London Has Fallen:Prejudiced, tasteless, and perhaps the worst film of 2016


Grade: F
Verdict: Wonderful special effects, but none of them are even fun to admire in “London has Fallen.”


“London has Fallen,” the sequel to “Olympus has Fallen,” seems incredibly out of touch with today’s world.

Almost five months after the Paris terrorist attacks, the film brings a plot that’s not only similar to what happened in France, but also one that has little substance and too many special effects.

Even though the movie was already shot by then, it still seems to forget all other past terrorist acts, by only focusing on “fun” effects and foregoing any kind of truth.

In the film, world leaders convene in London for the Prime Minister’s funeral, but terror strikes and most of state representatives are killed. The American President is one of the few left alive. Terrorists, however, will do everything to capture him.

It’s hard to find fun in “London has Fallen,” as there is nothing in it that justifies the price paid for admission.

Talking about terrorism isn’t a problem. Artists can and should react to the world around us and help us, somehow, understand it. The problem here is that “London has Fallen” only uses terrorism as a supporting feature to the spectacle of destruction. Victims are hardly shown. The movie doesn’t even care to invent a fictional number of deaths. Enemies are labeled as middle easterners, furthering a prejudice against millions of persons in and from that region of the world who have no connection to these few extremist groups. All the movie cares about is saving the American president, completely ignoring all the casualties from the attacks.

“London has Fallen” is one of the worst examples of stories with two-dimensional characters. It labels anyone against the U.S. as bad and all of the White House as angels of the world.

There’s nothing in the film that points to the possibility that there are innocent families in the Middle East suffering. As soon as there’s a hint that the U.S. may have overstepped boundaries, the movie cuts to another scene.

Plot wise, “London has Fallen” adds absolutely nothing new to the story. Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) must once again save the president (Aaron Eckhart). The two once again spend the whole film together and once again many stunts and explosions threaten the American leader. It’s exactly the same film, but worse than the first. Which, although also racist in many ways, had better tension as we followed Mike in the dark, as every room of the White House brought a new danger. When the location changes to London, the large city environment removes much of the already weak tension.

Technically speaking, the best part of “London has Fallen” are the destruction special effects. Whether they are enjoyable to watch, that’s a question for each one’s conscience. Is it possible to truly turn off the real world (as we do in superhero big budget films) and enjoy seeing something that hits so close to reality and yet makes no attempt at explaining it or portraying all sides of it?
“London has Fallen” is a tasteless film and one you walk out of the theatre ashamed for having sat through it. The somewhat ambiguous ending for Mike reveals the possibility of a third film. Unless there are dramatic ethical changes and story improvement before then, there is nothing to look forward to.