A still from ‘Angel Has Fallen’.
A still from ‘Angel Has Fallen’.

Film review: ‘Angel Has Fallen’ marks the return of a lazy franchise

  • Gerard Butler is back as the secret service agent tasked with protecting the US president
  • He finds himself on the run in this tired, unimaginative thriller

In the third film of this franchise, Gerard Butler is back as US Secret Service Agent Mike Banning, assigned to the protection of President Alan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman). Banning has proven himself to be a one-man fighting machine, who has singlehandedly saved a former US President during an attack on the White House in Olympus Has Fallen and then shielding the President from a terror attack on the British capital in London Has Fallen.

The President might be new, but the silliness of the plot and Butler’s humourless protagonist remain unchanged. In this edition, Banning’s game is off. He’s suffering dizzy spells and heavily dependent on pain medication. This impacts his ability to execute his duties, which has far-reaching ramifications on the safety and life of the US head of state. The Secret Service’s inept detailing and security protocols are also seriously questionable, but the FBI’s attention is quickly focussed on Banning.

Through a series of events and a conveniently orchestrated set-up, Banning becomes public enemy number one, and chief suspect in an attack on Trumbull. On the run from the law, Banning is both the suspect as well as the only person attempting to uncover the truth behind the assassination attempt. While Banning had friendly banter with erstwhile President Asher (played twice over by Aaron Echkart), he has a more respectful bond with the senior Trumbull.

In an attempt to humanise Banning, director Ric Roman Waugh introduces Banning’s wife (Piper Perabo), child, estranged father (Nick Nolte) and a former colleague (Danny Huston) who has “bad guy" written all over his camo costume.

The unimaginative script matches the uninspired action scenes, which are worsened by shabby computer graphics. The laziness of this franchise is apparent in the third part and Butler’s beaten character is hardly able to generate interest. It must be tiring being a one-man army and it’s a wonder Banning still has a job considering Presidents seem to repeatedly be under attack on his watch. Acting honours, if any, go to Nolte and Banning’s baby girl, whose performance is staggeringly on point.

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