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UNIVERSAL

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Babak Najafi
Cast:
Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman
Writing Credits:
Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt, Christian Gudegast, Chad St. John

Synopsis:
In London for the Prime Minister's funeral, Mike Banning is caught up in a plot to assassinate all the attending world leaders.

Box Office:
Budget:
$60 million.
Opening Weekend
$21,635,601 on 3490 Screens.
Domestic Gross
$62,524,260.

MPAA:
Rated R.

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio:
English DTS X
English DTS Headphone X
Spanish DTS 5.1
English DVS
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French

Runtime: 100 min.
Price: $9.98
Release Date: 6/14/2016

Bonus:
• “The Making of London Has Fallen” Featurette
• “Guns, Knives and Explosives” Featurette
• Previews
• DVD Copy


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RELATED REVIEWS


London Has Fallen [Blu-Ray] (2016)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 17, 2019)

With a worldwide gross of $170 million and a budget of $70 million, 2013’s Olympus Has Fallen might’ve generated a minor profit. However, if it made money, it didn’t earn much.

Nonetheless, someone thought that seemed good enough for a sequel, which led to 2016’s London Has Fallen. This one did worse in the US but better elsewhere, so with a $60 million budget, its $205 million worldwide ensured a slightly more healthy profit.

It also led to a third film in the series via 2019’s Angel Has Fallen, but that’s a discussion for another review. In London, UK Prime Minister James Wilson dies suddenly.

This means many other world leaders come to England for the funeral. Terrorists attack and kill many of them.

Thanks to quick-witted Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler), American President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) manages to escape this assault. However, his survival may not last long, as the President and Banning need to scramble to find security in the sprawling London cityscape.

Make no mistake: I thought Olympus offered a terrible movie. I enjoy this kind of action flick and wanted to like that one, but it came with so much silliness and stupidity that I couldn’t roll with it.

Does London alter the situation? Not really – it brings us another brainless action-fest that loses points due to its inherent idiocy.

London also suffers due to its release date. London went into production before Donald Trump entered the 2016 campaign, but early 2016 became a bad time for a film with Muslim zealots at its baddies.

Not that there’s ever a good time for one-sided characters, but March 2016 featured Trump’s ugly attacks on Muslims in full force, and it seems difficult to separate London’s “rah-rah USA!” attitude from its era.

Boy, does London trumpet American superiority over pretty much every other nation. The brief moments we spend with non-US leaders paints them in stereotypical ways, and these scenes make little sense, as they seem to show all non-American security officers as buffoons.

Would the Japanese premier really be stuck in regular London traffic? Would the French leader sit alone on a barely guarded boat? Nope, but these scenes act to allow Banning and the Americans to look smarter and more powerful than others, so these sequences exist.

I get that movies like this need incompetents to make the hero look stronger and more clever. Heck, the original Die Hard went to extremes to paint the cops and FBI as dopes to contrast with super-smart John McClane.

But there’s a level of xenophobia at play here that seems seedy. Some would argue it’s no different to make fun of Muslim terrorists than it is to mock Anglo baddies, but history lends a different tone to films like this.

As such, what comes across as harmless fun when a movie mocks, say, Germans, becomes more harmful when a film uses Muslim stereotypes at its core. If current politics didn’t work the way it does, this wouldn’t be the case, but a story that demonizes a culture already struggling to avoid mass condemnation seems like a bad choice.

Even if we ignore this less-than-PC element, London just doesn’t work especially well as an action film. I can swallow absurdity in movie form if the end result entertains, but if the big set pieces lack thrills, then why bother?

Every once in a while, London manages to deliver a moderately exciting bit of action. The opening assault on the world leaders manages some visceral impact, and a few other segments come with passable punch.

These tend to remain in the minority, though, as much of London feels cobbled together from parts of other movies. Creativity isn’t this franchise’s strong suit, and the second chapter seems no more original than its predecessor.

