First Olympus fell, then London, and now we have the third in the ‘has fallen’ series with “ANGEL HAS FALLEN”. First wave of thought – did we need really need another? Apparently so, though don’t hold your breath for something completely different than the first two as this one certainly isn’t going to raise that bar any.
Naturally as with all films in this series, this one starts with our man Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) in a violent body crashing, training session with his buddy Wade Jennings (Danny Huston). Changing up the beat a bit from the first two films to the tune of making Banning seem less superhero here by adding a bit of humility to his character, as during the session we see a pill-popping Banning seemingly having a lot of issues with blacking out, suffering migraines etc., from previous acquired concussions and thinking of taking a more desk type position. As it turns out, his buddy Jennings is actually serving under Vice President Kirby (Tim Blake Nelson) to plot a mutiny against new President Allan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman), by framing Banning and spoiler alert – they give us the audience, this pertinent fact quite early on basically taking away any mystery about the movie at all. As a full scale drone attack ensues when Banning is supervised to watch over the President while on a fishing trip, and the entire detail is killed minus Banning, who is subsequently arrested by FBI Agent Helen Thompson (Jada Pinkett-Smith). Trumbull has slipped into a coma during said attack and VP Kirby comes into play by trying to start a war with Russia whom he is pretending to place all the blame on.
While all this plays out during the attack gone wrong on the President, Banning becomes the most wanted man in the country as to the surprise of possibly no one ever, he escapes and goes on the run out in the middle of nowhere West Virginia. But just when you think he won’t be able to clear his good name and get out of this mess, he leaves a message in a truck for a man, whom turns out to be (again to the surprise of no one) his father Clay Banning (Nick Nolte), who left him years ago and has been living off the grid in these exact mountains!! Wow.. how convenient you say. But actually, this is where the film starts ramping up. Nolte is a splendor to watch here as he steals many of the scenes in which he’s in and provides the only real wild card comic relief and action to the film. As in possibly the best set piece of the entire film is when they are at the point of being found, and Clay it turns out, has had his entire cabin compound rigged to blow. It’s a fun, fantastic portion of the film that definitely livens it up. He also goes on to have some rewarding scenes with Banning’s wife Leah (Piper Perabo), when meeting her and his grandchild for the first time as well
Despite all this, the whole time the audience well knows what’s going to happen next as the predictability factor of this film is off the charts, even without all the help provided by director Ric Roman Waugh. Seriously, everything from the set up of Banning to the who is setting him up, to when the President will realize what is happening and put the kibosh on it. This is what really lets film and the whole plot/story down, as had this reveal been kept secret say until the 3rd act of the film instead of the way-to-early-reveal, took away any tension points the film might have had going for it. Instead of keeping the audience engaged and on the edge of their seat wondering who did what, they give it all away and that is why the story and film fail to deliver.
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Media Review Screening: Monday, August 19, 2019 ~ Courtesy of Lionsgate
“ANGEL HAS FALLEN” HITS THEATERS THIS FRIDAY, AUGUST 23, 2019