Movie Review: ‘Angel Has Fallen’

Director: Ric Roman Waugh

Cast: Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Nick Nolte, Danny Huston, Michael Landes, Tim Blake Nelson, Piper Perabo, Jada Pinkett Smith, Lance Reddick

Plot: After being involved in two different terrorist incidents, Secret Service Agent Mike Banning is framed for an attempted assassination attempt on the President.

Review: Cards on the table, I haven’t seen the first two entries in the ‘…Has Fallen’ series. This is going to be a real outsider review. Given the gist of this film I’m fairly certain they aren’t going to be reinventing the wheel here.

Mike Banning (Butler) is a grizzled veteran of both war and the secret service. He’s attached to the President (Freeman) as a bodyguard, and is present when a swarm of drones launches a deadly attack. The President is left in a coma and the rest of his security detail is dead. Banning is framed for the attack and becomes the FBI’s most wanted. He is forced to go on the run, reunite with his hermit conspiracy survivalist father and make his way back to the President so he can get his name cleared.

The story is bananas to say the least, with plot holes aplenty and some very, very weak twists along the way. Rather than creating a film that push the envelope of the genre or adapt a unique style they go by the numbers and give it all a polished look. The surprisingly solid cast certainly helps in this regard – there’s few roles that aren’t filled by recognisable name actors.

Bringing some much needed brevity to proceedings is Nick Nolte as Clay, Banning’s absent father who has spent decades living off the grid. The introduction of this character, along with Banning’s own problems with migraines and insomnia , almost creates and theme and message about the impact of US involvement in war across the generations. It almost does this, but it never amounts to anything of substance. Mostly Nolte is just kooky and wild.

The biggest failing of Angel Has Fallen comes from the complete lack of acknowledgement of current trends in modern action cinema. John Wick is giving use a stylish, precise approach, Fast and Furious is taking silly fun to the next level and the MCU is delivering on pure spectacle. The adventures of Banning and his President Pal feels like a relic from a previous decade.

It’s certainly going to be appealing to those who prefer their action films a touch more grounded in the real world, especially if they’re into the tactical military approach to set pieces. It put us more in mind of the Call of Duty game series, taking a fan fiction approach terrorism and international conflict. There’s certainly a market for it.

We’ve got a good cast, but a silly story and action scenes that are competent but not ground breaking. It’s a…serviceable action film.

Rating: FIVE out of TEN