This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative
It’s been close to 7 years since I originally saw Olympus Has Fallen. It’s fun to look back to my old review of it. I ended up seeing the film again to get ready for this one and would score it higher nowadays. I’d probably bump it back up to around a 7. I still do have an issue with how easy the whole takeover was. No way that plane should have been able to take out the two jets like that and I feel like everyone wouldn’t go down so quick…but that’s how it goes. This film isn’t quite as strong as the first and I do have to suspend my disbelief again but it’s still a solid sequel.
Following up on the events from the first film, Mike is back on the security detail protecting the president. They have been invited to attend a funeral for the prime minister along with the presidents and leaders of many different countries. I have massive doubts that everyone would actually attend in person due to the great security risks this would bring but the President does want to go in person. A virtual meeting would have been best but it looks like America is going. Mike and the President head in with the team but of course it’s a trap and nearly all of the leaders are assassinated while London is burning. Mike has to help the President get back to safe ground but comms are down and enemies are everywhere. Will Mike be able to pull off one more rescue?
The film is definitely escalating the situation a lot more than the first film. We’ve got traitors everywhere, the villains have a plan so big that they outsmarted the G8 and tons of cops were planted on the inside. The film points out that this is a plan that was years in the making but even then I have doubts on this all going through. It seems like the USA was the only place to even think of bringing in any guards. Everyone else just folded immediately when the enemies attacked. No extraction plans or anything, they all just curled up and died. Even at the end of the film they nonchalantly mentioned that a new government has been installed and everything’s all good….but it’s not a focus.
You may as well have had this take place in the U.S. again because it feels like the other countries just did not matter at all. They don’t ultimately do anything and feel incidental. The villains don’t even seem to care about the other governments at all anyway. I could go on about that angle but it would go in circles pretty quickly. Bottom line is I don’t think this plan would really work nearly as well as the film is trying to spin it. I always have a lot of skepticism on these outside attacks at least on this scale.
Mike continues to be a great lead here. He takes charge right away and gets the President to safety. Each time he manages to take on several opponents at once and is quick under pressure. He has a lot of good lines here and is just really talented. He doesn’t let the team pull him off the field and lives up to his reputation as a one man army. Soon the villains are going to need to start factoring him into the equation if they really want to win these battles. Otherwise it’s really curtains for them.
The President is also fun. I still wish they would let him fight at least once since we did get the whole boxing scene in the first film. He shoots someone here but I’m talking a true hand to hand fight. He always ends up taking a beating instead but the guy always stands strong so I’ll give him credit there. He’s not going to give up or crack in the end.
Trumbull is also a very solid character. He really did an excellent job of filling in during the events of the first film. His role isn’t quite as big in the second film but he gets a really good scene at the end where he turns the tables on the main villain. I also liked how he turned the guy’s line against himself. The ending is also a bit ironic for him since the villain was rambling about how the U.S. blows people out of the sky all the time and this and that. Well, now he had the honor of being blown out from the sky himself.
The villains aren’t quite as memorable as in the first film though. You’ve got the classic “I want revenge for my fellow terrorists” kind of guy who doesn’t realize that he should be blaming them for being terrorists in the first place. The U.S. does look a bit iffy with one explosion where it turns out that we blew up a bunch of civilians as collateral damage as a result. Sounds like it was a rough choice but since we didn’t even get the villain that did make us look bad. We ultimately got him on the second shot though. Certainly there was not going to be any other decision after the President was taken hostage and nearly murdered though.
The action scenes are on point as you would expect. Definitely a lot of very intense battles there and nobody is taking prisoners here. We get some solid hand to hand fighting and Mike surprisingly has a bit of a tough battle at the end. Of course he has to be utterly exhausted by this point so that makes sense. He does spend a little too long gloating at the end which nearly leads to one villain getting away but I suppose after beating so many enemies he has earned a little speech to himself.
Overall, London Has Fallen is a good sequel to the first film. It doesn’t surpass the original as it’s weaker in almost every way but it’s still a good movie in its own right. The characters are on point and you’ll be engaged with what’s going on in the story. The villains aren’t as memorable and I would say the film isn’t quite as tense as the first though. It’ll be interesting to see what the third film’s all about. I’d assume the only way to get even bigger is to have the whole world engaged in some kind of World War III as Mike has to protect the president from every country. That might start entering the point of parody if they were to do that though so we’ll see how that works out. Either way, this is a film I could recommend checking out without a doubt.