Antoine Fuqua’s 2013 White House-takeover thriller, ‘Olympus Has Fallen,’ more than doubled its $70 million budget at the worldwide box office despite withering reviews from critics and having to compete with the similarly premised (though PG-13 rated) ‘White House Down’ from Roland Emmerich within months of its release. Which means it’s sequel time baby, oh yeah! Being a diehard ‘Die Hard’ fan, I am probably naturally inclined to such movies, but as long as they don’t suck (like the last ‘Die Hard’ movie starring Bruce Willis) that’s really all I ask.
If anything, the set-up of ‘London Has Fallen’ is even more eye-rolling impossible than that of its predecessor (North Koreans invade the White House, like that's gonna happen). Britain’s PM dies all of a sudden and top world leaders flock to London for the state funeral. With all the eggs in one basket, a well-coordinated and devastating series of terrorist attacks rock London to her knees, claiming not only visiting heads-of-state but also famous landmarks such as Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and London Bridge (Yup, London Bridge is literally falling down, my fair lady). Whiskey Tango Foxtrot! How can the British government including MI-5, MI-6 and New Scotland Yard be compromised so deeply and thoroughly? Stop asking such inane questions, because how else is the movie supposed to make the predicament of tough ex-Marine President Asher (Aaron Eckhart) and his favorite pet ex-Delta Force Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) seem duly dire and near impossible? Besides, the non-stop action and carnage are piled on so hot and heavy throughout the movie that soon you’ll stop caring about the how’s and wherefores anyway.
If you enjoyed ‘Olympus Has Fallen,’ odds are good that you’ll also find this indulgence in gratuitous violence a worthwhile diversion in spite of the many faults brought to light by the critics who mercilessly panned it. There is a place for movies that excite the viscera and give us a truly “visceral viewing experience.” LHF manages to do just that.