Olympus Has Fallen remains my personal favourite of this trilogy however, Angel has Fallen is still massively entertaining with some impressive action set-pieces and if it’s the last of the series then it’s a satisfying finale.
Plot: Authorities take Secret Service agent Mike Banning into custody for the failed assassination attempt of U.S. President Allan Trumbull. After escaping from his captors, Banning must evade the FBI and his own agency to find the real threat to the president. Desperate to uncover the truth, he soon turns to unlikely allies to help clear his name and save the country from imminent danger.
Review: If you haven’t seen any trailers for the movie then this may be a little spoilery so tread carefully.
I love the “Has Fallen” movies; they are a throwback to classic actioners like Die Hard with a one-liner spewing action hero kicking ass and taking names. Mike Banning is one of my favourite action movie characters from the last few years and even though Gerard Butler can’t ever hide his Scottish accent he is still a sympathetic protagonist.
This third entry in the series changes things up and isn’t a Die Hard scenario but this time channels The Fugitive/Taken 3 with Mike Banning (Butler) forced to go on the run when he is set up for an assassination attempt on the POTUS.
Mike Banning has essentially hit rock bottom as he is addicted to painkillers, suffering from insomnia and concussions but keeping it all a secret from the people he cares about. The movie surprisingly has more depth than the other two entries and explores the psychological effects of wars on the people who fight in them.
This entry goes for The Last Crusade route by introducing Mike’s father played by the always great Nick Nolte who walked out on the family many years before. He has also been damaged by past wars and this may just help bring father and son together again. Nolte eats up the screen with every scene genuinely looking like a man who has been living off the grid for years and his scenes with Butler are the best of the film.
The biggest flaw with the other two movies in this series is the overuse of unconvincing CGI and Angel Has Fallen was doing really well up until the final 20 minutes. It’s not the worst and doesn’t take you out of the movie but I feel it would have been so much better if it was done practically. The rest of the movie has some incredible action with a set-piece in a forest at night being the movie’s highlight. I won’t say anything else about it but it’s jaw dropping stuff and one of the best sequences of the trilogy.
It is for the most part rather generic so we can guess who the bad guys are early on but there are a few surprises which I didn’t see coming. I enjoyed Danny Huston as the villain who uses his friendship with Mike to set him up which is an especially low thing to do so we rapidly lose any sympathy for him.
It was a little jarring having Piper Perabo all of a sudden playing Mike’s wife after Radha Mitchell portrayed her in the first two films but she doesn’t have a huge role anyway so it’s not a big deal. Apparently the only reason Mitchell didn’t return was purely due to scheduling conflicts.
Despite being rather predictable the story flows well and there is some humour however, Mike doesn’t have many one-liners this time around going for a mildly more serious tone. It works for the story and there are still a few laughs (mostly banter between father and son) but nothing that matches “let’s play a game, it’s called Fuck off. You go first.”
I also found that everyone turned on Mike rather quickly and wasted no time in believing he would try and assassinate the President; after everything he did in the first 2 movies you’d have thought that it was an obvious set up and give him the benefit of the doubt but it would have been a short movie in that case…
The score may not have a memorable theme but it works perfectly for the movie with some epic percussion and it’s especially effective during the action scenes.
Overall, Angel Has Fallen is a fun ride with some impressive set-pieces and a scene stealing turn from Nick Nolte. It is mildly let down by the CG in the final 20 minutes but if you enjoyed the other two movies in the series (which I did) then you’re going to have a blast.