Presidential guard Mike Bannon (Gerard Butler) is caught in the cross hairs again. Sandwiched between a growing painkiller addiction and a promotion that would see him sidelined from active duty, Mike doesn’t know where to turn. However when terrorists narrowly fail in assassinating the President (Morgan Freeman), Mike must exonerate himself as all the evidence points towards him being the assassin.
… the plot careens as wildly as the dialogue, only ever stopping to occasionally graze reality.
The third in the unexpected franchise that is the ‘…Down” series of films, ‘Angel Has Fallen’ is a fun conclusion of sorts. As with all other superheroes and righteous defenders, physical ailments eventually catch up with everyone. So, whether this is a tired motivation so as to fashion fresher legs onto Gerard Butler’s bolting horse of a franchise we’ll never know. However, whilst there is not much originality or depth that signatures the ‘…Down” series out, the filmmakers have at least tried to take Butler’s character towards an increased sense of fallibility – and for that they should be applauded.
Naturally though for a true blue, pop-corn spitting, boys-own action thriller, there is no real time spent deep diving into Bannon’s descent. With bad guys to apprehend, reputations to be saved and a country to be rescued from silent revolution, the plot careens as wildly as the dialogue, only ever stopping to occasionally graze reality. That said, one of the most appetising flesh wounds on offer is the grizzled appearance of Nick Nolte. Sporting the latest in Unabomber attire, his reflections upon federal intrusion ends up giving his character charm and ‘Angel Has Fallen’ its intended audience. With only a handful of meaningful close-ups afforded to him, it has to be said that Nolte comes comes dangerously close injecting genuine feeling into this brow and bullet bonanza – but sadly, he’s only give a few rounds to play with.
Instead Morgan Freeman finds himself again wedged into the presidential chair, together with Danny Huston as a shadily-sketched private contractor. With both actors finding themselves cast for what they do most often, that’s what you get. As the bodies start to pile up together with Butler’s increasing gruffness, the filmmakers then decide to get slap happy with the CGI effects. Dense smoke billows out over the finale like an enlarged apology, inadvertently masking out both the stage and the sun. That said, in a film where reality readily absconds at the outset, it’s charmingly appropriate that they remove the sun as well.
Maybe for the next chapter they’ll heed Bette Davis’s advice in ’Now Voyager’ when she says: “…don’t let’s ask for the moon. We have the stars.” You read it here first. Mike Bannon in space. For a series that is built for pizzas and made of precious little else, space has to be the final frontier.