At least London brings back most of the first movie’s cast. Butler looks craggier and craggier, but he handles his one-dimensional role well enough, and the rest of the over-qualified actors manage to add some class to the proceedings.

Though I admit I don’t know how Morgan Freeman’s Allan Trumbull went from Speaker of the House in Olympus to VP in London - and he’ll become president in Angel! Where does he go in a fourth Fallen flick, Supreme Leader?

I can’t call London a disappointment because its predecessor offered such a terrible movie. Heck, if you strip out the ugly xenophobia involved, London probably works a little better as a film than Olympus.

But only a little, and not enough to redeem its unappealing elements. London mixes crude attitudes with lackluster action and a general sense of stupidity to become another poor cinematic experience.


The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio A-/ Bonus C-

London Has Fallen appears in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a good but somewhat inconsistent presentation.

In particular, some interiors seemed oddly soft. I suspect this stemmed from the original photography, but I couldn’t discern a logical reason for the lack of definition, as these occasional shots appeared fuzzy for no clear purpose.

Still, most of the movie offered nice delineation, and I saw no signs of jaggies or moiré effects. The film also lacked edge haloes or print flaws.

If you suspected London would come with the modern standard teal and amber palette, you’ll get what you expected. Given their ambitions, the hues looked fine here.

Blacks came across nicely. Dark tones were deep and rich, without any muddiness or problems. In addition, low-light shots gave us smooth, clear visuals – other than the occasional soft shots of course. Outside of those sporadic iffy interiors, this became a good presentation.

I felt very happy with the solid DTS X soundtrack of Lodnon. Downconverted to DTS-HD MA 7.1, the mix offered plenty of opportunities for lively auditory information, and it took good advantage of these.

From the road chases to gunfire to explosions to other action elements, the mix filled the speakers on a frequent basis. The track placed information in logical spots and blended all the channels in a smooth, compelling manner.

Audio quality was also positive. Music sounded lively and full, while effects delivered accurate material. Those elements showed nice clarity and kick, with tight low-end.

Speech was always distinctive and concise, too. This mix worked well for the film and added a lot to the action.

Two featurettes appear here, and The Making of London Has Fallen runs 13 minutes, 16 seconds. It features comments from producers Les Weldon and Alan Siegel, director Babak Najafi, director of photography Ed Wild, senior visual effects supervisor Sean Farrow, costume designer Stephanie Collie, executive producers Avi Lerner and Christine Otal Crow, and actors Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Alon Aboutboul, Morgan Freeman, Waleed Zuaiter, Jackie Earle Haley, Angela Bassett, Radha Mitchell, Sean O’Bryan, and Robert Forster.

With “Making”, we look at story/characters and challenges related to the creation of a sequel, cast and performances, Najafi’s impact on the production, sets and locations, photography, stunts, action and effects.

Since it gets only 13 minutes, “Making” rushes through its topics. Still, it offers a reasonable overview of the production domains.

Guns, Knives and Explosives lasts seven minutes, 42 seconds and provides notes from Najafi, Butler, Farrow, Eckhart, Weldon, Wild, 2nd unit director Steve Griffin, and security specialist/technical advisor Will Geddes.

As implied, “Guns” mainly examines stunts, action and effects. It does so in a fairly positive manner despite its brevity.

The disc opens with ads for Kubo and the Two Strings, A Monster Calls, The Young Messiah, Eye in the Sky, Triple 9, Mr. Robot, The Expanse, Hail Caesar and Hardcore Henry. Previews adds promos for Self/Less, Sinister 2, Black Sea, The Forest, Closed Circuit and Hanna. No trailer for London appears here.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of London. It includes the same extras as the Blu-ray.

Even though I hated Olympus Has Fallen, I hoped its sequel would offer something entertaining. Alas, it doesn’t, as London Has Fallen becomes another stale, trite action flick without redeeming value. The Blu-ray boasts generally good picture as well as excellent audio and minor bonus materials. As much as I want to like the film, I can’t find much to embrace here.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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