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
Gerard Butler Alan Siegel Entertainment
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.
…it succeeds in laying claim to an audience’s attention for the entirety of its swift running time… this budget-conscious high-octane action piece verily zips along at such a fierce clip that it’s over practically before you know it. …
—Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
…The film is a popcorn-crowd pleaser, but a “yippee ki-yay” or two away from something more memorable. [2½/4]
—Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail
…Butler proves his mettle as an action star… most of the film is just an excuse for nonstop action of the most ridiculous kind. …
—Pete Hammond, Deadline Hollywood
…an exciting action thriller… extreme violence and strong foul language… [3/4]
—Ted Baehr, Movieguide
…dim, drab, xenophobic sequel… Cruddily crafted, grimacingly performed and effortlessly racist…
—Guy Lodge, Variety
…Stupid but action-packed ‘Olympus’ sequel entertains… like The Warriors-meets-Air Force One…
—Sonny Bunch, The Washington Free Beacon
…formulaic and moronic…
—Neil Genzlinger, The New York Times
…simultaneously insults and assaults our intelligence… [1½/4]
—Chris Knight, National Post
“London Has Fallen” is for angry conspiracy theorists, not so much for others…
—Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times
Brutal, inane “London Has Fallen” is even worse than the original…
—Stephanie Merry The Washington Post
…“London Has Fallen” is the Fuller House of red-meat action movies. In the sense that what initially looks like a mostly harmless hit of nostalgia for Reagan-era junk food turns out to be a slow-release capsule of apocalyptic dread. …the escapism it purports to offer feels a lot more like confinement.
—Chris Klimek, National Public Radio (NPR)
…a ludicrous sequel on steroids… bigger, dumber, jaw-droppingly shameless and also kind of a riot.
—Lindsey Bahr, Associated Press
…This saps the film of suspense at a stroke, because almost everyone that appears on screen turns out to be part of a sleeper cell. … this action sequel should have been a video game instead…
—Robbie Collin, The Telegraph