Angel Has Fallen – 3 out of 5
After the mighty Olympus has fallen, it set off a domino effect that knocked London to the ground and now it will see the angels fall from the sky. Angel Has Fallen is the third in the Fallen franchise and it is about as good as the first two. Meaning that this one is also an okay, middle-of-the-road action film that is decent enough for a one-time watch but not really good enough to become a series that I invest wholly in and watch repeatedly.
|President Trumbull: "Take this candy from my hand."|
Banning: "There's no candy in your hand."
President Trumbull: "You've passed my test."
Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is considering replacing the retiring Secret Service Director David Gentry (Lance Reddick). Banning is getting older and is starting to suffer from migraines, insomnia and chronic back pain and he thinks it might be time to get a desk job for the sake of himself and his family. However, while protecting President Trumbull (Morgan Freeman) during a fishing trip, a swarm of highly advanced drones attack and kill everyone in the protection detail except Banning and leaves the President in a coma. The attack is linked back to Banning and he is setup by unseen forces to take the fall. After escaping from custody, Banning goes on the run from the law in order to try and clear his name but doing so forces him to team with his estranged father; Clay (Nick Nolte).
|Put on the yacht rock because it is party time down by the lake!|
This franchise has never been one of my favs in the action genre. Sure, the action in the films are genuinely great and very exciting but their overall products have always had major drawbacks that held them back. Olympus Has Fallen dragged a lot and London Has Fallen got ridiculously racist. Both had their great action to them and amazing casts but their drawbacks were so prevalent that it made both films very middle-of-the-road-y. This one is no better but, thankfully, it isn’t racism killing this one. Instead, this one feels like a return to the original film and that means a story that drags a lot is responsible for this one not delivering.
|Banning shall take on this danger with his trademark smoldering stare!|
|"I'm in trouble and need help. Also, I was somehow able |
to find a payphone. Isn't that crazy?!?"
There are some very cool action scenes in Angel Has Fallen. Hell, the open moments where the central point of conflict is established with the drones attacking the President and the protection detail is absolutely killer! However, the story slows down terrible in between the moments where the bullets are flying. The story doesn’t structure its “mystery” very well and it is pretty obvious who is behind this attempt of setting up Banning nor is it taking advantage of this concept and leaning into the more thrilling side of things as Banning tries to clear his name. Additionally, the idea of Banning having a broken father whom he hasn’t seen since childhood is fine in theory but, in practice, only worked to further slowdown the story. While Nick Nolte is genuinely good in the role, this sudden backstory of the character of Mike Banning felt extremely needless when you realize the character of Clay kinda/sorta pops in and out of the story with no real substance behind his usage. In all honesty, the character of the father and the haphazard exploration of this father’s past trauma and how that trauma affected Banning’s developmental and adult years feels tacked on and doesn’t really feel like it belongs in any strong way.
|Nolte's character is a broken man living in the woods and is extremely paranoid...|
I'll be honest, I just assumed Nolte was playing himself in this one.
Once again, the film has a great cast and Gerard Butler does a great job at leading the charge as the action hero lead. Morgan Freeman is fantastic as the now President of this franchise, Danny Huston is tremendous even though you know exactly what his character is up to the moment he is introduced and, despite not truly feeling like he belonged in the film to me, Nick Nolte is great as Clay. The film also has Tim Blake Nelson as the Vice President, Jada Pinkett Smith as an FBI Agent investigating Benning and Lance Reddick as the Secret Service Director. Despite how the entire franchise not being a runaway action train, this series gets some incredibly talent people to be on its roster and they always do an awesome job. This one is definitely not an exception in this department.
|You can tell by his face that Huston is a good guy.|
Angel Has Fallen, sadly, gets kinda boring kinda often and it feels longer than it needs to be. Considering the storyline, the tone should have had a thriller aspect working in concert with its action but, instead, just felt like a flat action film where I never once felt like Banning was in any true danger. Add in a subplot about an estranged father and the only real thing this film had going for it was an amazing cast and some decent action. Unfortunately, as an overall product, it falls in-line with the rest of the franchise and comes off like a serviceable, middle-of-the-road action feature.