Sometimes a movie just works. It doesn’t really have any business doing so but it does. Everything about this Fallen franchise is mindless and ridiculous and yet I keep coming back for every new one. Olympus, London, and now Angel Has Fallen completes a trilogy starring Gerard Butler as Mike Banning, the Terminator of Secret Service agents. While this third installment goes to great lengths to show his history and age have finally caught up to him he still manages great feats of strength and acrobatics. He one ups, he bamboozles, and destroys the enemy with extreme prejudice. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy every minute of it.
I believe the difference between a franchise like this and say the forgettable Hobbs & Shaw is that Angel Has Fallen and its predecessors are aimed for the adults who are sick and tired of the watered down, limp action films that feel like they were made for teenagers who don’t know any better. Don’t misunderstand me, this franchise isn’t an Oscar contender disguised as silly action movies but it understands that sometimes the rating does actually matter. Yeah, I might be a bit messed up for saying this but sometimes I want to see blood flow from a slit throat, I want severed limbs and bullet wounds spouting even more crimson. I want that extra bit that says, “Hey, we see the adults in the room and we haven’t forgotten you for a more profitable age range. Now watch this dude’s head explode, it’s awesome!” It’s all silly but it is what it is. I don’t like movies like the Fast & Furious but a franchise like Fallen speaks to me just differently enough to grab my attention.
The first two featured Banning in rescue mode protecting the President from ill tempered terrorists. This time around Banning finds himself in Harrison Ford territory being set up as the one who attempted the assassination and being forced to run while trying to prove his innocence. The Fugitive is a lasting film layered and multi-faceted, Angel Has Fallen is just action and funny quips to pass the time. As similar as these two films are they really couldn’t be more different. You want drama and intrigue? The Fugitive or those like it are more your bag. Looking for an overly violent actioner hell bent on creating the biggest explosions imaginable? Angel Has Fallen is your ticket. These movies are over-the-top and takes absolute pleasure in making sure that label sticks.
There is no real nuance or subtlety here. If you enjoy the more R rated side of frivolous action flicks I can’t recommend enough not only this movie but the entire Fallen franchise as they’re a whole lot of stupid fun. As much as the action is the focus here, the characters manage to still shine however one dimensional they may be. The relationship between the President and Banning is built from the first film leading to a believable continuation throughout three films. You can believe that Banning would want to risk his life to save not just his President as is his job, he would want to save his long-time friend as well. Gerard Butler and Morgan Freeman play well, balancing funny jabs at one another and the more tender moments, building each other up when all seems hopeless, they each find the necessary support in the other person.
I’ll mention too that a big addition to the comedic side of this franchise comes in the form of Nick Nolte as Banning’s eccentric, mountain dwelling father. They bicker and point the blame, often in each other’s direction but when the bullets fly or their family is in danger they drop the bullshit and do what needs to be done. Through Nolte’s character they utilize the action in a way that’s not only visually arresting but damn funny along the way. This is a highly unstable individual with entirely too much access to explosives and the end result is showcased beautifully in one of the more memorable sequences of the film. He may be new to the franchise, but he’s definitely a welcome add-on.
This is an as advertised action flick whose only real goal is to create a massive body count and to look cool while doing so. Gerard Butler carries the show with some support from his elders making Angel Has Fallen nothing special but still worth the watch and support of action fiends. It’s fun, absurd in every way, overtly violent from beginning to end and completely understands what it is. This is why it works for me, it knows exactly what it’s doing and doesn’t hide from going to extreme lengths beyond any semblance of reality. Give it a chance, maybe you’ll have some fun.
Rated R For: violence and language throughout
Runtime: 120 minutes
After Credits Scene: Yes, mid-credits.
Starring: Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Nick Nolte, Danny Huston
Directed By: Ric Roman Waugh
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 3/ Acting: 3.5/ Directing: 3.5/ Visuals: 4
OVERALL: 4 Nerdskulls
Buy to Own: Yes
Check out the trailer below:
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