In Brief: Like Olympus fell and London fell, Angel has Fallen falls and falls badly.
Angel refers to Gerard Butler’s secret service agent Mike Banning. He saved the president of the United States in 2013’s Olympus has Fallen and almost single-handedly saved the world’s leaders from terrorists in 2016 when London almost joined Olympus and fell.
It’s now 2019 and Morgan Freeman’s Allan Trumbull has moved from Speaker of the House to vice president and now president. Banning is his main protector and is in line to take over secret service operations. A bunch of drones — in Star Wars-like fashion — attack the president while he’s fishing. Secret service agents by the score are killed. Banning saves Freeman’s president but gets tagged as the villain behind the attack.
With the president in a coma and unable to defend him, Banning is forced to escape and run. FBI muckity mucks need to catch him and the bad guys need Banning dead. With nowhere safe to go, Banning tracks down his survivalist dad who helps defend him from the bad guys that did the attack.
The other plot thread has a power-crazed vice president — done by Tim Blake Nelson — wanting to go to war with Russia.
There are only three things to like about Angel has Fallen. Number one is Nick Nolte who plays Banning’s father. Though he growls and mumbles his lines, and though none of us have understood a word he’s said in a decade, Nolte is terrific and adds some nice comedy to an otherwise predictable, and very dull, movie. Near as I can tell, Nolte is the only actor involved in this disaster that appears to be having some fun.
Second is the acting of Jada Pinkett Smith. Like Nolte, she has a good time with her role as the FBI agent pushing hard to find Banning. Last is Freeman. As the perfect president of the United States — and with the kind of calm about him we all hope the current president possessed — Freeman continues to be one of the only reasons to see this series of movies.
As for the movie? There are no surprises. None. Zero. Zip. A different director and writers present a similar premise via the same, worn formula. Big buck bombing sequences, guns blazing confrontations, car chases and hand-to-hand combat fights dot this landscape as they did the prequels.
The bottom line: Angel has Fallen is terrible and proves my long-time movie theory that the third time is not the charm.
Director: Ric Roman Waugh
Stars: Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Jada Pinkett Smith, Danny Huston, Tim Blake Nelson, Piper Perabo, Nick Nolte, Lance Reddick
Rated R for mature themes and some violence. Angel has Fallen is a sequel. It’s the third film in a series that probably ought not to have had a first film. Give this a 2 on the Friday Flicks with Gary o to 5 scale.
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Gary Wolcott has been reviewing movies on radio, television and newspaper since 1990. He believes — and this is an estimate only — that he’s seen something close to 10,000 movies in his lifetime. Gary is a lifelong fan of films and catches a couple of hundred movies a year. He believes movies ought to be seen on the big screen and not on the small screen in your living room or family room. While he loves movies, he also says reviewing film can be a real sacrifice and that he sees many movies so you don’t have to.
He is one of KXL 101.1 FM’s film critics and joined the news staff in 2014. Gary is also the film critic for Tri-Cities, Washington’s Tri-City Herald.