BEIRUT: The Gerard Butler led Fallen franchise, returns with the third chapter entitled ANGEL HAS FALLEN, as Butler’s Mike Banning faces his most challenging mission yet - protecting and clearing his own name, and though this is quite a “here we go again” plot, the franchise seems to be entertaining audiences enough to continue moving forward with more and more films.
The third installment stands on its own as a psychologically tense, kinetic thriller that never lets off the accelerator from its opening killer-drone attack. It also adds a revealing new chapter to the legend of Mike Banning, as the hazards of his work collide into his private life, pushing him to explore how he became the man he is now.
Even though the film’s action never decelerates, the narrative doesn’t offer anything new in the sense of plot twists or what’s in the box moments, but relies on big action sequences and spectacle.
The screenwriters attempt to tackle some deep material with this film, stripping the character of Banning down to his core, and ask challenging questions about loyalty, consequences of war, and knowing when enough is enough, but don’t go far enough in their search for answers.
In OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN, Banning rescued the First Family from a North Korean-led kidnapping inside the White House. In London Has Fallen, he kept President Asher from harm during a terrorist attack on world leaders attending the British Prime Minister’s funeral.
For the first time in ANGEL HAS FALLEN, Banning is no longer sure if he can trust his own agency. He can’t sleep, he can’t get through the day without pain killers and even his doctor can see that he’s heading at 100 mph for a brick wall. Then, the bottom drops out.
What is worthy of applause is the franchise’s attention to continuity, specifically with its character arcs.
Taking Morgan Freeman’s character as a prime example, he was Speaker of the House in OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN and Vice President in LONDON HAS FALLEN, and now, he takes on the mantle as President Trumbull and all the hazards of being Commander-in-Chief.
As for Gerard Butler’s character its more of an emotional evolution as audiences will see not idealized and unstoppable man of steel but rather a portrait of a more life-sized man, a hardboiled warrior facing down his own doubts.
ANGEL HAS FALLEN takes Mike Banning into his darkest hour, but also his hidden past.
Things take a wild switchback into turbulent father-son territory when Banning looks for refuge in the last place on earth he ever thought he’d go: his long-estranged father’s off-the-grid cabin.
Nick Nolte, plays Clay Banning, is the real standout here.
Creating a sometimes comical, but somewhat compelling, contrast with Butler’s Mike Banning, he brings a sense of frayed dignity to a man not quite sure if he’s ready for redemption.
The film’s biggest problem aside from its sometimes lazy screenplay, is its weak use of CGI and simply cringe-worthy use green screen.
From hospitals that crumble like a stack of cards with no true physics, or elemental logic, to actors running past explosions that look flat and completely fake, the visual effects artists truly demand your suspension of disbelief to suspend so low.
Yet for average audiences it is clear that they’re in for whatever adventures Mike Banning goes on as it has been doing quite well in the global box office - then again, what is it really competing against? ANGEL HAS FALLEN can be seen across all cinemas in Lebanon, but go for the full experience of watching at VOX Cinemas’s 4DX Experience, you might enjoy the film more if you are living it.
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