Some time after the events of Olympus Has Fallen, the funeral of the UK’s Prime Minister is taking place in London and the world’s leaders are travelling to attend. But anyone hoping this might inject a sense of internationalism into this macho American franchise will be disappointed as most of the G8 leaders are wiped out in the first 20 minutes. But the President’s OK right?
The basic premise of the first film is carried over here, with Gerard Butler’s Mike Banning protecting President Asher (Aaron Eckhart) from the bad guys. But the self-contained action of Olympus is this time spread over an entire city, which thankfully Butler’s bullet-repellent security man cum violent psychopath knows better than a black cabbie.
The plot makes even less sense than the first one, but ramps up the jingoism so much it could have been sponsored by drone manufacturers. The important thing is that Americans are good, and any level of violence against people who get in their way is justified, even the “collateral damage” it goes out of its way to show being inflicted.
The best bits are the large scale destruction sequences and elaborate chases of the film’s first half. A helicopter battle is a particular high point, no pun intended, and the explosions come thick and fast. This is the most damage done to the London skyline since they finished the Walkie Talkie. It’s fun seeing the city you live in being destroyed, but London is worth much better CGI explosions than this. It’s also distracting to see Moorgate tube entrance masquerading as Charing Cross. But for 99% of the audience that shouldn’t be a problem.
What will be a problem is the thin plot, and the endless clichéd action movie dialogue. There are threats and insults some of which are word for word the same as other films. There are also no character arcs to drive the film forward. The first was about Banning and the President making peace with each other after the First Lady’s death. This time round there’s very little background, beyond the largely irrelevant information that Banning’s wife is pregnant, resulting in a surprisingly short running time.
Devoid of any ethical nuance, character development, or internal logic, this relies on the quality of its action, which is reasonable, but not good enough to make it the equal of its predecessor.