Action Has Fallen
With an insipid idea, the Olympus Has Fallen movie-verse continues in this sequel, placing its ludicrous kick-stab-shoot patriotism into London. Gerard Butler wails on terrorists who have enacted a preposterous plan to attack civilians during a political funeral. Car bombs and streetside shoot-outs are atrociously ill-advised in their design, pandering to good guy with a gun mantras to an absurdest degree.
Butler spends time hoisting firearms and tossing grenades, the film’s aggressive violence such a hallmark, one TV spot edited together a montage of stabbings. Competent or not – and there’s a technically pure single take gun fight – London Has Fallen’s conceit ignores the reality surrounding its release. A tinge of fantasy logic cannot expel images of explosions in packed streets, aiming for real world credibility.
Underlying the action is a delirious, crude American fantasy, wherein the lone Secret Service agent conquers evil while the same terrorist forces mutilate British SAS soldiers. Where Olympus Has Fallen gravitated toward a decidedly phony anti-terrorism delusion, the emblematic attacks in London – set in motion when drone strikes kill an Iranian arms dealer’s family – lack fantastical qualities. Butler spouting action movie one-liners doesn’t cover the setting’s abhorrent stupidity.
Crude and numbing, London Has Fallen could only exist in domestic release. Without engaging in thematic dialog, action begins sprawling onto the screen. Bad guys, good guys; lines are simple and immediate.
… the project deserved to be shelved.
… the project deserved to be shelved.
If any “attack on the White House movie” deserved sequel status it was White House Down, engaged to its silliness as to give President Jamie Foxx a rocket launcher on the north lawn. London Has Fallen barely feels connected to its own idiocy, pandering entertainment with a disparaging eye toward vulnerable London.
Again roping in Morgan Freeman to play Vice President Alan Trumbull, London Has Fallen tries to generate validity through its casting. It’s not enough – the project deserved to be shelved. London Has Fallen hinges on Gerard Butler regardless, who spends inordinate time covering President Aaron Eckhart from bullets. Dry and lacking, Eckhart’s character building never matures – he’s the perfect, brave leader who stays collected under pressure. He’s also the only world leader to survive the initial attacks, so invincibility applies to this reckless, near-sighted fiasco.
Overly noisy, the Blu-ray presentation for London Has Fallen carries a number of problems. All exteriors of the White House are stock – the level of noise and mismatched color timing causes them to stand out. It’s not only those images. White House interiors bulk up on noise, particularly poor in the first act.
Things settle as London Has Fallen moves forward. Shadows, a touch weak in terms of density, cover the artifacts. Universal’s encode helps. Although digital, the decision to add some artificial grit or film grain shows. The effect fails either way.
Cinematography drifts, from soft to gorgeously sharp. As such, fidelity follows. London aerials, even those driven by effects, maintain enormous resolution. Close-ups take hold where allowed. When peaked, London Has Fallen holds to glossy, blockbuster standards.
Intense contrast dies down as the movie sinks into nighttime cinematography. That’s the expectation, obviously. Saturation stays subdued though, keeping to a strict, colder palette with few stand out primaries.
Call the rear channels exaggerated in this DTS-HD/DTS-X mix and you would not be wrong. Bullets ping the rears louder than the shots pouring from the stereos. As a plus, the spread between channels allows for establishment of aural space. Butler and company feel overwhelmed by gunfire.
Superlative accuracy serves as the highlight. A bridge collapse, while still over supported by the rear channels, captures debris pieces falling by the hundreds. Support beams give way, creaking front-to-back as they go. Any action scene maintains this same prominence including missile strikes on aircraft and car chases. It’s LFE power which lacks, adding impact if too little given the scale. The bridge may fall, but its landing doesn’t have sizable oomph.
Cast and crew speak about the film in a typical studio making of (13:16), joined by Guns, Knives, and Explosions, detailing the gamut of action styles (7:42). Bonuses are not much to chew on.
A frenzy of action cannot overcome London Has Fallen’s dismal concept and pitiful timing of this unnecessary sequel
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