Angel Has Fallen (2019), directed by Ric Roman Waugh, is the third movie in the Fallen series, prefaced by Olympus Has Fallen (2013) and London Has Fallen (2016). This film received mixed reviews. While some found it very effective, and a satisfying culmination of the trilogy, most found it predictable and dissatisfying.
Gerard Butler portrays weathered Secret Service agent Mike Banning, recently chosen by US President Alan Trumbull–played by Morgan Freeman–to be the new Secret Service Director. While Banning attempts to hide his declining health, the President’s peaceful fishing trip is interrupted by an army of lethal drones. While Banning is able to evacuate the President alive, Trumbull is left injured and comatose. The Secret Service then uncovers planted DNA evidence framing Banning as the brains behind the attempted assassination. He is forced into hiding, running from his own agency and the FBI.
On the run, Banning desperately contacts his wife Leah–played by Piper Perabo–which unwittingly leads to his government pursuers discovering his location and the subsequent car chase. Banning is forced to escape to his father’s home in the woods and their unexpected family reunion. At the same time, the President remains incapacitated and Vice President Marin Kirby–played by Tim Blake Nelson–is sworn in as acting President. As Banning discovers evidence leading him back to the actual culprits of the attempted assassination, he quickly learns that he cannot trust everyone that he originally thought he could.
One of the greatest critiques of this film is the lack of originality in the plot. There are many action films, including this one, that think guns and car chases will carry a movie so they leave the plot by the wayside. The movie leaves little to be discovered and doesn’t really attempt anything new. The character of Banning was also a disappointment. In the previous two movies, he is portrayed as competent and capable. Perhaps they were just trying to create sympathy or respect aging or show character development, but the result unfortunately just made the man look like a fool.
Audiences understand that the hero has to fail before he can succeed, but there is a line, and portraying Banning as so dis-likable was a real disappointment for fans.
Sometimes a bad plot can be saved by beautiful application in cinematography, graphics, etc. Unfortunately, this movie didn’t have that going for it. Many fans complained that the camera work was unwatchable because of the excessive closeups and handheld camera work, leaving the actions shots shaky and disorienting. The effects were disappointing and the editing was hasty. The only saving element this movie has, as far as fans are concerned, is some decent acting on the part of the cast, so I suppose we can be grateful for that.
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