Angel Has Fallen (2 stars)

Angel Has Fallen

Fun is in short supply in the third entry in the Gerard Butler-fronted action franchise

Minutes into the third entry in the action franchise begun by Olympus Has Fallen and its London sequel, a grunt harangues US Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) for taking military training too seriously. Call it fair warning for what the next two hours will deliver, relentlessly. Dour and derivative, portentous and preposterous, director Ric Roman Waugh's series debut engages only when a healthy awareness of its ridiculousness penetrates the macho self-regard and strenuous grimacing. Which isn't very often.

This time, Banning's bouts of PTSD and post-concussion migraines pump up an under-earned tone of solemnity, echoing similar medical upsets in The Dark Knight Rises. Even so, Banning winds up overseeing security on the fishing trip of President Trumbull (Morgan Freeman), which goes pear-shaped when a drone assault leaves several dead, the Pres comatose, and Banning accused of engineering the hit.

As our potty-mouthed, perma-frowning hero goes rogue, his quest to clear his name leads to a reunion with his estranged, forest-dwelling father. Played with wild-eyed relish by Nick Nolte, the mischievous Clay adds dashes of knowingly ludicrous humour when he destroys half a mountain to protect his son.

Elsewhere, fun is in shorter supply than thudding f-bombs or assailants to slaughter. If the sound-mix induces tinnitus, the murky images prove no kinder to the eyes. The cast seem dispirited, with Butler grunting grumpily, Freeman playing comatose a little too convincingly, and Piper Perabo (replacing Radha Mitchell) struggling with the thankless wife / mother role. Danny Huston draws diminishing returns from playing Danny Huston once more, before the climax pulverises any lingering traces of interest in its workmanlike barrages of property destruction.

With no surprises, few laughs and only the stodgiest of set-pieces on offer, Clay's remark about knowing 'when to quit' provides a rare note of wisdom. For this bizarrely over-extended series, that time is now.

General release from Wed 21 Aug.

Angel Has Fallen

  • 2 stars
  • 2019
  • US
  • 2h
  • 15
  • Directed by: Ric Roman Waugh
  • Cast: Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Piper Perabo
  • UK release: 21 August 2019

Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Gerald Butler) evades his own agency as he attempts to find out who framed him for trying to murder the US President.