London Has Fallen | Film review - Gung-ho, dumb and jingoistic - but a great drinking game

London Has Fallen Gerard Butler
London Has Fallen Gerard Butler

Gerard Butler's US secret service agent drops F-bombs galore in a gung-ho action thriller sequel that lays waste to half the capital.

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Casting Gerard Butler in the Bruce Willis role of lone maverick terrorist-foiling lawman, 2011’s Olympus Has Fallen was a brazen Die Hard in the White House knockoff, but its mix of gung-ho action and cheesy special effects proved a guilty pleasure treat.

The effects are cheesier and the pleasures guiltier in sequel London Has Fallen, which finds Butler’s US secret service agent Mike Banning once again saving the day when the US President (Aaron Eckhart) falls into harm’s way.

This time it’s the British capital that is under attack, on the day when the world’s leaders have gathered there for the funeral of the Prime Minister, who has died unexpectedly. The funeral is a trap. A dastardly Asian arms dealer is seeking to avenge the death of his daughter in a drone attack sanctioned by ‘the G8’.

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(Image credit: David Appleby)

This villain, apparently ‘a man responsible for more deaths than the plague’, has somehow managed to infiltrate his men into the Metropolitan Police, Queen’s Guard and security services, and the assembled heads of state – all cheekily stereotyped – are soon falling like ninepins. But not, Eckhart’s POTUS, thanks to one-man army Banning, who dashes hither and thither across the capital (the film’s grasp of geography is somewhat hazy) to prevent the terrorists fulfilling their aim of executing the president live on the internet.

Director Babak Najfi’s depiction of Banning’s ensuing exploits is even more ostentatiously dumb and jingoistic than predecessor Antoine Fuqua’s handling of the agent’s last round of derring-do. Still, viewers may get a kick from seeing a bunch of London landmarks blown to smithereens (though not the Shard nor Walkie Talkie, sadly), while the spectacle of producer-star Butler’s macho hero dropping more F-bombs than the film has explosions would surely produce a rip-roaring drinking game.

Certificate 15. Runtime 99 mins. Director Babak Najifi


Jason Best

A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.