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London Has Fallen - What the Hell was that? - Elf M. Sternberg
London Has Fallen - What the Hell was that?
Last night I sat down to watch London Has Fallen. I actually enjoyed the original, Olympus Has Fallen, about a terrorist takeover of the White House. Gerard Butler did a fine job in that film as the middle-aged secret service agent disgraced by a tragedy he couldn't prevent who finds himself the sole officer left in a building filled with hostiles. The movie has some of its energy sucked out of it halfway through-- a pacing error, basically-- but overall it has a number of highly effective "action" set pieces-- nine, by my count-- and at almost exactly two hours long is just about right.

London Has Fallen is awful. It's 80 minutes long, barely a TV special, it has exactly three set pieces (the initial attack, the first attempt to get away, the final rescue), and its set-up lacks all the emotional punch of the original. But what's most awful is the premise, because what carries the premise is basically UKIP and Trumpian politics gone utterly sad.

Olympus proposes an attack by a highly-trained, well-equipped military force supplied by a state power. With one notable exception (a cargo airplane armed with mini-guns), the bad guys use mostly off-the-shelf weaponry and cleverly exploit city infrastructure, like using garbage trucks as assault vehicles; heavy steel protects the attackers while allowing them to hose down the combat area with .50 caliber fire, and by blowing up the tires with small charges the trucks cannot be pushed/dragged out of the fire zone effectively. The attackers also had months to train and weeks of heads-up time in which to prepare.

London gives the bad guys three days to put together an attack on a much larger scale, hitting a large number of well-defended landmarks all throughout the city. The bad guys come equipped with every imaginable weapon, including a specialized thermite grenade that "melts through" engine blocks. The bad guys supposedly knew where every world leader was at the moment of attack and had elaborate tools at their disposal for committing mayhem.

But London's biggest crime is that it depicts every Muslim in the UK as a potential terrorist. Swarthy members of her Majesty's Royal Guard, Scotland Yard, the London Constabulary, and Emergency Services are depicted suddenly dropping their masks and opening fire on everyone around them. London depicts the UK's Muslim population as a foreign body ready to rise up and become a disciplined, well-equipped insurgency ready to commit atrocities. During the final manly fist-fight, the protagonist grunts out an actual "thousand year" (tausendjähriges) speech between blows.

It's just gross. It's jingoism of the worst kind. And Butler, who produced as well as acted, doesn't deserve attention for any of his roles in producing this steaming pile of elephant poo.

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Current Mood: annoyed annoyed

3 comments or Leave a comment
adam_0oo From: adam_0oo Date: August 2nd, 2016 01:19 am (UTC) (Link)
That is what I liked about Olympus, knowing what we know about the security setup around the White House, post 9-11, Olympus has a nice veneer of plausibility around it.

London is not like that. I only saw the trailer and I was like, that is not how terrorists operate. I know because I live in the real world with actual terrorists and these kinds of attacks are a thing they are not capable of.
autopope From: autopope Date: August 2nd, 2016 12:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Also, the distributors had the supreme bad taste to launch London has Fallen in the UK on the anniversary of the worst terrorist atrocity to hit London since the second world war.

Nope nope nopetopus; not seeing that, not giving those dipshits any money or credit.
dr_memory From: dr_memory Date: August 4th, 2016 11:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
The "Fallen" movies make a lot more sense when you know that Millennium Films, their production company, has intentionally patterned itself on Cannon Films: mid-to-low-budget actioners starring slumming past-their-prime actors and shot through with not-even-subtle anti-Muslim racism was Cannon's major schtick, and Millennium just brought it into the world of crap CGI effects.

(I cannot strongly enough recommend Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films. Available on netflix and all of the other usual places.)
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