Reviewed by: Gabriel Mohler
|Featuring:|| Gerard Butler … Mike Banning, Secret Service agent
Aaron Eckhart … Benjamin Asher, President of the United States
Morgan Freeman … Speaker Allan Trumbull
Angela Bassett … Lynn Jacobs, Director of the United States Secret Service
Radha Mitchell … Leah Banning, Mike’s wife and a nurse
Jackie Earle Haley … Deputy Chief Mason
Melissa Leo … Secretary of Defense Ruth McMillan
Charlotte Riley … British MI6 agent
Alon Moni Aboutboul … Aamir Barkawi, a terrorist mastermind
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Gerard Butler Alan Siegel Entertainment
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Prequel: “Olympus Has Fallen” (2013)
In preparation to review this film, I watched the prequel, “Olympus Has Fallen.” I was expecting a popcorn military flick with a few scenes of over-the-top violence. But I was shocked by the horrific deaths throughout. Instead of Michael Bay-style explosions, it mostly delivered Tarantino-level violence. So naturally, after seeing it, I was dreading the day when I would have to go to the theater to review the sequel. But I’m happy to say that this film is a huge, and I mean HUGE, improvement. I’ll compare the two films after I address all points of concern. It’s never been my style to put headings in my reviews, but this time I’m going to divide it up into three sections: positive elements, offensive elements, and cautions.
The characters in this film are some of the best role models I’ve ever seen in film. Their integrity is solid. They don’t let anyone convince them to give up on their country. Even when they are threatened with destruction, death, and torture, they always do what’s right. It reminds me of what Jesus did when under the punishment of the Romans, and also what we as Christians must do if we ever face such persecution in America. They all work together and are willing to sacrifice themselves to save others.
Also, it’s refreshing to see Hollywood’s willingness to be honest about terrorism. That’s rare to see, because it’s considered “politically incorrect.” But terrorism is a thing, it’s a wicked thing, and the people who do it are wicked people. This film is not ashamed to base its whole plot on that.
The language. There were fewer curses than I expected, but I still heard numerous f-words. There are some profanities and occasional scatological terms.
The difference between “Cautions” and “Offensive Elements” is that “Cautions” are simply things that sensitive viewers should be aware of, whereas “Offensive Elements” include things that directly violate God’s commands.
Obviously, the violence demands strong caution. There are bombings, shootings, and hand-to-hand fights throughout. That said, there are only a few scenes that involve blood. Most of the deaths are quick, and rarely are they close-up. Still, the sight of a whole city full of people going up in explosions is a tragic thing to watch. Sexual content is minor, only a husband and wife kissing a few times.
This film is less than half as violent as its predecessor. The predecessor had the same positive messages and patriotism, but that was overshadowed by the bloody, brutal, punishing violence. Honestly, I found “Olympus Has Fallen” to be a drag. It was as though all my interest was drowned in the blood, and I was eager for the movie to be over. But I actually enjoyed “London Has Fallen.” In only a few scenes is the violence gratuitous, and it was less disturbing. “London…” has just as much city destruction as “Olympus…” but MUCH less blood.
I feel about this film pretty much the same way I felt about “The Dark Knight Rises”—my thoughts are mostly positive, but I did feel that a few scenes are more disturbing than necessary. In fact, aside from the language, the producers would only have to cut two or three bloody camera shots from this film to get a PG-13 rating.
Giving moral ratings to films like this is always difficult. Terrorism is portrayed as evil, and the protagonists use violence only in self-defense. So technically, the violence is not unbiblical. But I still think it earns a rating of at least “Offensive” because, like I said, there are a few shots that showed too much, and I believe viewers have a right to be offended by having to see that.
Neither of the films in this franchise are that great, and I wouldn’t go around recommending them, because there are many more worthwhile action flicks. But if this type of action thriller interests you, and you are willing to handle the strong language and a few scenes of bloody violence, my advice would be not to wait for the DVD release, and give it try.
Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Heavy to extreme—“Oh J*sus” (1), Jesus (2), Oh my G*d (2), g*d-d*mn (3), h*ll (5), d*amn (2), f-words (35+), s-words (10), a**hole (3), a** (1), SOB (1) / Sex/Nudity: Minor
Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Minor
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.