A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that London Has Fallen is the sequel to 2013's Olympus Has Fallen. Like the first movie, it features tons of violence; many real-life landmarks are depicted being destroyed, and countless innocent bystanders are killed. The good guy shoots, stabs, and kills many bad guys with no consequence or remorse. Viewers will see gruesome deaths and plenty of blood, as well as explosions. Language is also strong, with many uses of "f--k," "s--t," and more. Substance use and sex aren't really issues. Amid the violent mayhem are messages about patriotism and doing something vs. doing nothing.
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What's the story?
In LONDON HAS FALLEN, Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is thinking of retiring, especially since his wife (Radha Mitchell) is about to have a baby. But before Mike can turn in his badge, the prime minister of England dies unexpectedly, and leaders from all over the globe are invited to London for the funeral -- including U.S. President Asher (Aaron Eckhart). Mike accompanies the president across the pond with very little preparation, and once they're there, a terrorist launches an all-out attack in retaliation for a U.S. drone strike two years earlier that killed the terrorist's family. Mike collects the president and spirits him away through the city streets, but with bad guys disguised as cops and military personnel, who can he trust? And can he stop the evil master plan?
Is it any good?
Anyone who was calling for a sequel to Olympus Has Fallen should've been careful what they wished for; this sequel borrows shamelessly from many action classics and ends up lifeless and dim. London Has Fallen is interesting when it's showing the logistics of assembling so many world leaders in one place, but that order is quickly turned into brain-numbing chaos. And director Babak Najafi uses at least one impressive, 60-second tracking shot, but that still leaves about 90 dull minutes to slog through.
Butler is no Harrison Ford or Bruce Willis; he can't handle the dopey quips the screenplay gives him. Other, Oscar-nominated actors get even less dialogue, and much of that is forced and clunky. There's no one to connect with. Most of the action is either underdeveloped or relies on coincidence. And, worse, the movie may leave you feeling depressed and guilty, wondering whether, these days, movies about large-scale terrorist attacks ought to be marketed as slam-bang entertainment?
Talk to your kids about ...
In the movie, terrorists blow up a real-life city and kill both innocent bystanders and world leaders. How do you feel about the idea of making entertainment out of a terrifying situation? Is it upsetting? What other emotions did you feel?
The vice president's speech at the end of the movie advocates getting involved, rather than doing nothing. Do you agree or disagree? What other factors might be involved?
How does the movie compare to the previous entry, Olympus Has Fallen? Which do you like better, and why?
- In theaters: March 4, 2016
- On DVD or streaming: June 14, 2016
- Cast: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman
- Director: Babak Najafi
- Studio: Focus Features
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 99 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong violence and language throughout
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
For kids who love action and thrills
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