Directed by Babak Najafi. Produced by Gerard Butler, Mark Gill, Danny Lerner, Matt O'Toole, Alan Siegel, and Les Weldon. Written by Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt, Chad St. John, and Christian Gudegast. Release date: March 4, 2016.
In case you've forgotten - and that's something that's unbelievably easy to do - Olympus Has Fallen was the first of two "attack on the White House" movies released in 2013. It saw Gerard Butler as a one-man-army John McClane copycat tasked with killing all the attacking Koreans and saving the life of the President of the United States (Aaron Eckhart). It was far too dull to be noteworthy, but since it was released before the vastly superior White House Down, audiences weren't tired of the premise and it made just enough money to get a sequel - and I'd like to stress the "just" part of that statement. On a $70 million budget, it had a worldwide gross of just over $160 million. That's barely enough to turn a profit. But, here we are, three years later and with a sequel on our hands, presumably shot with every camera wrapped tightly in an American flag, since few movies are as patriotic as this one, even though most of it doesn't take place in America.
As I'm sure only the most astute among you have determined, the new movie takes place in London. Following the death of the British Prime Minister, many of the world's leaders have flown to London to attend his funeral. However, prior to that taking place, terrorists descend upon the procession, dozens - if not hundreds, including several of the aforementioned world leaders - die, and Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Butler) finds himself running through the streets of London, determined to protect the President from kidnapping or assassination.
London Has Fallen takes the "bigger is better" approach to filmmaking, setting the film in an entire city - or select empty streets of a city - as opposed to a single building. The theory is that if we visit more locations and blow up more things, we'll think the sequel is better than the first one. And, at least in this case, it kind of worked. While London Has Fallen still isn't a good movie, it's a touch better than the original for a few key reasons.
The first reason is the pacing. At under 100 minutes, London Has Fallen moves at a quick enough pace to ensure that we never stop to consider much of anything. It's a good 20 minutes shorter than the original, and being shorter definitely helps. Its action isn't anything special, save for one sequence that uses a faux one-take gimmick that makes it stand out, but, for the most part, it's passable.