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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

London Has Fallen movie review: agitprop security theater

London Has Fallen red light

A Nuremberg rally for 21st-century America. Pure terror porn: racist, jingoistic, thoroughly obnoxious. Donald Trump voters will love it. *sob*
I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): hated the first movie

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

If only all those other stupid countries — you know, like Germany and the U.K. — could be as awesome as America. After the British prime minister dies suddenly and mysteriously, world leaders summoned to London for the funeral, allegedly “the most protected event on Earth,” come under terrorist attack. The only survivor among them is U.S. president Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart: My All American, I, Frankenstein), thanks to impossibly badass Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler: How to Train Your Dragon 2, Chasing Mavericks), even though Banning concedes that he is made of nothing more than “bourbon and poor choices.” (One wonders what all those failed non-American security people could possibly be made of: cotton candy?) Now Asher and Banning are on the run in a locked-down London because the bad guys want to capture the president and execute him live on the Internet. Because that could happen.

London Has Fallen isn’t a movie: it’s a Nuremberg rally for 21st-century America in which drone warfare is righteous because swarthy brown terrorists are almost supernaturally powerful, and yet also ultimately no match for the U! S! A! U! S! A! It is laughably beyond preposterous, all the security lapses in every single British service, from MI-6 right down to the NHS ambulance corps, that is required for the army of angry anti-Western but primarily anti-American terrorists to pull off stupendously coordinated multiple attacks across a geographically sprawling world city. Though even the terrorists cannot deny the superiority of American technology: look at all the Macintosh PowerBooks prominently arrayed among their info-arsenal!

Of course, the Brits are not American; all the pitying glances and asides thrown around by the likes of Secret Service director Lynn Jacobs (Angela Bassett: Survivor, This Means War) for her U.K. counterparts are akin to that of a patient parent generously tolerating the best efforts of a slow but beloved child. Isn’t it cute how the Brits are trying? So sweet of them. Even though the script — by Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt (who together wrote Olympus Has Fallen and contributed to The Expendables 3), Christian Gudegast (A Man Apart), Chad St. John — has Asher calling the U.K. “our oldest and strongest ally” (although he’s wrong: that would be France), London still feels comfortable lobbing huge insults in that direction… but then again, the big bully always knows it can get away with kicking its best toady. I wonder if this is why even some among the British cast here — such as Colin Salmon (Doctor Who, The Bank Job) as one of the security honchos and Charlotte Riley (In the Heart of the Sea, Edge of Tomorrow) as an MI-6 agent — sound as if they are faking their own real British accents. Are they embarrassed to be here? Or have they drunk the movie’s Kool-Aid and are embarrassed to be British? (Brit Butler’s own Scottish accent is nowhere in earshot, of course.)

The rallying cry of London Has Fallen? The astonishing aptitude of the terrorists is meant to leave a fear-mongered audience pissing in its pants and hungry for blood, and certain that only America has the balls and the brains and the firepower to smash them all. Big congrats to Iranian-Swedish director Babak Najafi (Easy Money: Hard to Kill) on his first English-language film, which enables a political and cultural environment in which Hillary Clinton, who has said, “We can nuke Iran if we want to” (only a slight paraphrase), can be considered the “reasonable” presidential candidate. Even more vile than its outrageously propagandistic progenitor, Olympus Has Fallen, this is pure terror porn: racist, jingoistic, thoroughly obnoxious. Donald Trump voters will love it. *sob*

red light half a star

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London Has Fallen (2016)
US/Can release: Mar 04 2016
UK/Ire release: Mar 03 2016

MPAA: rated R for strong violence and language throughout
BBFC: rated 15 (strong violence, threat, injury detail, strong language)

viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, please reconsider.

  • Polaris

    Nobody is subscribing to the PC mantra any longer. Someone tell the author.

  • RogerBW

    This sort of nonsense is what’s used to justify the surveillance state: terrorist supervillains. It’s all just propaganda to make people feel a little bit scared, a little bit reassured that the Good Guys are reading their mail and watching them as they sleep.

  • Danielm80

    I ended up watching Idiocracy on Super Tuesday. I burst out crying at the end, because I could hardly tell the difference. I wish I were kidding.

