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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Dan's Review: Absurdity Abounds in "Angel Has Fallen"

Aug 24, 2019 02:14AM ● By Dan Metcalf

Gerard Butler in Angel Has Fallen - © 2019 Lionsgate.

Angel Has Fallen (Lionsgate)

Rated R for violence and language throughout.

Starring Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Danny Huston, Michael Landes, Tim Blake Nelson, Nick Nolte, Piper Perabo, Jada Pinkett Smith, Lance Reddick, Mark Arnold, Chris Browning, Antonio Bustorff, Frederick Schmidt, Joseph Millson.

Written by Robert Mark Kamen, Matt Cook, Ric Roman Waugh, Creighton Rothenberger, and Katrin Benedikt.

Directed by Ric Roman Waugh.



The problem with bad movies is, people keep paying to see them, which is why we get film sequels that manage to make more money than their predecessors, despite being worse. Case in point is the “Fallen” series starring Gerard Butler as the unluckiest and snake-bit Secret Service agent to ever guard a fictional president (Olympus Has Fallen, London Has Fallen). I know there’s a market for patriotic pandering, but these movies keep getting more and more ridiculous, relying on the laziest of premises and plot devices to appease the druglike action fix of moviegoers who thirst for feeling good about ‘Murica, or something. Nothing makes this int more striking than the third movie in the series, Angel Has Fallen.

Butler plays Secret Service agent Mike Banning, now the main protector of President Allan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman). While on a fishing trip, Wade (Danny Huston) one of Mike’s old war pals who now the owner of a multimillion-dollar a private security company, orchestrates an attack on the president, killing the entire security detail, except Mike and the Prez, who barely escape a swarm of exploding drones. Making matters worse, the president is fished out of the river and sent to a local hospital in a coma. Though injured, Mike is taken to the same hospital, but soon finds out someone has deposited $10 million in his account and framed him for the attack, posing as “The Russians.” Arrested and charged with conspiracy to assassinate the president, Mike escapes during a jail transfer after Wade’s men try to spring him. Mike retreats to the deep woods where is estranged father Clay (Nick Nolte) lives off the grid. Father and son “bond” while dispatching a platoon of Wade’s men and Mike learns that the president is still in danger. Meanwhile, the vice president (Tim Blake Nelson) drums up a war with Russia, intending to make Wade’s private army wealthy in the process. Mike must storm the hospital and protect the president from another attack, with the hope of clearing his name. There’s a lot of other dumb stuff involving Mike’s wife (Piper Perabo), infant daughter, and a few FBI agents (Jada Pinkett Smith and Joseph Millson). It all ends with the hospital being blown up by the bad guys, followed by a YUGE gun battle inside a nearby office building adjacent to the hospital.

Angel Has Fallen might be a comedy if you consider the ridiculous premise as some sick form of political satire, but that would be giving the film too much credit. It’s a ridiculous exercise in improbabilities, convenient plot hole fixes, action movie clichés, and mindless dialogue. If you think any of the story is remotely plausible (right down to the “vice president is behind it” premise), you deserve to lose your hard-earned cash, should you choose to waste it on this kind of cinematic compost. Look, I’m all for a little escapism and patriotism, but when your entire story relies on the worn-out idea that the only way any such plot could work is to have and “inside guy” (like the freaking vice president of The United States), you lose the right to have your film taken seriously.

If you’re okay checking your brain at the door and like movies in which square-jawed tough guys patriotically dispatching terrorists in new, interesting and bloody ways, more power to you. In that sense, Angel Has Fallen succeeds as an action “thriller,” albeit one you’ve seen in so many other forgettable films like it.

"Angel Has Fallen" Trailer