen sinks into a cliche ridden action flick that does nothing to set itself apart from other titles in the genre or improve on the film that precedes this.
The story starts with the Prime Minister dead and world leaders from around the world visiting London to attend his funeral. Among them, the US President (Aaron Eckhart) and his Secret Service agent and best friend Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) who both return for the sequel. While the funeral occurs in the heart of London, Middle Eastern terrorists plot an attack in the hope of wiping out all the world leaders in one fell swoop in the British capital. What follows are big action set pieces for the bulk of the film coupled with thin characterisation and a script that feels stretched out. There’s potential here no doubt about it, but London Has Fallen is a dull sequel that fails to improve upon the previous film.
The main draw is undoubtedly the action and its here that the film does its best to impress. They’re choreographed well and there are some Michael-Bay esque moments of madness when everything turns to chaos but the city wide plot with the inclusion of Middle Eastern terrorists is a little tough to swallow at times, especially with the current world narrative so fresh in people’s minds. It feels like a cash grab, using the fear of the Middle East as a tool to promote its cliched plot and this, combined with what feels like an after-thought script, make London Has Fallen a real disappointment. The returning characters this time around are largely unchanged and the new faces are largely forgettable with thin characterisation.
Overall then, London Has Fallen is a disappointing sequel to Olympus. The story is poor, the characters are paper thin but the action, for the most part, is pretty good. Its not on the same level as say James Bond or the Bourne films, but London Has Fallen does feature some nice set pieces. Its moments are few and far between though and for this reason, the film fails to live up to expectations or surpass that of the first film.