Angel Has Fallen movie cast: Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Danny Huston, Nick Nolte, Piper Perabo, Jada Pinkett Smith, Tim Blake Nelson
Angel Has Fallen movie director: Ric Roman Waugh
Angel Has Fallen movie rating: 2 stars
Mike Banning (Butler) is done saving Presidents after Olympus Has Fallen and London Has Fallen. This time he is out to save his own skin, after he is set up as the culprit following an assassination attempt on the President. The inept FBI, led by a hardworking Pinkett Smith, can’t go wrong with this one. The clues are laid out like a bread crumb trail, from DNA matches, to Banning being the lone Secret Service agent who survives the attack, to 10 million dollars in an offshore account, to links with Russia.
Moscow has time and again shown that it is far from as transparent as every second Hollywood script makes it out to be. But you can’t fault them for not trying. Here, Vice-President Kirby (Nelson, looking as untrustworthy as always) even talks about the ambiguity that helped Russia escape the “election tampering” taint — in a precise, logical way that seems out of sync with this often mess of a film.
But then, there are several such impressive moments strewn about this film where Butler again gets to flex his Secret Service muscle. Take the assassination bid itself, targeting the President with drones that appear into the sky like swarming bats, and take out his entire Secret Service fleet in a series of blasts that have bodies flying up and landing down charred. The President is out fishing at the time, so it’s as beautiful as it gets amid the mayhem.
Banning on the run is efficient, mechanical and deadly, whether it is a car chase, hand-to-hand combat or dodging a gun trained directly on him — despite being on pills to keep out nausea, dizziness and migraines (which last briefly anyway). Halfway through that, he runs into his long-missing dad, in the form of a much-bearded Nolte, an actor who has earned his chops doing precisely all this. Here, he takes off half the bad men having wired the forest area around where he stays with bombs — surprisingly well-equipped for a man trying to cut himself off from the world.
It’s when the plot thickens that the film leaks. There is no suspense, as the bad guy is revealed much too early — even if few would have any doubt as to who that would turn out to be. There is no complexity as all of America’s many wars are bundled together in one sentence — Iraq, Vietnam, and Korea, with Russia looming over the horizon. And there is no original thought with dark taint back on the role of private military contractors.
Into the third film of this series, Aaron Eckhart is out and Morgan Freeman is in the White House as ‘President Trumbull’ (Perabo has replaced Radha Mitchell too inexplicably, as Banning’s wife, but really, do you care?). Clearly, they couldn’t have had an idealistic, pacifist White man called Trumbull occupying the Oval Room. And clearly, Freeman — as “Presidential (a word he himself uses)” as they get, again and again, in film after film — can’t be anything but.
Guess Russia knows better.