Critics mostly can’t stand it, audiences love it. That’s the perfect way to describe the Fallen franchise. The third instalment, Angel Has Fallen, is a fairly cumbersome shoot ‘em up but proves to have the most potential of the three films. With a two hour runtime, Angel Has Fallen stars Gerard Butler as top Secret Service Agent Mike Banning. There isn’t much to say in regards to dramatic plot, acting performances or provocative dialogue. Those aren’t the reason audiences flock to see this film. They go to see explosions, camp, and mindless action which Angel Has Fallen has plenty of.
Directed by Ric Roman Waugh (Felon, Snitch, Shot Caller) Angel Has Fallen depicts a haggard, painkiller popping Banning. This time he’s been framed for the attempted murder of President Trumball (Morgan Freeman). For most of the film Freeman’s character is comatose and as a result we lose the Banning/President buddy relationship as seen in the Olympus Has Fallen and London Has Fallen with Aaron Eckhart.
To prove his innocence Banning must overcome old army friend turned adrenaline junkie, money hungry defense contractor Wade Jennings (Danny Huston) the no nonsense FBI Agent Helen Thompson (Jada Pinkett Smith), his fellow Secret Servicemen and old age. With no allies and the odds against him, he seeks help from his estranged woodsman father Clay Banning (Nick Nolte).
Here’s the Rundown:
Clay Banning: Nolte’s paranoid anti-establishment character, Clay, is both campy and fun. The opposite of Banning’s patriotism, Clay is living off-grid in the woods and as a result, gone a little cuckoo. Banning turns to his estranged father for help and the brief Clay/Banning banter is laughable in the silliest of ways. Unfortunately, their buddy relationship that could have easily replaced the absent Banning/President relationship is quickly deserted.
Action: Overall the film is full of Hollywood cookie-cutter action aided by special effects. There are a few action sequences that warrant mention. One chase scene involves Banning careening down a country road in a big rig. Another is just Banning and Clay blowing up an entire forest full of goons.
Villains: Unlike the previous two movies the villains in Angel Has Fallen are from the Land of the Free, Home of the Brave. The film zeros in on the tensions between the US and Russia as a political backdrop. There are references to the alleged internal corruption of the US government, dropping hints of Russia’s election tampering. Could it be a quick stab at the Trump administration?