Grade B-

With so many plot holes that Swiss cheese manufacturers would be jealous, “London Has Fallen” is saved by tight pacing, numerous action sequences, and a short running time.

 The plot: the U.S. attempts to assassinate an arms dealer with a drone strike; the bad dude escapes with his sons; but the enormous explosion kills his daughter and her wedding party.  Two years later, bad dude gets his revenge by killing the heads of dozens of countries during a funeral for a British politician, with the President of the U.S. (played by Aaron Eckhart) as the main target.  But bad dude, bad dude’s sons, and bad dude’s hundreds of terrorists/mercenaries didn’t count on one thing: super Secret Serviceman played by Gerard Butler!  Nevermind he’s outgunned, outnumbered, and not in his home turf.  Butler is a bad-ass American, and in this movie, that’s all that’s needed to win!  Surviving the massive, bloody attack during the funeral, Butler and Eckhart are on their own, hounded by terrorists who plan to take Eckhart alive so he can be executed live on the internet where billions can watch.

Okay, enough of the cheerleading.  Let’s talk shenanigans.  1) How did bad dude and his sons escape the drone strike?  After all, one of the sons looked up as he heard the engines of the drone closing in — that missile was probably seconds away, and somehow he and his brothers and father (but not the sister) left the compound in time? 2) It seems that half the London police force were terrorists/mercs in police disguise.  With so many fake police, no one noticed, not other cops, or British secret service or DSS personnel?  Identification for everyone there is checked, double checked, triple checked, and so on, by their own units and by other security departments…and no one noticed any of the fake cops?  3) Only one field agent from MI6 noticed that the security cameras in London was hacked and quickly got it working correctly.  So the dozens of workers in that command center were completely oblivious to a possible hacking, and didn’t bother to try to figure out how and work on a solution?  4) Butler inflicts so much damage to bad dude’s number one son that it would have killed him ten times over; but the son runs away and keeps fighting?  The list goes on and on but I will stop as I’m sure you get my point.

“London Has Fallen” is sure to infuriate the English because of how incompetent they are made to look for most of the movie.  But to be fair, the SAS (British Special Air Service) had a lot to do with rescuing Eckhart and Butler.  The beginning of the rescue scene in the third act of the movie is my most memorable moment of this movie.  Knowing where the bad guys took the President to be executed, Butler and a team of SAS — and possibly U.S. Delta — storm the terrorists’ hideout in London.  The first minute or two of the scene is done either in one shot or made to look like it was done in one shot through use of CGI.  Whatever the case, it is one of the best action sequences I have seen in a long time, and it will leave you breathing hard due to excitement — unless you are so angry about the politics of this movie that nothing about “LHF” will please you.  If the first minute or two of this scene was done in one shot, my deepest respects to all those involved in the shoot, as it is great filmmaking.

At second place for my most memorable, movie moment of “London Has Fallen”: the scene when Butler is beating the hell of number one bad son, and Butler says “You know what you guys don’t get?  We’re not a fucking movie, we’re not a fucking flag, we’re not just one man!  Assholes like you, have been trying to kill us for a long, fucking time.  But you know what?  A thousand years from now, we’ll still fucking be here!”

Many will fault “LHF” for what may seem like simplistic views on world politics, but if one is paying close attention, there is much finger-wagging at the U.S. in this movie.   Both views on the U.S. — it being evil and it being good — are present, and one can hate or love this movie depending on how you feel about the U.S. foreign policy.  Me, I concentrated on how much entertainment I got out of “LHF,” and it was a lot, hence the relatively high grade.

— M