Angel Has Fallen Movie Review: Weak writing brings down this decent action film
The latest addition to The Fallen franchise brings great set-pieces, sound design but repetitive editing and bad writing continue to mar the overall experience
Deep into the second half, while watching Angel Has Fallen, I realised how much I missed watching Vijayakanth films. Stay with me here. The cartoonish villain who you knew was one all along, the over-the-top enjoyable action set-pieces, a dramatic family sentiment scene, a scene about patriotism, a jibe at a known foreign enemy... all these are staples of Vijaykanth's films, and exist in this latest instalment in The Fallen franchise.
Cast: Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Nick Nolte, Tim Blake Nelson
Director: Ric Roman Waugh
While Olympus Has Fallen and its much inferior sequel, London Has Fallen, concentrated more on saving the presidents of the country, Angel Has Fallen, as its title suggests focusses on the president's guardian angel, Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler). The man, after two films of protecting the POTUS from terrorists from different countries, is finally in line for a promotion as Director of Secret Service, much like Freeman's Turnbull, who has gone on from Speaker to VP to now President over the course of the three films. One would think that this promotion is a blessing in disguise for a man who suffers from bouts of migraine and insomnia, and lies to doctors about his line of work so as to get them to sign his medicines. Mike loves the field so much that he feels this desk job is a demotion. So as the film's plot would have it, we see Mike plunge into yet another protecting-president-from-
The action pieces in Angel Has Fallen, are my most favourite in the whole franchise--right from a drone attack that won't be out of place in a Marvel film, to the film's climactic battle featuring Butler as a one-man wrecking crew... The film's opening sequence of a single gunman vs many reminded me a lot of Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six games/Counterstrike. The sound design is so well done, and is not the cacophony that is associated with such scenes. What elevates these action sequences is also all the brutality. A scene-stealing Nick Nolte (I won't spoil who he is in the film) gets a terrific set-piece that literally has everyone on fire while you laugh at what is unfolding on screen.
Prior to Nolte's entry, Banning sleeps on the wheel as he is driving and almost gets into an accident. I think that scene in a microcosm is what the film itself is up until that point--a snoozefest that turns watchable after Nolte's entry. The film builds up Banning's issues but conveniently, they don't become a painpoint (pardon the pun) in his fights. For a film that boasts of five different writers, there are basic factual errors, let alone the profound lack of depth in characters. In fact, at one point, this film ends up contradicting the previous film (Olympus Has Fallen) of the franchise, when Vice President Martin Kirby (Tim Blake Nelson), who has been sworn-in as acting President, claims no one who has been sworn in as acting president has ever been unsworn.
Such weak-hearted writing coupled with repetitive editing gives you a feeling of repetition and fatigue. While Angel Has Fallen is far better than its predecessor, and even leaves a door open for a future addition to the franchise, the arrival of the film at this time seems like a lip-service, what with all its faux patriotism. Lucifer, the devil, was a fallen angel, and if The Fallen franchise takes itself too seriously, it might end up becoming its own enemy.