Gerard Butler has been Jean-Claude Van Dammed to a career of blood-drenched B-movies like “London Has Fallen.”
Well, and big-budget dogs like “Gods of Egypt.”: At least he’s not all Egypto-tanned for this one.
“London,” the sequel to “Olympus Has Fallen,” is an ultra-violent F-bomb-laced hundred-body-bash through the British capital.
Because at a state funeral there, world leaders are slaughtered by a lot of guys dressed up at British cops. And British soldiers.
The Brits are going to be irked.
The French prime minister is killed being fashionably late.The French may fume over that. Japanese prime minister is trying not to be late. The Canadian prime minister is politely right on time and dead. Oh, Canada.
The German president gets it from the palace guards at Buckingham Palace.
BOY, are the Brits going to be irked.
And the Italian one is caught stealing a smooch from his 29-turning-30 trophy on top of Westminster Abbey. OK, Italy won’t mind that.
But the American president (Aaron Eckhart) is early, a security thing pushed by his Secret Service minder, Mike Banning (Butler). Mike has a “Not on my watch” mania that keeps the Commander in Chief alive and at large.
“Mr. President, those had beter be comfortable shoes!”
The streets are filled with motorbiking terrorists, dressed as U.S. Delta Force terrorists. in control of the city’s closed circuit cameras and power grid.
Scotland Yard is slow-footed and impotent. In the White House, the VP (Morgan Freeman) and council of advisers (Jackie Earle Haley and Robert Forster and Melissa Leo among them) look on in horror as Internet threats about an Internet execution of the Leader of the Free World is promised.
Yeah, it’s about revenge and yes, Mike goes Super Sadist Super Quick — knives and neck-snappings and emptying all manner of automatic and semi-automatic weapons
Did I mention that Mike’s an expectant dad whose letter of resignation we’ve already seen his letter of resignation? As his wife (Radha Mitchell) would say, “Of all the days…”
That’s kind of how “London Has Fallen” goes — all action, a staggering body count, profane and forgettable tough-guy one-liners. The villain (Alon Aboutboul of “Body of Lies”) is Eastern Generic and Butler is infallibly Western Generic.
Director Babak Najafi lets Butler chew the scenery with thinly veiled racial rage — visceral, torturous stabbings and righteous, ritualized slaughter of the Middle Easterners. There’s little drama, but the fights and chases (Butler hanging out of a moving SUV) are exciting, if not very original.
Eckhart is stoic and mostly passive, his eyes betraying a “What went wrong?” curiosity about his career. The White House scenes are so static and stale that we laugh at the unlikely presence of Jackie Earle “Freddie Krueger” Haley out of boredom.
Only Angela Bassett aquits herself with honor. She has a scene that makes us feel the violence, the violation, the outrage and grief.
The rest of this short but clock-watching movie is as flat as only the digitally rendered destruction of London can make it. Good, clean — OK, not so clean — sadistic fun that won’t make anybody feel anything or remember a single scene within hours of seeing it.
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence and language throughout
Cast: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Angela Bassett, Alon Aboutboul, Morgan Freeman, Radha Mitchell, Jackie Earle Haley, Robert Forster
Credits: Directed by Babak Najafi, script by .Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt, Christian Gudegast, Chad St. John
Running time: 1:39. A Gramercy release.