Angel Has Fallen
Angel Has Fallen is the best of the Mike Banning Trilogy — which still isn’t saying much and also didn’t take a lot to accomplish.
Bereft of such wackadoodle lines as, “Go back to Fuckheadistan,” that made 2016’s London Has Fallen a xenophobic, jingoist wet dream, and having gained a quasi-huggable Nick Nolte as the conspiracy theorist father of our Secret Service agent hero (Gerard Butler, meat-headed as ever), the mindless action flick is less offensive and slightly more entertaining than its predecessors.
Angel also oddly flips the series’ right-wing politics so that a Blackwater-type private military company is the villain — a somewhat nice change from the North Korean and Pakistani terrorists Mike previously fought — while notions of Russian election-tampering are encouragingly acknowledged as not kosher.
These pivots still don’t make it a good movie — which director Ric Roman Waugh (Snitch) may very well know as he attempts to distract viewers with steady action (much of it told via the series’ staple shoddy special effects) and speaker-rattling explosions as Mike attempts to clear his name after being framed for an assassination attempt on the President (Morgan Freeman, adding to his decade of mainly piss-poor selections).
In the process, the filmmakers expect viewers to believe that 56-year-old Danny Huston is an elite soldier, capable of carrying out elaborate, physically-demanded missions, and that Banning can walk without the aid of robotic assistance.
More believable is that Jada Pinkett Smith (here playing a humorless FBI agent) has caught the dead-eyed misery that’s plagued her husband’s onscreen work for the past seven years, though it would take a lot more than her pep to elevate this dud.
Grade: D-plus. Rated R. Now playing at AMC Classic, Biltmore Grande, and Carolina Cinemark
(Photo by Simon Varsano)