The angel HAS fallen. The Angel has Fallen is a sequel that should have fallen before it was in the can. Starring Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, and Jada Picket Smith, The Angel has Fallen relies too heavily on action and chase sequences and fails to deliver a story of any merit, not that one is expected in this genre. Ric Roman Waugh and a slew of screenwriters throw together a hodgepodge of chase and fight scenes, taped together with feeble attempts at social commentary and a limited and predictable storyline.
Mike Banning (Gerard Butler), who has single-handedly saved Western democracy twice now, is back and older, keep watching over the now president Allan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman). Trumbull offers Banning the role of director of the Secret Service, a job he considers turning down. He prefers being on the ground to sitting behind a desk. After an attempt on Trumbull’s life, Banning finds himself on the wrong side of the blame and fully engage in a chase, or rather race, of his life. Banning knows he’s innocent but chooses to run, trusting no one other than himself to clear his name.
For its two-hour run time, The Angel has Fallen goes fewer than two minutes between major action sequences. Director Ric Roman Waugh stages each impressively well. A perfectly played drone attack is especially unnerving and engaging. The film’s third-act assault on a hospital delivers a true sense of panic when violence breaks out in a crowded place. Demonstratively, these scenes make the film watchable and suspenseful. A rare showing by actor Nick Nolte as Banning’s father provides another surprise.
It is in the story that the movie clearly fails. In addition to crazy implausibilities, the human factor is wholly predictable. The trailer gives away one bad guy and the second is as obvious as Banning’s ability to clear his name. The strained relationship between Banning and his father Clay, while entertaining enough, offers nothing fresh. The majority of the cast is merely dressing to a Gerard Butler, wrong man accused, show.
Lacking in substance, save the social commentary, The Angel has Fallen should be the last in the franchise. It certainly won’t garner the box office earnings of the first. Visually it impresses but at some point, gunfire, fiery explosions and heart-pounding (and not in a good way) music wears on the brain. The actors play their parts with enthusiasm – giving there all to a formulaic tale. A C+ is as generous grade for a film that plays out like a super-speed rollercoaster on a flat track.