Seldom does a film have its pulse so firmly on its audience’s heartbeat than “Angel Has Fallen,” the unnecessary addition to the “Olympus Has Fallen” and “London Has Fallen” trilogy. This is a movie with an abundance of mediocrity, from the ludicrous plot to the hackish directing.
In other words, it’s not a thinking man’s movie, and it shows. Not every movie can or should be sophisticated and smart, but this is altogether designed for those high school educated folks to kick back with their buddies and a six pack of Budweiser and go to town. Hat’s off to the filmmakers who understand and play directly to their target audience as well as this.
Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is back, this time protecting President Trumbull (Morgan Freeman). After an assassination attempt during the President’s fishing trip, Mike is wrongfully accused and goes on the run to prove his innocence.
Early on, there’s a real sense of danger. A drone attack on the President and his Secret Service detail is frightening, but only because it’s the most plausible aspect of the story. The cast does a decent job with what they’re given. Butler has had more than a few missteps along his career path, but he’s still just as hardworking and appealing as ever. Nick Nolte is a great addition as a survivalist mountain man, and he’s introduced with a bang. Too bad he then has nothing much to do and is casually forgotten until the (slightly amusing) end credits scene.
Not only is the “Fugitive” rip-off scenario ridiculous, but there isn’t much fun to be had along the way. The film is poorly directed (by Ric Roman Waugh), and the action scenes are particularly bad. Waugh has managed to take what could’ve been mildly exciting action and made it dull and boring. There’s an extended sequences of a police and big rig chase through a forest road, but it consists of nothing but close-up shots of Butler behind the wheel and POV views of the road. The rest of the movie is reminiscent of a second-rate shooting video game with its low budget feel, lots of shaky camera movements, CGI explosions, and fake smoke that hide any real action or skillful fight choreography.
This isn’t a movie for brainiacs, and that’s okay. There’s a twist that most everyone will see coming just a few minutes in. In case you can’t follow along, the characters often explain what’s happening (“he’s on the roof!” “four minutes to evacuate!”), stating the obvious for any morons who happen to be in the audience. If you doze off for 20 minutes and then wake up, you’ll find you haven’t missed anything critical to the story.
I often enjoy late summer junk like this, but only when it’s well done. “Angel Has Fallen” is nothing but more of the same old, forgettable action movie.