I don’t know what we as a society did to deserve a Has Fallen trilogy but Angel Has Fallen certainly isn’t going to raise the bar.
Aaron Eckhart does not return as President Benjamin Asher. There’s not a single mention of him in the film. In any event, Morgan Freeman’s Allan Trumbull is now the president. Serving as Trumbull’s Vice President is Martin Kirby (Tim Blake Nelson). Gerard Butler also reprises his role as everyone’s favorite Secret Service agent, Mike Banning.
There’s a trick to these films and I give this one some credit for not falling victim to the same beats of the first two films. But this is about it. The filmmakers knew that the had to change it up. Wisely, Banning comes with some flaws for the third go-around. Mainly, post-concussion migraines. It’s a way of lending humanity to his character. While he might perform heroic acts in the line of duty, he’s no superhero.
With a film dealing with the presidency, it’s kind of important to make some sort of political commentary. Or reference some of the current events. One such reference in particular is the Russian election tampering. When Trumbull goes into a coma as a result of an assassination attempt, Kirby becomes acting president. All of Trumpbull’s security detail was wiped out save for Banning. Someone–we don’t know who–goes out of their way to blame the veteran Secret Service agent. Despite what the audience knows, nothing stops FBI Agent Helen Thompson (Jada Pinkett Smith) from blaming Banning based on the evidence. Even retiring Secret Service Director David Gentry (Lance Reddick) doesn’t buy his innocence.
Banning does everything necessary to clear his name. He knows that the FBI is chasing him. This means, he’ll do whatever it takes to protect his good name. Does that mean leaving message through the window of his father’s truck? Yes, it most certainly does. Let’s talk about Mike Banning’s father, Clay (Nick Nolte). He turns in a memorable supporting performance here as a father who walked out on his family. This is a man who is also prepared for anything. Thus we get what very well may be the film’s best set piece–watching a number of explosions surrounding Clay’s West Virginia cabin. It’s probably the single best moment in the film.
Unfortunately, Angel Has Fallen doesn’t have much to offer. You’re better off waiting than rushing out to theaters.
DIRECTOR: Ric Roman Waugh
SCREENWRITERS: Robert Mark Kamen and Matt Cook & Ric Roman Waugh
CAST: Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Jada Pinkett Smith, Lance Reddick, Tim Blake Nelson, Piper Perabo, with Nick Nolte and Danny Huston