Sequels typically recycle what works, so let me do the same with this review. Back in 2013, I channeled Dr. Evil saying, “‘Olympus Has Fallen’ is an action film of the highest caliber. By caliber, of course, I refer to both the size of their gun barrels and the high quality of their characters. Two meanings. Caliber. It’s a homonym.”
In “Angel Has Fallen,” the third installment of Agent Mike Banning’s tenure with the Secret Service, the action is just as intense after Banning (Gerard Butler) is framed for an assassination attempt on President Trumbull (Morgan Freeman), who franchise fans may recall rose through the Washington ranks first as Speaker of the House in “Olympus,” then as Veep in 2016’s “London Has Fallen.”
With Trumbull convalescing, his vice president (Tim Blake Nelson) assumes temporary leadership, dramatically reversing the administration’s anti-war policy, basing the need for the regression on a fake Russian threat. Cui Bono? Banning’s old friend (Danny Huston) who provides black ops for a private military company called Salient Global. (Hey, it’s barely a spoiler if you see it coming in the first act.)
Now the president’s fallen guardian angel must clear his name, save POTUS from those that want to “finish the job,” and set-up a fourth installment in which I suppose he protects a retired Trumbull luxuriating in his cushy Martha’s Vineyard estate.
That there is nothing remarkable about the plot need not be said, but here that is easily overlooked. Or rather, we are easily distracted from the bland formula by amazing explosions, an epic drone attack, and the best semi chase since “Smokey and the Bandit.”
The casting, too, is uninspired with the exception of Nick Nolte as Banning’s estranged father, a paranoid caricatural Vietnam-era specialist who’s gone off the grid living in a remote cabin on a mountain tactically wired with explosives. There’s some fun banter between the two, though more would have been appreciated. (On that note, be sure to stay for the credits.)
Not a great film, but a fun two hours. especially if you see it on the big screen with enhanced sound – because this one will not very well scale down to video.
Rating: 2 ½ Honks