HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: London Has Fallen
HTS Overall Score:77
2013 was a good year for stupid action flicks. “Olympus Has Fallen” and “White House Down” both came out within months of each other and while neither of them was anything special, I had a BLAST watching the two films. While both of them shared similarities, “Olympus Has Fallen” was basically a “Die Hard” clone, and after the abortion that was “Die Hard 5”, “Olympus” stood out as a very serviceable knock off that showed why Gerard Butler was such a fun action hero whenever he would step into the mantle. While many films these days get sequels, “Olympus Has Fallen” was not one of the movies that NEEDED a sequel, or even set itself up for one, but somehow here we are with a sequel that amps everything up from the first movie and does its best to outdo the job done by Antoine Fuqua 3 years ago. It most certainly does suffer from a bit of sequelitis, and dips a bit in quality, but Mike Banning is as fun to watch as ever as he rips apart villains with relative ease and says enough R rated one liners to put a grin on my face.
Last we left things Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) was back on President Asher’s Secret Service detail and settling down with his ex (played by Radha Mitchell). Now it’s a few years in the future and things haven’t changed much. Banning and his wife are expecting their first child together and things couldn’t be better with him and President Asher. When a well-known weapons dealer sells a batch of weapons to terrorists and murders a British dignitary, the President and his detail have to head out to jolly old England and pay their respects. Unfortunately this was all part of the plan and things go sideways when the same terrorists pop up and eradicate nearly all the world’s leaders present at the funeral. That is except for President Asher and Mike Banning.
While trying to stay alive on the streets of London, Banning and Asher come to realize that this is no simple terrorist plot. This was planned and executed with military precision and for a very good reason. The terrorist in charge of this particular attack is out for revenge. The revenge of a Middle Eastern man who has seen pain and suffering and wishes to bring that same pain and suffering down on the very people he blames for his own. Now Banning has to keep his President alive once more, and this time he’s not confined to an over run White House. He has to dodge dozens and dozens of terrorists in a seemingly deserted foreign city while being hunted like dogs.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=71313[/img]Most sequels try to outdo the film that came before it, and in this respect “London Has Fallen” is no different. The White House is expanded to an entire CITY and a dozen or so terrorists against one lone hero is changed to about a hundred of them sweeping the entire city with all sorts of heavy duty military gear. The jokes are faster and the one liners are snappier and much more copious (which is actually a good thing the “Die Hard” style one liners were some of the best parts of “Olympus Has Fallen” and certainly are here as well). The action sequences are cranked up to level 11 and while a few are over the top, I was really impressed with some of the fight choreography and hand to hand combat scenes. Banning’s use of a tactical knife is brutal and fun to watch compared to the generic action of so many other films.
The biggest loss that “London Has Fallen” suffered is the fact that Antoine Fuqua gave up the director’s chair and left it to a relatively unknown director. Babak Najafi does an admirable job for a man who hasn’t really done much but some TV work and a few smaller projects, but Antoine’s stable and experienced hand helped make “Olympus” so much better than the mediocre action film it really would have been without him. The action sequences are great, but the idea that an entire city could be taken out like that just felt farfetched and rather cheesy when you see NO civilians left in an entire city. It really doesn’t help matters much when you take into account the weak CGI in some spots. You can tell the budget was slashed even though the film tried to be BIGGER, and the seams do show a few cracks and tears as result.
Rated R for strong violence and language throughout
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=71321[/img]Shot mainly with Red Epic Dragon digital cameras, “London Has Fallen” is a beautifully shot and glossy looking piece of modern action film making. The movie seems to share equal parts of brightly lit daylight scenes, and the more subdued and dimly lit night time shots as Banning and the President slip around London trying to stay alive. Fine detail is usually impeccable with every grain of dirt and streak of blood showing up for all the world to see. Long shots can sometimes look a bit soft, especially when some of the rather weak CGI is employed on screen (look at the London Bridge falling down…I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist..and you’ll see what I mean), but detail is usually spot on perfect. Black are deep and inky, showing off all sorts of shadow detail there are a few times where black crush took over in the darker areas. It's not nearly as bad as the poor black levels that was present in "Olympus has Fallen", but still noticeable.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=71329[/img]So far Universal has been employing Dolby Atmos for its object based next gen tracks, but with “London Has Fallen” Universal has brought forth their second disc encoded with the competing DTS:X technology (along with “Crimson Peak). While most people may not have fully Atmos or DTS:X setups, the disc allows you to listen to the 7.1 DTS-HD MA core track much the same way that Atmos does and the 7.1 core track is a BEAST of an audio experience. “Olympus Has Fallen” was considered one of the better audio demo discs out there for quite some time and for good reason, but “London Has Fallen” actually edges it out in many ways (well, except for the ultra-long single digits bass sweep that happens in “Olympus” during the initial plane crash). Bass is crushing with gun shots sounding powerful and deep, and heavy bass lines accentuating the times when Banning goes all John McClane on the terrorists. Dialog is crisp and clear as always, but the surround activity is absolutely superb. Bullets plinking off of concrete walls and the rattling of debris envelopes the listening in a 360 degree field of immersion and doesn’t let up until the very end. Each tone and each sound is distinct and clear, with a life of its own adding to the ambiance of the action oriented sound track.
• The Making of "London Has Fallen"
• Guns, Knives & Explosives
“London Has Fallen” tries to go bigger and better with more action, more terrorists and a bigger setting, but sadly is not AS fun as “Olympus Has Fallen” was a few years back. The loss of Antoine Fuqua hurt the film quite a bit, as his veteran action movie direction was paramount for the film’s success back in 2013. Still, there is plenty of good dumb fun to be had here as Banning tears through bad guys like tissue paper and spouting “Die Hard” style one liners left and right. Things go boom, people get shot and Gerard Butler looks at home as the action hero. Audio and video are nothing to sneeze at, but the extras are just a tad lean for the release. Recommended for a fun rental if you like your action movies big and dumb.
Starring: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman
Directed by: Babak Najafi
Written by: Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS:X (DTS-HD MA 7.1 Core), English DTS Headphone:X, Spanish DTS 5.1
Runtime: 99 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: June 14th 2016
Buy London Has Fallen On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Fun Rental
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