Team America

London Has Fallen takes its action-movie idiocy across the pond

Gerard Butler fires away, but misses.
Gerard Butler fires away, but misses.

If only all those other stupid countries could be as awesome as America. After the British prime minister dies suddenly and mysteriously, world leaders summoned to London for the funeral, allegedly "the most protected event on Earth," come under terrorist attack.

The only survivor among them is U.S. President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart), thanks to impossibly badass Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler), even though Banning concedes that he is made of nothing more than "bourbon and poor choices." (One wonders what all those failed non-American security people could possibly be made of: cotton candy?)

Now Asher and Banning are on the run in a locked-down London because the bad guys want to capture the president and execute him live on the Internet. Because that could happen. It is laughably beyond preposterous — all the security lapses in every single British service, from MI6 right down to the NHS ambulance corps — that are required for the army of swarthy brown terrorists to pull off stupendously coordinated multiple attacks across a geographically sprawling world city.

Though even the terrorists cannot deny the superiority of American technology: look at all the Macintosh PowerBooks prominently arrayed among their info-arsenal! Of course, the Brits are not American; all the pitying glances and asides thrown around by the likes of Secret Service director Lynne Jacobs (Angela Bassett) for her UK counterparts are akin to that of a patient parent generously tolerating the best efforts of a slow but beloved child. Isn't it cute how the Brits are trying? So sweet of them.

London Has Fallen isn't a movie: it's a Nuremberg rally for 21st century America. The astonishing aptitude of the terrorists is meant to leave a fear-mongered audience peeing its pants and hungry for blood, certain that only America has the balls and the brains and the firepower to smash them all. Even more vile than its outrageously propagandistic progenitor Olympus Has Fallen, this is pure terror porn: racist, jingoistic, thoroughly obnoxious. Trump voters will love it. ♦

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    Maryann Johanson

    Maryann Johanson