  • KIM

    And this is why liberals are universally despised. Even by other liberals.

  • sassafrass

    This movie IS the PC mantra. It has been in fashion and affecting American policy for a generation.

  • sassafrass

    Name some. Hacks with a Murdoch contract don’t count.

  • Cathy Forman

    I watched the movie with the opening theme from Team America: World Police running through my head:

    “We’re here to save the motherf*ckin’ world! America! F*CK Yeah!”
    Reply the invincible Mike Banning scenes in your head with that melody in your heart.
    Works wonders.

  • Citations needed.

  • What is “the PC mantra”? Do you even know what “mantra” means?

  • Dave

    Is it true that this film is racist because it depicts Muslim terrorists? Do you need a citation on Muslim terrorism. I’d be happy to provide.

  • jhgf

    Do you know what “know” means? Do you know what “means” means?

  • My tolerance for idiocy is gonna be very low on this thread. If you don’t have something to say that will be conducive to civilized conversation, best not comment at all.

  • Mollie Brown

    Oh dear! I do not like Trump, and will not vote for him. Otherwise, this is a relatively amusing critical review…I do not consider it racist to kill bad guys, including those of the white variety… I am not PC at all…sorry. Will see the movie, just like to see Gerard Butler move! Might be overthinking this movie MaryAnn…you gave it too much credibility.

  • jhgfs

    When you can’t win an argument, censorship is the way to go!

  • Bluejay

    Nah. You can make your points, but make them without insulting or attacking the other person. If you can’t do that, your argument isn’t worth making.

  • Censorship? Start you own site, and post whatever you want there. No one is being censored.

  • bronxbee

    what the hell does that even mean?

  • IntrepidNormal

    I haven’t liked Gerard Butler since 300 and I barely liked him then. What’s the appeal exactly? Has he ever been legitimately good in anything? Or just that craggy-faced sort of handsome that appeals to people who apparently don’t know that Clive Owen is still a thing?

  • Cathy Forman

    Um…I think you missed my point. Jingoistic tri-color testosterone baths like London Has Fallen are what Team America was lampooning – particularly with the opening theme song I quoted.

    If you watch the Banning Captain America scenes with that song in your head – filtered through the satiric viewpoint the song conveyed – you will appreciate the relative artistic qualities of each movie all the more.

    I wasn’t defending LHF or using gratuitous profanity – I was trying to echo Parker and Stone’s take on gratuitous patriotism.

  • Jurgan

    ” “our oldest and strongest ally” (although he’s wrong: that would be France)”

    Don’t know about “strongest,” but our oldest ally is Morocco. Don’t tell the “War Against Islam” types, though.

  • Jurgan

    And why we need a special prison in another country to hold these super-terrorists.

  • Jurgan

    I’m not sure MAJ’s comment was directed at you. I think it was just a preemptive statement for anyone that’s thinking about being a jerk.

  • Cathy Forman

    Thanks for that. It gave me a chance to more clearly explain what I intended so it’s all good!

  • Is Clive Owen still a thing? I would like to think so, but he hasn’t made a decent movie in years. (The Knick on TV is good, what little I’ve seen of it. I need to watch more.)

    Butler — like many actors Hollywood doesn’t know quite what to do with — is good in little films, such as Chasing Mavericks, Machine Gun Preacher, and and Coriolanus, all within the last few years. If big dumb movies with their juicy paychecks allow him to do the small movies, I can forgive him the likes of London Has Fallen. And anyway, it’s not his fault this movie is awful.

  • My comment was absolutely not directed at you.

  • Morocco may have been the first to official recognize the US as a nation, but France was supporting the US revolution before that.

    Either way, though, there’s really no argument to be made for the UK as the US’s oldest ally. I mean, really. Perhaps Asher is meant to be a dimbulb like Bush II.

  • IntrepidNormal

    When I said he was still a thing, I was referring to The Knick, fantastic series. I get that nobody watches it, but to me an actor continuing to do interesting work qualifies him as being a thing. I need to see some of those Gerard Butler films you mentioned. I like to think there’s something more there besides the crappy romantic comedy and crappy action guy. I warmed to Channing Tatum after all.

