LONDON HAS FALLEN – Review by Susan Granger

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This sequel to Olympus Has Fallen (2013) shifts the focus from Washington, D.C. to London, where Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) once again singlehandedly protects President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart). Actually, Banning is thinking of retiring so he can spend more time with his wife (Radha Mitchell) and their expected baby.

Instead of North Korean terrorists, the culprits are from the Middle East, out for revenge over a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan that killed the daughter of international arms dealer Amir Barkawi (Alon Moni Aboutboul) at her lavish wedding, where he was the primary target.

“Vengeance must always be profound and absolute,” malevolent Barkawi declares.

Destruction begins on the afternoon of the funeral of the British Prime Minister, who died unexpectedly during what was supposed to be ‘routine surgery.’ As television audiences around the world watch in horror, several heads of state are systematically assassinated, while Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament are demolished.

Since Barkawi’s barbaric son (Waleed F. Zuaiter) wants to kidnap President Asher and execute him on YouTube, it’s up to agent Banning to keep him safe, aided by an MI6 agent (Charlotte Riley).

Meanwhile, back home, Vice-President Allan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman), Secret Service Director (Angela Bassett) and the Secretary of Defense (Melissa Leo) watch the debacle on a video screen in the situation room with their elite advisory cohorts (Robert Forster, Jackie Earle Haley) .

Scripted by Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt, Christian Gudegast and Chad St. John, it’s helmed by an Iranian-born Swede, Babek Najafi, making his English-language debut. Unfortunately, Najafi ‘s confusing direction of the many action-packed sequences defies credibility. Given the cheesy digital effects, it’s almost impossible to follow who is shooting at whom and where they are.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, London Has Fallen is a faltering 4, filled with profanity, over-the-top violence and gratuitous sadism.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.