Angel Has Fallen Review: What Next For The Fallen Series?

Angel Has Fallen

In 2013, Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt’s brainchild “Olympus Has Fallen” hit the box office and became the first of the Fallen film series. Olympus has a mixed review with reviewers leaning towards the unfavorable. In 2016, “London has Fallen” was released. The trailer coincided with the week of the anniversary of the London Bombings and after the release, the floodgate of hell broke and critics threw everything at “London”; words such as insensitive, ugly, sub-par, racist, Islamaphobia, and “terrorsploitation” were deployed to describe the movie. No one liked the movie despite but it made an impressive 205 million in the box office off a budget of 60.

London Has Fallen dug the grave for the Fallen franchise.

In 2019, the franchise released “Angel Has Fallen”. It was a movie made at the crossroad of the franchise. To piss off or not to piss off, to hit or miss, or to finally lay the Fallen coffin into the grave and bury it for good. Whatever you want to say about the movie, “Angel” hasn’t done any harm to the franchise. In fact, it has rescued the franchise from the gutters of London and given it a much-needed jig.

But the plot, sigh

2019 has turned out to be the year of zero-plot movies. Directors seem to just gather actors and say “action” This is rather harsh. But the truth is that 2019 is the year that plot was taken to the road and run down by a heavy-duty truck. The biggest culprits are action films. This and this show that if you shoot hard enough and race fast enough, and thrill the viewer or as the case of this attempt to make them laugh, you can get away without a plot. “Angel Has Fallen” does not exactly go this way; it has some plot form, but the plot was premised on a ridiculously thin thread.

Kelly Monaco facts

Mike Benning (Gerard Butler) who has put his life on the line so many times to save the White House and its occupants is framed for the assassination attempt on President Trumbull (Morgan Freeman) and despite the obvious clues (if not for the layman but intelligence agencies should be well, intelligent) that the evidence was planted, the entire law-enforcement of the United States led by Jada Pinkett Smith as FBI Agent Helen Thompson held Banning responsible for the attack.

The whole allegation is so blatant that any viewer should laugh at it and it wouldn’t be out of hilarity. It is laughter bordering on WTF! Well, Mike Banning has to escape and clear his name and expose the private security company behind the president’s assassination attempt and, as usual, save the president’s life. That is the story.

What is good about Angel Has Fallen

Besides the weak tripod on which they stood the plot and the unconvincing performance of Jada Smith (and the writers didn’t do her any favors with the ease with which she was killed off) and the handful of head-scratching moments mostly with how badass guys will point guns at Mike Banning and somehow refuse to pull the trigger and let him snatch the gun and knock them down, silly. These aside, the film can stand on its own and raise its head among its peers.

The performance of Morgan Freeman as commander-in-chief confirms the African proverb that an old woman is never old in the dance she has mastered. Freeman is a master of the art of acting and he gave everything to his role from the fishing expedition, to his escape from St. Matthews Hospital and reclaiming his seat. He was a delight to watch. And no, not that time in which they put his face standing side by side Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping. This is one of the funniest things you will see on-screen in 2019.

We were entertained. There were car races, gunshots, explosives, building exploding, cars, humans, limps, all, with hot debris flying out of your TV. That time in which Wade Jennings (the main villain played by Danny Huston) and his goons broke the defense line protecting the president sent my heart racing and going oh my, oh my, oh my. It is generally a good movie and I will gladly give it 6/10.

After Angel Has Fallen what next?

Perhaps Power Has Fallen. Or Amazon Has Fallen. Or Hong Kong or some other geographical domain as the prefix. Whatever name they will pick for the next installment is not going to be a problem. It is the script, the drama, the performance. Is Gerard Butler the right man to continue the role of Mike Banning? After three films, this should be a no-brainer. But there is just this thing about Butler which keeps him from the biggest league. Of course, Banning isn’t Jack Bauer nor John McClane, but there is this lack of ferocity in Butler that seems to keep his character down. When I watch Banning, even in his greatest peril and violence, there is this mien around him that tells you this is acting. He owns the character of Banning but he doesn’t grab it by the collar and drag him on. He just wears it, like a gentleman.

See Living In Bondage Review

Butler will certainly be in the next Fallen film. There will be no spin-off nor a demotion of his character via a team-up of a sort. But the story of presidents in distress is a gold mine that has dried up and it was never an original gold mine. Butler should stop trying to stop things from happening and try and make something happen. Let him go for a revenge mission or something over the murder of his father or something. Or let him try to unearth the mole in the Secret Service. I know that the character of Butler was created to be a defender but the hallmark of a great character is their ability to show different shades of them. Mike Banning is ripe for a big shade off his cliched character.

But whatever the creators choose for Fallen 4, a great story and a great performance are a tag-team that would sell anything, any day. One and a half of these have shown to sell movies. Despite “London Has Fallen” near-universal condemnation, it is the biggest box office earner for the franchise with 205 million dollars. The first film “Olympus Has Fallen” made 170 million. While “Angel Has Fallen” is the most critically accepted of the three, it only made 130-ish million dollars. This latter earning may be the clap back for the negativity surrounding London or it may be that movie-goers are getting tired of the franchise.  The next movie will be called to answer these many questions. What will be the outcome?

Hold your breath at your peril.

Tweet me @Oke4chukwu



I write therefore I am