  • JohnM

    I have to ask, since I have no plans on seeing this thing: are the special effects as bad as they appear to be in the trailers? The CGI looks terrible. Beyond terrible. It looks dreadful.

    The first movie may have been a crap-fest, but at least it looked like they cared. Given this thing’s budget, I have to wonder where the money was spent.

  • Yes, the FX are terrible.

  • daz

    Butler is charismatic enough to be a leading guy in any movie. I don’t know why he ends up doing the same shit every movie. He might as just redo his role in 300 over and over. I won’t be watching this anyway.

  • Butler comes across as a poor wannabe John McClane here. Whatever charisma he normally has — and I agree that he does have some — is not on display here.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Mostly he acts like a bit of a psychopath. McClane may have been generally nonchalant about killing, but he was never this gleeful.

  • SaltHarvest

    Reads like “Oh gawd they made a sequel! (queasy bodily reaction)”

  • And… so?

  • Larry A Singleton

    Well, isn’t this convenient; a character limit. Isn’t this a little like the false and phony screeching from Palestinian terror shills that their “free speech” rights are being suppressed all the while they’re spewing the kind of Jew hatred and antisemitism on college campuses not heard since 1930’s Nazi Germany? (Or maybe I pasted this comment wrong. The difference between me and liberals, though, is that I can look at the possibility that I might have made a mistake or be wrong. Liberals are totally incapable of doing this.)

    Oh well. Read the article by Mark Tapson: Leftist’s Heads Explode Over “Anti-Muslim” Terrorism Thriller.

    Why is it that the useful idiots just can’t grasp that the terrorism, mass murders, genocide, mass rapes and sexual assaults happening around the globe are being committed by MUSLIMS in the name of ISLAM.

    “How is it “Islamophobic” or “fear-mongering if Muslim terrorists are actually trying to kill you in the real world?”

    How is it that telling a story related to the TRUTH and REALITY happening around the globe is somehow a “21st century rally at Nuremburg”? Tapson nails it when he says “leave it to the multicultural left to cry racism and leap to the defense of thee evil jihadists”.

    You want a comparison? The comparison is you’re unknowingly or purposely shilling for people who are the New Nazis. The ones you seem to ignore who are mass murdering Christians across the globe on a level not seen since the Armenian Genocide and the Jewish Holocaust. With the Exact Same Purpose in mind: To exterminate, enslave or ethnically cleanse all non-Muslims until the “whole world belongs to Allah”.

    I just read an article on Brussels; “ISIS takes the Capital of the European Union: ISIS Doesn’t Have to Invade Brussels. It Just Has to Take a Short Drive” by Daniel Greenfield at FrontPage Magazine. I strongly suggest you read this and “Germany: Migrant Rape Crisis Worsens” by Soeren Kern for a reality check. Read the lists of rapes of women and children at the end of Kern’s article. ALL committed by Muslims who look at non-Muslim women as prostitutes based on their understanding of their “religion of peace”. This isn’t just a few “isolated incidents”. This is thousands of Muslims raping and assaulting women and children as young as three years old on a massive scale that easily qualifies as an epidemic and surge of Muslims that can easily be called a plague.

    What ISIS Really Wants by Graeme Wood.

    Analysis: Does the Islamic State Really Have ‘Nothing to do With Islam’” by Jeffrey M. Bale.

    The ‘Same God’ Question by Ralph Sidway.

    Fantasy Islam (KIafir Edition): Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota by Dr. Stephen M. Kirby (Parts I & II)

    Subscribe to Jihad Watch and Campus Watch and the Middle East Forum/Quarterly, Family Security Matters, Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Gatestone Institute, FrontPage Magazine, American Thinker, The Clarion Project, NGO Monitor, Cross Muslims, Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), Islamist Watch, Muhammad unveiled, Pat Condell, Religion of Peace and read Raymond Ibrahim, Andrew Harrod, Efraim Karsh, Denis MacEoin, Andrew G. Bostom, Frank Gaffney, Martin Kramer, Alan Dershowitz, David Horowitz, Robert Spencer, Pamella Geller, Patrick Poole, Caroline Glick, Hugh Fitzgerald, Bat Ye’or and others.

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