Thursday, September 5, 2019

Angel Has Fallen (2019)

I saw Olympus Has Fallen (2013) with my father, I skipped London Has Fallen (2016), and I saw Angel Has Fallen with a friend. The third installment is full of references that most people over 40 would get. There were some chuckles in the mostly-empty theater. A bunch of things went boom.

The only thing that impressed me more than the action scenes was how little the film tried to be different or original. Ignoring the latest superhero crossover crap, this is cinema at its most mainstream. Eh, it’s not bad.

Angel Has Fallen takes itself about as seriously as an Avengers movie. Director Ric Roman Waugh colors mostly within the lines drawn by his predecessors. The flick mostly sticks to the basics, mostly avoids politics, and is mostly just about things going boom. There is one moderately abnormal bit in a health spa during the credits; closer to Mister Lonely than Trash Humpers on the Harmony Korine scale of postmodernism. That’s as far out of the lines as Ric colors.

Piper Perabo plays the inoffensively brainless housewife, mostly filling in as a body double for the character’s previous actress, Radha Mitchell. I think Radha kicks ass; she starred in the cult classic(?) Silent Hill (2006). She did not appear in this film.

Gerard Butler reprises his role as a generic pill-popping action hero. Wifey smiles a lot; Butler grunts a lot. They have an annoying baby that shrieks a lot.

Morgan Freeman plays President Trumbull, a prophetic name devised for Olympus when Freeman played Speaker of the House Trumbull. The filmmakers had that one in their back pocket.

There are a few other stars, notably Jada Pinkett Smith as a slow-witted FBI agent. She leads the investigation against Butler, who Has Fallen.

I have been known to ramble, so let’s get down to brass tacks. Butler is a Secret Service guy protecting Morgan Freeman. They go on a fishing trip. The bad guys launch a bunch of mini drones that blow up and kill the entire Secret Service except for Butler. That and DNA evidence make him look like the big bad. He wakes up handcuffed to a hospital bed.

Butler is transported by van in the middle of the night. The motorcade gets T-boned by the guys who framed him. They take him in their own van, he breaks out and recognizes one of them as somebody from his training camp. He steals a big rig at a gas station, wrecks it in the woods as he’s chased by a helicopter, etc. He gives himself up to Morgan Freeman and explains the situation, so he’s the good guy again. Then bang bang bang for the rest of the movie.

Angel Has Fallen is everything it needs to be, which is not much. You see the dollars on the screen. Things go boom, you get your popcorn money. I give it one thumb up.