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Angel Has Fallen–to a new franchise low

Angel Has Fallen–to a new franchise low

Three years ago, the mediocre 2013 film Olympus Has Fallen, about Presidential secret service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) yielded a brisk sequel, London Has Fallen. Now, the “guardian angel” is back, protecting President Trumbull (Morgan Freeman) in Angel Has Fallen, a lame, loud, and lazy action thriller. 

Banning is looking haggard here—and given that he suffers migraines that prompt him to take painkillers, he may in fact be getting too old for this shit. Audiences may tire of this routine thriller as well. It opens with an action sequences that emphasizes every grunt, thud, bullet and explosion. If nothing else, Angel Has Fallen has terrific sound design. But it plays like a video game. Just after President Trumbull offers Banning the position of Director of the Secret Service, a drone strike occurs, killing dozens of Secret Service agents, leaving President Trumbull in a coma, and Banning pegged as the mastermind behind the attack/assassination attempt.

Of course, Banning is being set up, but by whom? Well, it is not hard to guess the evil men behind the fiendish plot. Just follow the money and power. Or ID the film’s two other prominent character actors.

So Banning goes on a(nother) one man crusade to clear his name. Escaping en route to prison, he has a car chase in an 18-wheeler, but the sequence never gets the viewers blood pumping. On the lam, Banning reunites with estranged father, Clay (Nick Nolte) who is living off the grid. Nolte is the best thing in Angel Has Fallen, providing not just comic relief, but also protecting Banning in an explosive sequence that is the film’s sole highlight. 

Most of the film features plot holes that one could drive an 18-wheeler through. Why would two FBI agents meet with their prime suspect alone? How did Clay turn up at the right place at the exact right time to help Banning’s wife (Piper Perabo) out of a sticky situation? And how does Banning, a man with a concussion, head butt so many people without ever experiencing further pain?

This noisy film just gives viewers a series of shootouts and explosions, leading up to a mano a mano slow-motion rooftop fight between Banning and his adversary. It is drawn out to the point where it lacks excitement. 

Butler appears to be sleepwalking through his role, fulfilling a contract rather than giving a performance. He really does look too old for this shit. In support Freeman practically phones in his performance, spending half of his screen time in a coma. 

Angel Has Fallen shows how this mediocre series has hit bottom. 

Angel Has Fallen opens in Philly theaters today.

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