Angel Has Fallen: Movie Review

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A Brief History

On August 23, 2019, the third in the movie series starring Gerard Butler as the super duper Secret Service agent Mike Banning, is set to make its debut across the US in the wrappings of Angel Has Fallen.  The previous films, Olympus Has Fallen (2013) and London Has Fallen (2016) were financially successful films, making more than double and more than triple their budgets respectively, meaning it was only good business sense for the producers to add another film to the series.

Digging Deeper

The film series features Butler as a fiercely loyal and dedicated public servant, extremely well trained, resourceful and diligent, as well as resolute and brave.  Faced with bad guys, he is forced to engage in hand to hand combat and shoot outs galore in each film, and the third iteration is no different, even though each film has a different director.  (Angel Has Fallen is directed by Ric Roman Waugh, a Hollywood pro with stuntman and acting experience as well as directing.  Butler reportedly was happy to have Waugh assigned to the film.)

Theatrical release poster for the 2013 film Olympus Has Fallen

Without spoiling the movie for you, the plot revolves around Butler/Mike Banning as the agent in charge of protecting President Alan Trumbull, played perfectly by Morgan Freeman.  (Note: Morgan Freeman has also played God and the US President in the past and is incredibly convincing in both roles.  If we have to have an movie or television personality for President, why not Freeman?)  A conspiracy to assassinate the President forces Agent Banning to use all his brains and brawn (with a little help from his friends/family) to clear his own name as the alleged assassin master mind and to protect his beloved President.  A tall order indeed, but the Banning character is the Jack Bauer of the big screen and is up to the task!  Meanwhile, Banning is battling the old injuries and ailments from his previous violent encounters with terrorists and assorted bad guys.  Butler is 49 years old in real life, about what his character would be in the movie, and the beating this guy has gone through in the previous Fallen films would indeed leave him aching.

Did we mention shootouts?  Well, there is plenty of that, as well as explosions, burning helicopters, drone attacks, grenades and grenade launchers and lots (we mean LOTS) of people killed.  If you love action and excellent special effects, see this film.  If you abhor violence, go watch one of those tear jerkers.

Angel Has Fallen brings in good old (and he looks old) Nick Nolte into the mix as Banning’s estranged father, and that character is excellent not only as a helper for Mike Banning, but also as a crotchety old man that gives some comic relief to an otherwise serious action film.  (Hint: Stay for the mid-credit scene.)  Piper Perabo plays Banning’s wife and mother of their toddler in another well casted role.  (Perabo is new to the series, with Australian Radha Mitchell playing Mike Banning’s wife in the first 2 Fallen movies.)

Angel Has Fallen has a reasonably large, $80 million, budget, and it shows with plenty of special effects and spectacular action shots, including vehicles and explosions.  The running time of 121 minutes seems much shorter, as the relentless action makes the time go by quickly.

Theatrical release poster for the 2019 film Angel Has Fallen

Surprisingly, to us anyway, Rotten Tomatoes reports their consulting critics pan the movie with a disappointing rating of only 46%.  Remember, that rating is from critics, not from audiences, which we believe will be much more enthusiastic about the movie.  Our test audience oohed, ahhed, laughed and clapped at all the appropriate times and the buzz leaving the theater was quite upbeat.  We enjoyed the heck out of the movie and believe any action movie fan will as well.  The film is rated R for its extensive violence, but it does not show gratuitous gore.  We think the rating could easily have been PG-13, but what do we know?  (Rhetorical question please do not answer!)

Question for students (and subscribers): What is your favorite Gerard Butler movie?  Please let us know in the comments section below this article.

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Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

Armstrong, Andy. Action Movie Maker’s Handbook: The Art of Movie Action. CreateSpace, 2016.

Clarkson, Jenny. Keep Calm and Follow Gerard Butler: Gerard Butler 2018 – 2019 6″x9″ 18 Months Supreme “On-the-Go” Diary Journal Notebook Planner Calendar. CreateSpace, 2018.

Sperlich, Uwe. Presidents Under Pressure or how fictional presidents handle situations of extreme crisis in the movies “Deep Impact”, “Independence Day”, and “Mars Attacks!” GRIN Verlag, 2012.

The featured image in this article, a scaled-down, low-resolution image of a teaser poster for the 2019 film Angel Has Fallen, in an article intended for educational purposes that provides critical commentary on the film qualifies as fair use under the copyright law of the United States.


About Author

Major Dan

Major Dan is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served during the Cold War and has traveled to many countries around the world. Prior to his military service, he graduated from Cleveland State University, having majored in sociology. Following his military service, he worked as a police officer eventually earning the rank of captain prior to his retirement.