Two years ago in the Middle East, the United States conducted an anti-terrorism measure which saw a drone strike on a celebration being held by an extremely dangerous man in the region, dangerous to both that part of the world and to other parts of the world as well. As it turned out, Barwaki (Waleed Zuaiter) survived, though his daughter was killed in the explosion, and this has strengthened his resolve and that of his terrorist-funding father (Alon Aboutboul) to strike back with even more force against who they regard as the infidels in the West. Meanwhile, in Washington one man who knows a bit about surviving terrorist attacks is Mike Banning (Gerard Butler), bodyguard to the President (Aaron Eckhart). And that's just as well...
In the war of the White House attack movies, Olympus Has Fallen well and truly trounced White House Down, in spite of the latter being far more entertaining and self-aware of how over the top it needed to be to prove an enjoyable experience, that was one which may have developed a dire set of circumstances for the characters to play out, but was not so tied to the real world that it became distressing. But nobody wanted to see that, well, not very many anyway, and it languished while a few years later we were graced with London Has Fallen, a sequel whose title gave away everything you needed to know about it. Yes, it was a major incident in the British capital that we were asked to find amusing, or at least exciting.
You did have to wonder about the minds behind a movie that cast a jaundiced eye over the world's terrorism crisis and thought it was all very well, but they could do better. Or worse, but the way this was presented it was clear they really thought they could improve on the chaos and it wasn't simply a case of raising the stakes of the first instalment where this time it was a whole city of millions that was subjected to the threat. What happens was that the British Prime Minister dies of a heart attack (or... does he?) and a state funeral is arranged which sees a selection of world leaders showing up to pay their respects. Only what do you know, with ill-disguised glee the film wipes them out in a hail of bullets or detonations, leaving the American President the last top man standing.
That was thanks to the manly assistance of everyone’s favourite big stookie Gerard Butler, using his sort of American accent once more, because the Brits who use their actual accent proved useless in the face of not only Islamic terrorists but non-Islamic mercenaries willing to dress up as polis and open fire on the heid yins who cared to attend. Anyway, any in the vicinity of Eckhart are executed with extreme prejudice by Banning, "prejudice" being the operative word as many audiences were made uncomfortable by the rabid xenophobia of the film that was not quite soothed by having an Iranian director, Babak Najafi, nor a selection of the bad guys not pledging their allegiance to any god but Mammon. It was all very well to provide an excuse for the shootiebangs, but the real world was pressing hard on the plot.
Naturally, any resemblance between events and characters in this film and actual persons was purely coincidental, but with terrorist acts on the news every week, every day in many cases, you could forgive many for feeling that no matter how London Has Fallen was basically Invasion USA with Chuck Norris given a twenty-first century twist, it was a bit of an indulgent joke for the powerless who wanted to see someone succeed in battling the forces of evil, therefore maybe there are some things you shouldn't joke about. That said, everyone here looked to be perfectly sincere in the benefits of getting gung ho when dealing with foreign policy, so it could very well be their solution to baddies killing people being to kill even more people in response was a serious proposition. But setting all that aside and opting for the escapist route, it remained a curiously drab affair that when it wasn't applying CGI explosions to overhead footage of London and parts of Bulgaria passing for London was difficult to lose oneself in. Music by Trevor Morris.