Movie review: Far-fetched frame-up fuels 'Angel Has Fallen'

Fred Hawson

Posted at Aug 25 2019 09:29 AM

Gerald Butler returns as Secret Service agent Mike Banning in 'Angel Has Fallen'

After surviving a disastrous attack of explosive drones during a fishing trip, Secret Service agent Mike Banning had been framed for attempting to murder US President Allan Trumbull whom he was supposed to protect. Banning first had to escape from custody, evade pursuers, and somehow figure out a way to exonerate himself and at the same time prevent the real perpetrators from finishing the ailing President off. 

"Angel Has Fallen" is the third episode in the Fallen film series (after "Olympus Has Fallen" in 2013 and "London Has Fallen" in 2016) about Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Gerald Butler) and his heroic exploits against brazen terrorists out to assassinate the President of the United States. The only other cast member who appeared in all three films was Morgan Freeman as Allan Trumbull. Trumbull was Speaker of the House in "Olympus," Vice President in "London" and President in "Angel."

The rest of the cast in "Angel" are new actors. Piper Perabo now played Mike's wife Leah Banning, who was previously played by Radha Miller. Lance Reddick played the new Secret Service director David Gentry, taking over from Angela Bassett's Lynn Jacob. Perhaps to make up for Bassett's absence, they added the character of a hard-nosed female FBI agent Helen Thompson played by Jada Pinkett Smith. 

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Nick Nolte created a standout character as Mike's estranged father Clay Banning. Even if the circumstances of their father-son reunion was rather far-fetched, Nolte gave the story a moving dramatic angle amidst all the hardcore action. Danny Huston played Mike's friend from his Rangers days Wade Jennings, whose eventual character arc was very obvious from his very first scene. Tim Blake Nelson played a most unpresidential-looking Vice President Kirby. 

Gerald Butler looked really grizzled here already. Banning's exploits in this film were incredible as we suspend our disbelief to accept that he single-handedly took on the SS, the FBI, the police and more than all that, even the real bad guys and all their high tech weaponry. A lot of action in this film took place in darkness and there were a number of shaky cam scenes, so it can be a strain to watch in dim theaters. 

Anyhow, as over-the-top the plot may be, this remained engrossing as an action thriller, continuing the pace set by the two previous films. Despite all these odds against him, we still root for Banning to turn things around for himself and his family, achieve his impossible mission for the President and save the day for the USA. 

This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."