London Has Fallen Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman. Directed by Babak Najafi. Rated R. Opens Friday citywide.
Seeking revenge for a U.S. drone strike, terrorists attack London, targeting the funeral of the prime minister, which is attended by dozens of world leaders. The one thing they didn’t count on was the one American badass capable of killing hundreds of bad guys without being winged. Thus London Has Fallen—a sequel to 2013’s Olympus Has Fallen—is a lukewarm, corn chowder retread of White House Down, strained through Die Hard, Under Siege, Air Force One and dozens of others. As the Secret Service badass dedicated to protecting POTUS, Gerard Butler isn’t funny enough to handle the screenplay’s lame quips, and—despite the fact that his character is about to become a daddy—isn’t relatable in any human way. Aaron Eckhart is the president, and though he’s a lot more appealing than most of the current, real-life candidates, he’s still flat enough to make you wonder what crime the actor committed to deserve this punishment.
Babak Najafi directs with a handful of bad CGI explosions, as well as a couple of long-take shootouts that briefly break the boredom. Truly, the highlight is watching the various VIPs assemble during the film’s first 10 minutes, before the order is disturbed by brain-dead chaos. Afterward, there’s the nagging feeling: Isn’t it just a little wrong to pass this kind of thing off as entertainment anymore? Oscar nominees Angela Bassett, Jackie Earle Haley, Melissa Leo and Robert Forster barely even have any dialogue, but Morgan Freeman’s Speaker Trumbull has been promoted to vice president. If only.