The unthinkable happens when heavily armed and highly trained terrorists launch a bold daytime attack on the White House. The building is overrun, and President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) and his staff are taken hostage. Luckily for Asher, former presidential security officer Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is on the scene. With time running out, it’s up to Banning to locate Asher’s son Connor (Finley Jacobsen) before the extremists do and rescue the president before his captors unleash their ultimate plan.
If you didn’t already know, I saw London Has Fallen yesterday and you can read my review for that here. But that film was a sequel to another film, Olympus Has Fallen, which I haven’t seen. I didn’t have time to see it before I saw London Has Fallen but in order to get some context, I saw it today.
The story here involves a Secret Service agent named Mike Banning (Butler) who after an unfortunate accident, is no longer part of President Benjamin Asher’s (Eckhart) detail. Once a group of heavily armed and highly trained terrorists launch an attack on the White House and then take it over, it is up to Banning to locate Asher’s son Connor (Jacobsen) first while also rescuing the president before the terrorists unleash their master plan.
For me after seeing the second film first, it was nice to see how these characters started. In general, for me, without having seen what precedes things, I make inferences based in common sense and what I know about films and I appreciated being right (although it was not much of a stretch here). It was pretty easy to see early on that Banning and Asher were close and then something happened which drove them apart and that was easy to see too. Banning, who wanted back in, needed to prove himself and luckily for him, this whole White House incident was his opportunity. I will say this was a little anti-climatic to me after seeing the second film first but regardless, common sense should dictate him being successful. With that, the film’s big moments did not have as big of an impact with me.
This series is based on moments of utter chaos and destruction (i.e. things falling). While I thought the incident behind London Has Fallen was quite silly and not rooted in sense, the incident here (i.e. White House Falling) was just as silly but seemed a little more plausible to me. Also like the second film, the special effects were not great and blatantly obvious. Despite that, there was still some excitement to be had. Just like the second film, this one takes advantage of it’s R/14A rating, especially during these moments.
While I thought the plot of the second film was a little silly, didn’t really lead to anything, and was just Banning and Asher running away from things, this one actually had some semblance of a plot. I don’t want to give away anything about London Has Fallen but this plot made more sense and I actually cared about it more. While in the second film, the relationship between Banning and Asher were closer, they spend a lot more time together, I liked this film more since they were more apart which gave Butler the opportunity to lone wolf the majority of the film. I found this to be much more exciting and I found Butler vary compelling and fun to watch in this role thus making the story more interesting.
Not only Butler but everyone here seemed more compelling including Eckhart, Morgan Freeman as now Speaker of the House Allan Trumbull, and Angela Bassett (who was also in the second film).
Overall, as long as you suspend belief (which was easier to do in this film), this is still a mindless action film with plenty of action and explosions which will satisfy some, led by a good performance from Gerard Butler.