“Angel Has Fallen” stars Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Jada Pinkett Smith, Piper Perabo, Nick Nolte, and Danny Huston. Released on August 23, 2019, the film has Mike Banning on the run when he is framed for an assassination attempt on the President.
The film is directed by Ric Roman Waugh, who also directed films such as “Felon”, “Snitch”, and “Shot Caller”. It is the third film in the “Fallen” film series. Most big action franchises rely on popular characters and grand set pieces to entertain their audiences who are thirsty for violence and earn some big bucks in the process. Then we have the action franchises that we didn’t expect to become franchises because of the small amount of money that the originals earned. A little action movie known as “Olympus Has Fallen” falls into that type of category. It’s hard to believe that six years has passed since “Olympus Has Fallen” was released to the public and we have yet another installment that continues the story that that film started. Those terrorists really don’t know when to take a vacation. The “Fallen” series wasn’t as memorable as the other famous action franchises that came before it, but they were able to find its audience that are interested in seeing Gerard Butler defeat the terrorists and save the President. I did find “Olympus Has Fallen” to be a solid low-budget action thriller, and while its sequel, “London Has Fallen”, was a bit too much for those who have a fear of terrorism, it still had some enjoyable moments that made it somewhat watchable for me. Now we have the latest sequel that may or may not conclude Butler’s action-packed franchise depending on how well it does at the box office. Is it able to shoot its way past my subpar expectations?
The story once again centers on Mike Banning (Butler), an agent from the United States Secret Service who is recommended for the position of Director by U.S. President Allan Trumbull (Freeman). However, an armed drone attack murders the entire Secret Service team and puts the President in a coma with the evidence classifying Banning as the culprit. Framed for a crime he didn’t commit, Banning attempts to expose the real mastermind behind the attack and prevent them from killing the President for good. If you’ve seen the last two films, you’ll know exactly what you’re going to expect from a film that involves an agent protecting the President from terrorists. Plenty of gun violence, explosions, adult language, and a whole lot of Butler. While it may prove suitable for people who enjoyed the past two installments in the series, “Angel Has Fallen” shows that the formula may have run its course. The film offers a plot that we’ve seen a bunch of times before, resulting in something that lacks any strong tension in its narrative structure and the characters themselves. There was some attempt to add some sort of development into the characters, such as Banning and his father (played by Nolte), but it wasn’t able to reach the amount of emotional impact that it was going for. It’s worthy enough to get a “Good Try” sticker, but for those who wanted stronger characters in an action movie, it doesn’t deserve anything else besides that. The film also suffered a bit from its two-hour running time, which I thought was unnecessary for a story like this. The first act was a bit slow compared to the rest of the film and the mid-credit scene at the end (Yes, there is an extra scene during the credits) was just there to provide some laughs and nothing else. Despite its issues with the story, the film was able to provide a respectable amount of entertainment for people who are in need of some action-packed junk food. Gerard Butler was once again good in his role as Mike Banning, and Morgan Freeman delivered another decent performance as Trumbull. Truth be told, seeing Freeman play the President onscreen made me realize that he would've make a darn good President in real life. Nick Nolte as Mike’s father is the best part of the film in terms of the humor and his performance. I don’t know about you, but I would honestly like to see a spin-off that focuses on him in the future. The action sequences weren’t exactly groundbreaking, but for the most part, they were thrilling enough to fuel my action needs. The only downside to this was the shaky camerawork that was used for some of the sequences. It can be a bit distracting for some people who dislike this type of camerawork. Luckily, it didn’t rely on it so much that it renders itself unwatchable.
Overall, “Angel Has Fallen” has its moments, but they weren’t enough to conclude this action trilogy on a high note. The cast, especially Nick Nolte, and its action sequences may satisfy its target audience who are looking for a late-summer explosion-fest. However, for those who are already done with the franchise, it’s showing strong signs that the time has come for it to retire. With its cliched plot, underwhelming characters, and a two-hour running time, this action sequel concludes this year’s summer movie season with a whimper instead of a big bang. If you like the last two movies for what they were, you might enjoy this one as well. Otherwise, it’s worth watching on television.