I must admit that I’m a sucker for a non stop action movie. I eat them up like a dog with a bone, especially when it is executed well. I quite easily forgive plot holes (so long as it is not glaring) and for this, I loved 2013’s Olympus Has Fallen. Unfortunately, because the original movie set the standards so high, I felt like while the sequel may have duplicated the formula, it wasn’t up to par with the first movie.
In Olympus Has Fallen, former Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) single-handedly saved President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) and his son after a Korean terrorist group invaded the White House. This time around, he is tasked to protect the President as he, along with other world leaders attend the state funeral of the British Prime Minister, an unscheduled event that is the nightmare of any security unit. However, the funeral turns out to be a plot by terrorist cells to strategically assassinate the leaders of the free world. With Banning on his side, President Asher remains safe, but the terrorists will not rest until they find him and kill him.
The concept and execution of London Has Fallen was basically a carbon copy of the original, except that it did not have to establish the relationship between Mike and the President in the second movie. Also this time around, the Speaker of the House has now been promoted to Vice President (Morgan Freeman).
The second movie’s substory focused on Mike and his being torn between his love for his work and his love for his growing family. I thought this was a nice touch because President Asher’s family was the focus of the first one. Mike’s turn now.
I liked the same things I did with the first movie although it did not come as a surprise that Mike would be able to save the president in the first wave. I liked that there was a sense of suspense about who was leaking the information to the terrorists, beneath all the action that was happening and I liked how kickass the vice president was, in terms of decision making. I loved how the geeky looking members of the cabinet were the ones who came up with most of the answers to the emergency and tracked down the terrorist cell. Yay geeks!
What I didn’t like was the supporting characters. The agents of the MI-6, instead of being tough and resourceful seemed like mere pencil pushers in the movie, clicking a few codes here and there, but never really doing anything significant. I didn’t like how the snitch was so anticlimactically revealed and how cliche his answer sounded.
All in all, I thought that London Has Fallen played it pretty smart by threading the same direction as the original movie, but in a sense, its strength also became its weakness since everything seemed to have been watered down the second time around. I couldn’t quite put a finger to it but I felt the sequel had a certain disconnection from the characters and to the story. There was nothing that egged the audience on to cheer for the Americans. I guess at the end of the day, it was because everything felt unoriginal.