Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Movie review: London Has Fallen, dir Babak Najafi (2016)

This four-square action flic stars Gerard Butler as Secret Service agent Mike Banning. Alon Aboutboul does a good job as his nemesis, arms dealer and terrorist Aamir Barkawi. Craggy-faced Aaron Eckhart plays US President Benjamin Asher and Morgan Freeman plays vice-president Allan Trumbull. All of these people perform their roles well.

I can’t imagine why this film isn’t better-known unless it is because the premise – a large-scale terrorist attack in London in retaliation for a drone strike in Pakistan that killed innocent people (including Barkawi’s daughter) – is a bit odd. It seems like a reasonable response to continued external interference in the Middle East, but the narrative is slightly challenging for people who identify with the West.

I found no fault with this movie, which is topical due to the number of terrorist attacks carried out in London since 2001. A pulse-quickener that plays with notions of safety and danger it also poses important questions; I liked the way it interrogates the role the US has played in world affairs since the 90s.

A long chase, during which Banning and Asher evade and Banning kills dozens of would-be assassins, and the final confrontation with the terrorists, are beautifully orchestrated. They are absolutely stunning in their conception and execution.

Waleed Zuaiter as Aamir Barkawi’s son Kamran is good and though he might have been developed a little more to make him less two-dimensional this film is intelligent and thoughtful as well as thrilling. This Netflix-available film, oddly enough is classic US product from a Swedish director of Iranian ancestry.

No comments: