Thu, 12 Sept 2019
Angel Has Fallen (15)
Running time 2hr 1min
THE third instalment in the Fallen franchise, Angel Has Fallen follows US Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) as he races against time to clear his name after being framed for an attempted assassination on the US president (Morgan Freeman), while also bringing the perpetrators of the attack to justice. Having not seen the first two films, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to follow the plot. Nevertheless, the film’s simple premise allowed me to be absorbed into the action-packed world of political treachery, private military ruthlessness and American patriotism in no time at all.
The film is an enjoyable and cathartic thrill ride that will keep you occupied for two hours, but it’s not likely to remain on your mind for much longer than that. Angel Has Fallen is the typical American action thriller. The straightforward plot is one seen throughout the action genre and for good reason. Its enjoyable to see our innocent hero Banning evade the FBI, Secret Service and Police while also investigating the true criminals behind the attempt on the president’s life.
Banning is macho and a master of combat, but he also suffers from substance abuse problems and PTSD. Butler plays the character just as you’d expect, even though his attempt at an American accent can be humorous at times. Freeman is also as he usually is; wise, just and understanding.
The film does suffer from its typical nature however, as the plot is highly- predictable most of the time. When the first set of baddies is revealed to the audience and then the mastermind behind the whole plan later on, it is of no surprise at all as to who the antagonists really are. A trope of third entries to these sorts of franchises, Banning even meets up with his estranged father, who helps him in his quest to profess his innocence.
However, despite the predictability of the plot, there are many satisfying action set pieces. The training exercise opening throws you straight into the tone of the film successfully, and sections such as the night-time truck chase and the gunfight finale are exciting highlights.
Compared to the technical wizardry we see throughout modern cinema (a good example being the MCU films), Angel Has Fallen’s computer generated effects seemed lacklustre. Many green screen sections were plain to see.
With the final act seeing a hospital being reduced to rubble, I couldn’t help but remember when Christopher Nolan blew up an actual hospital when filming The Dark Knight more than 10 years ago. This film’s effects seem oddly dated when compared to Nolan’s masterpiece.
Despite the predictability,straightforwardness and less than average effects, Angel Has Fallen is still an enjoyable watch. It’s the filmic equivalent of choosing a McDonald’s over a three course Michelin meal; still gratifying, just not as sophisticated.