A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Angel Has Fallen is the third film in an intense action series that began with Olympus Has Fallen and continued in London Has Fallen. Like those, the story centers on a foreign plot to kill the American president, with Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) ready to protect and serve. Also like the other two, Angel Has Fallen has constant graphic violence: Hundreds of (largely faceless) people are killed in multiple extended battle scenes with military weaponry and aircraft, and sympathetic characters are suddenly dispatched on-screen. Bodies are set on fire, fly through the air, and lie burned on the ground with missing limbs. Dozens of explosions take out many people at the same time; there are also scenes in which people battle while driving, with cars and trucks smashing into things and each other. Nobody shows any remorse, nor are there many consequences for the deaths. Language is frequent and quite salty, including "f--k," "a--hole," "s--t," "damn," and "hell." Banning is frequently praised for being brave and strong, but the movie mostly shows him being brutal. He's tender to his wife and child, but they mostly serve as a symbol for what he leaves behind when he heads off on a mission. Women are almost absent from the movie overall, though Jada Pinkett-Smith plays an FBI investigator.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In ANGEL HAS FALLEN, the third film in the series that began with Olympus Has Fallen and continued with London Has Fallen, Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is considering moving to a desk job within the force when a brutal attack leaves President Trumbull (Morgan Freeman) grievously injured -- and Banning implicated as the leader of the strike. Now it's up to Banning to uncover exactly who's trying to kill the president and why, to clear his own name, and to stay alive long enough to get back to his wife (Piper Perabo) and daughter.
Is it any good?
Punishingly grim and overly long, this third entry in the Fallen series mostly squanders any credit it earned from the previous two outings. As Banning battles (and battles) his way out of increasingly ludicrous odds, viewers may forget at times just who he's fighting. Mowing down armies of faceless bad guys with guns and explosive devices and (at one point) a long-haul truck, Butler looks as exhausted as the audience feels while numbly watching the carnage.
The overstuffed plot of Angel Has Fallen has a lot of threads, as well as characters who show up briefly to throw monkey wrenches into Banning's plans. Of course, as in most protect-the-president films, there are cardboard villains standing between Our Hero and victory: This time around, it's Oval Office insiders, Russian spies, and a group of private military contractors. If that sounds overly complicated, it is, and that's one of the chief reasons it's hard to remember just who's inside the helmet being shot at. Perabo is wasted in her blah worried-wife role, as is Tim Blake Nelson as a shifty-eyed vice president. But a game Nick Nolte is the best thing this movie has going for it: still wild-eyed, raspy, and vital, he brings both pathos and crackle to his all-too-brief role. Filmmakers, some advice: Forget about Fallen, and give this guy an actioner to head up on his own.
Talk to your kids about ...
Russians have been popular "enemies" in movies and TV shows at different times over the years. Why do you think that is? What are the consequences of portraying a particular group as villainous?
- In theaters: August 23, 2019
- On DVD or streaming: November 26, 2019
- Cast: Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Jada Pinkett Smith
- Director: Ric Roman Waugh
- Studio: Summit Entertainment
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 114 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: violence and language throughout
- Last updated: November 25, 2019
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