ANGEL HAS FALLEN is the third instalment of the FALLEN series of films following 2013’s OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN and 2016’s LONDON HAS FALLEN. The films follow United States Secret Service agent Mike Banning played by Gerard Butler saving the President for nay harm as his personal bodyguard/agent. The President was played by Aaron Eckhart in the first two films and replaced by Morgan Freeman in this last venture. If one has not heard of the FALLEN series, it is not surprising as the films were not that memorable.
Director Ric Roman Waugh appears to believe the notion that sequels have to be louder bigger and more of everything but not necessary better. What the film lacks compared to other action flicks like martial-arts choreography of car chases is more than made up in the department if pyrotechnics. There are lots of fire power (weaponry of assorted types) and explosions including one big massive bombing of a huge hospital, the St. Matthew’s.
The plot involves Mike Banning who must race against time to clear his name after being framed for an attack on the US President, Allan Trumbull. Hence the title ANGEL HAS FALLEN as agent Banning is regarded as the President’s guardian angel who seemingly has fallen from grace. After the events in the previous film, Secret Service agent Banning finds himself framed for an assassination attempt on President Allan Trumbull. Pursued by his own agency and the FBI, Banning turns to unlikely allies to clear his name and uncover the real terrorist threat.
The unlikely ally in the story is Mike’s father, Clay (Nick Nolte, still recognizable under all that beard) who has had a falling out with his son and now living like as hermit and very strange person (as Nolte is, in real life). Clay has ammassed a whole lot of explosives in order to protect himself and property, which is another excise for lots of pyrotechnics.
ANGEL HAS FALLEN appears to follow all the rules of action filmmaking. There is a showdown between villain and hero at the film’s climax where the two fight to the death in hand-to-hand combat. Included is the national concern of the Government employing private syndicates to do its dirty work instead of the military which is less transparent to the people. The President is updated to a African American and he has good heart and wishes the best for the country. The hero is connected to family. He has served well his country in the past and suffers from past injuries such as insomnia and migraines from his previous work. Yet ANGEL HAS FALLEN is predictable being so formulaic in its determination to be a hit. The film also runs a lengthy two hours with so much firepower and explosions that the action set-pieces look lacklustre and dull. There is nothing here that audiences have not seen before and louder and bigger do not necessary make it better.