Over the past decade, Gerard Butler has been box office poison for just about everything he’s appeared in. The exceptions are the “How to Train Your Dragon” and “Has Fallen” films. Good news! That means 2019 is a banner year for Butler. The third “Dragon” movie came out in February and now the third film in the “Has Fallen” franchise is here.
“Angel Has Fallen” is the follow-up to 2013’s “Olympus” and 2016’s “London”. Once again Butler plays top Secret Service agent Mike Banning. Morgan Freeman is back as U.S. President Allan Trumbull. This time the setting is Washington D.C. There’s an assassination attempt during a presidential fishing trip that puts the Commander in Chief in a coma — and Banning in hot water.
All the secret service agents who were guarding the Pres. are killed in the attack — except Banning. He’s being set-up as the mastermind behind the attack. But, of course, he had nothing to do with it. So he has to go on the run, while trying to clear his name, protect his family and stop the real bad guys, who need the president dead to pull-off their diabolical plan.
Director Ric Roman Waugh (of 2013’s Dwayne Johnson drama “Snitch”) gives fans of the first two films, and those new to this series, plenty of high-octane action. There are well crafted chases and shootouts, all packed with skills and thrills. There’s a nice old-fashioned, satisfying feel to “Angel Has Fallen”.
Waugh has also assembled the best cast of the series, with Tim Blake Nelson, Danny Huston, Piper Perabo, Lance Reddick (who’s also made a name for himself in the “John Wick” saga) and Jada Pinkett Smith joining Butler and Freeman. But it’s Nick Nolte, as Banning’s ex-military/off-the-grid father, who steals the movie. Nolte provides an extra layer of substance, with both humor and heart, that elevates “Angel Has Fallen” from average to well worth seeing.
The script is pretty straightforward (with a few medium-level twists), and the visuals range wildly from impressive to obvious green screen/computer imaging. But “Angel Has Fallen” is a pleasant surprise to wrap-up the summer. It packs more punch than most of the other big budget action films released this year.
On The Official LCJ Report Card, “Angel Has Fallen” gets a B.
Running Time: 120 min.