London Has Fallen review: Gerard Butler

London Has Fallen review: Gerard Butler's latest is a racist piece of trash

You know exactly what you're going to be served when it comes to movies like London Has Fallen. Destruction, deaths and explosions galore. And in this case, Islamophobia.

For those viewing it just for the bloodshed, the movie doesn't disappoint. But there's a tastelessness to all of it that just can't be ignored. It might be a non-stop action thriller that delivers high-octane excitement, but it's just xenophobic, jingoistic nonsense at its heart.

And more focused on a bromance between the two leads - Aaron Eckhart as US President Benjamin Asher and a super-sweary Gerard Butler as his indestructible Secret Service bodyguard Mike Banning.

This sequel (that no one asked for) to Olympus Has Fallen comes to from Swedish director Babak Najafi, and has an unwieldy story with Asher attending the British Prime Minister's funeral alongside an assembly of world leaders.

Of course, this is simply a set-up for an impossibly complicated terrorist attack perpetrated by Middle Eastern terrorists whose motive for such widespread slaughter - major landmarks are destroyed; thousands of citizens and tourists killed brutally.

After Asher survives the initial attack, it's up to his beefcake bodyguard Banning to shepherd his Head of State to safety while running around the streets of London.

Banning might be the hero, but it must be noted that he kills people constantly - even when it's not necessary.

When Banning slowly sinks his knife into a faceless, nameless terrorist, we're expected to cheer. When he calls their (unnamed) country "Fuckheadistan", we're expected to cheer. When he screams at a soon-to-be-slaughtered Arab, "You've been trying to kill us forever!", we're expected to cheer.

But all you can do is groan and wonder what people in the Arab world are going to be thinking if they see this film.

What London Has Fallen does have is a stacked cast. Returning alongside Butler and Eckhart are Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Melissa Leo, Jackie Earle Haley, and Robert Forster, a gaggle of Academy Award winners/nominees who, in this movie, could not possibly be asked to do any less.

london has fallen poster embed

But none of the characters are fleshed out in anyway - which is even when they die or just stare impotently at screens, you really can't give a damn.

And Butler is back to simply proving to the world he can fight and really, do we need to be convinced anymore? It's the same macho role over and over again, it would be great to see the Scotsman give us something different from being just grouchy and gruff all the time.

Eckhart is a great actor in his own right, but he's just a side lackey in the film to help fuel this unconventional bromance. President Asher is merely there to serve Banning's latest mission.

But, then again, London Has Fallen isn't about proper story structure or a compelling narrative. It's about seeing Butler barrel down the streets of London decimating as many enemies as possible.

There are some gorgeous shots of London. And of London being blasted to smithereens. But it's near impossible to let loose and truly enjoy the ride given the extreme Islamophobia and the lack of respect for the state of the world and the very real acts of terrorism that have occurred over recent months.

The verdict

After one of many very violent stabbing sessions, someone asks Butler's character, "Was that really necessary?" He simply replies, "No."

And that about sums up London Has Fallen.

RATING: 1.5 out of 5

Aleesha Matharu

Aleesha Matharu @almatharu