One and a half out of four
“Angel Has Fallen” is another save-the-president film that tries to be smarter than it is with more action than is needed.
In “Olympus Has Fallen” Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) saves the president. In “London Has Fallen” he saves the president again. This time Banning saves the president, but gets framed for the attempted assassination.
The film tries to give the audience something different with a plot that will make them say, “Oooh, that’s new.” But the end result is just, “eh, same ol’ same ol.’ ”
The whole film hinges on the idea that Banning is set up as an assassin. The real assassins leave behind clues so the FBI will falsely pin the crime on Banning — DNA, hair and fingerprints. However, the alleged “crime scene” is so sloppy, it should be clear the agents tracking Banning down that something doesn’t smell right as someone with Banning’s skills wouldn’t leave so much obvious evidence.
“Angel Has Fallen” attempts to give audiences a plot full of twist and turns. While on the run, Banning’s goal is to expose the real culprits behind the assassination attempt (and of course, save Mr. President from the real threat). The problem for the audience is the answers are fairly obvious within the first quarter of the movie. If that weren’t enough, the film intentionally reveals the identity of the villains on screen much too soon. Once that happens all sense of suspense is lost.
The film sets up an internal conflict with the character. Banning is not at his physical peak anymore which is affecting his ability to do his job. He doesn’t want to leave but he is considering other work opportunities so he can slow down. However, when he’s taking down baddies left and right, audiences don’t really question his beat-‘em-up skills. Yet another story element that doesn’t hold up.
All this means that the plot of Banning clearing his name isn’t enough to carry the film. To make up for it, the movie is stuffed with long, drawn out action scenes to beef up the plot. Car chases, gun fights and explosions are all fine and dandy for an action movie to have, but it starts to drag on. The final gun battle, especially, tries to ramp up the tension, but we all know the hero is going to save the day at the end of the fight anyway.
“Angel Has Fallen” does have moments that work, mostly in Banning’s relationships with his family, which leads to some tender and humorous exchanges. This helps build up his character a little more, but by the end of the movie he’s just your standard I-saved-America action hero.
“Angel Has Fallen” has nothing surprising for audiences to enjoy. The plot is too simple. The action and performances are standard for an action movie, there’s nothing special or inventive going on here. As the title suggests, “Angel Has Fallen,” falls in every aspect.