Angel Has Fallen
Angel Has Fallen follows Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) as he is taken into custody following a failed assassination attempt of U.S. President Allan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman).
When it comes to watching the third instalment of any Hollywood franchise, it's usually best to have viewed the first two.
But if you have not yet seen 2013's Olympus Has Fallen or 2016's London Has Fallen, worry not, because the plot of the latest chapter of the saga, Angel Has Fallen, is very easy to grasp.
Directed by Ric Roman Waugh, the action thriller picks up after the events of the previous flick and sees Scottish actor Gerard Butler reprise the lead role of Secret Service agent Mike Banning.
Banning is physically worn out from years of military training and combat, so when he is offered a top role in the government by U.S. President Allan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman), his wife Leah Banning (Piper Perabo) urges him to consider taking it.
But before the agent can even begin to contemplate what it would be like to take on a desk job, Waugh decides there's no time to waste, and the protagonist is swept into one last mission following an assassination attempt on Trumbull.
With his skill and initiative, Banning does his best to protect the president, though the narrative takes a dark turn when he is promptly framed for the attack and taken into police custody.
Simultaneously pursued by his own agency and the FBI, led by agent Helen Thompson (Jada Pinkett Smith), as well as ex-Army soldier Wade Jennings (Danny Huston) and his mysterious group of assassins, the action man has no option but to go on the run while also embarking in a race against time to clear his own name.
With such a shallow plot, the action sequences are the heart of Angel Has Fallen, and some are pretty good. Butler - apart from his half-hearted attempt at a neutral American accent - has no issue slipping back into the role of Banning and is convincingly aggressive in the numerous fights.
Night car chases are full of drama and speed too, while a scene where the hero steals a truck and goes on to swerve his way through a line-up of local cop cars delivers on the thrills.
Yet, Waugh's constantly shaky camera and fast-paced edits quickly become jarring and distract from the real issues at hand. The filmmaker also forgets to convey any sense of time, with Banning hopping from one state to another and it becoming unclear as to whether events are occurring over the course of seconds, minutes, hours, or even days. Unfortunately, this means all of these scenes merge together and cause the film to lack any real sense of suspense.
There is also a very odd Unabomber-esque storyline introducing Clay Banning (a bearded Nick Nolte) to proceedings, which is weirdly the most humorous part of the 121-minute runtime.
Freeman offers a characteristically calm performance, but the women in the cast are woefully underused, in spite of Pinkett Smith's best efforts to inject some energy.
Sure, fans of the Fallen franchise will enjoy the bash and crash action, but for the rest of us, Angel Has Fallen relies far too heavily on cliche to really make any sort of a mark in the action genre.
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