It's mindless fun.
Angel Has Fallen
Director: Ric Roman Waugh (Snitch)
Screenplay: Waugh, Robert Mark Kamen, Matt Cook
Cast: Gerard Butler (Olympus Has Fallen), Danny Huston (Wonder Woman)
Runtime: 2 hr 1 min
By: John DeSando
“It is our moments of struggle, that define us.” President Trumbull (Morgan Freeman)
Angel Has Fallen, since 2013 the third in the Fallen franchise starring Gerard Butler, is 2 hours of thriller clichés and stereotypes that manage to be entertaining and occasionally profound (See the opening quote). I liked it as I am an ardent fan of the genre, not as a discerning critic.
Saving the president is what Mike Banning (Butler) does, enlisting POTUS to save him when needed but always, as a secret service agent, protecting him more than himself. When the black SUV’s and savage drums roll, I know the might of the US is on the move or that it is endangered.
Besides the considerable charm of Butler’s everyman persona, I was pleased to see him suffering the aches and pains he deserved for all the combat calisthenics he has endured. I was pleased to see director and co-writer Ric Roman Waugh keep the inevitable home stress to a minimum, not emphasizing the grief and suffering of Mike’s wife, Leah (Piper Perabo), in the usual thriller fashion.
The attempt to assassinate the president with a drone attack was as good a set piece as you will see in any film of this genre. The little attackers are tough to stop and capable of sending bombs that remind me of the napalm strafing in Apocalypse Now.
You do not go to these thrillers for intellectual stimulation or aesthetic satisfaction. You just go with a buddy to give your mind a vacation and see how well Americans do with remarkable CGI and stunning cinematography. Sometimes that’s enough.
John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.rr.com