FILM UNFILTERED – ‘Angel Has Fallen’ is nothing to get excited about

FILM UNFILTERED – ‘Angel Has Fallen’ is nothing to get excited about


If you are like me, then you have endured watching “Olympus Has Fallen” and “London Has Fallen,” which both chronicle the exploits of Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler). Apparently, people can’t get enough of this character because we are now being offered “Angel Has Fallen.” With luck (and low box office receipts) this will be the last outing for this franchise, and I feel compelled to report that “Angel Has Fallen” and can’t get up.

It’s evident from the get-go that Agent Banning isn’t as sharp as he used to be. His doctor refers to him as a disaster waiting to happen. He’s clearly losing his wits because a 4th-grader could see the bad guy setup 20 minutes into the film, coming a mile away. Maybe everyone associated with this film was simply contractually obligated to make another and they just had to show up.

After a ridiculously aggressive and relentless assassination attempt on the President (Morgan Freeman), Banning awakens handcuffed to his hospital bed. He is framed for the attack and finds himself a fugitive with his own men and government after him. Now mind you, this is after we’ve been told what a physical wreck this guy is, that his vertebrae are messed up and he’s popping pills to quell the pain; yet he single-handedly escapes a moving Suburban filled with five armed men while still restrained. In one after another seemingly impossible narrow escapes, Banning continues to elude captors and cops like he’s Houdini. He somehow disarms and dissuades three men holding guns on him and also survives crashing a tractor trailer with not much more than a scratch.

He then finds shelter with his survivalist, war-weary father. But even with the addition of Nick Nolte, who looks like he is reprising his homeless character from 1986’s “Down and Out in Beverly Hills,” as Clay, Mike’s father, it’s just another subplot in a laughable movie. Throwing in some daddy/son conflict midway through does nothing to improve this foolishness.

The problem is that “Angel Has Fallen” feels so familiar to other action movies, better action movies that you’ve seen a dozens times. Even when Mike is on the run, you never feel compelled to root for him or egg him on the way you felt watching Harrison Ford do the same thing in 1993’s “The Fugitive.” Jada Pinkett Smith’s FBI Agent Thompson is no Tommy Lee Jones as the unrelenting U.S. Marshal who wouldn’t give up.

At one point, the bad guy tells a subordinate “dig into his life” but shouldn’t they already know all of this personal information? They went through all the trouble of setting him up but it never occurred to them where he would run to. Independent contractor firm Salient and its proprietor and former Army veteran Wade Jennings (Danny Huston) seem to have overlooked that.

The only interesting aspects of this movie were how technology like drones, vehicle onboard systems and internet information can be compromised and manipulated. But in the end, this is the story of Gerard Butler’s Banning, the aging Boy Scout do-gooder against a similarly aged dastardly peer, both of who are just damaged men and thirsting to continue waging war and peddling death.

Functional flick to a point, but unmemorable upon exit.

The film is rated R.

Gerard Butler, left, reprises his role as Secret Service agent Mike Banning in “Angel Has Fallen.” Morgan Freeman plays the President.