What I Got Out of the Movie London Has Fallen

The following blog may contain potential spoilers for the movie “London Has Fallen”, so if you’re the kind of person that gets all pissy about such things, go read another one of my blogs, or read with your fingers covering your eyes so you only see parts of it.

With that crap out of the way, I can talk about seeing the sequel to “Olympus Has Fallen”, “London Has Fallen”. If you didn’t know “London…” was a sequel, and never heard of “Olympus…”, here’s the gist of them…

In “Olympus Has Fallen”, terrorists from North Korea attack the White House (aka Olympus), killing lots of people and taking the President of the USA and some others hostage. It’s up to Gerard Butler’s Mike Banning to save the President, stop the terrorists from getting their hands on America’s nukes, and shoot and kill a lot of people. Antoine Fuqua directed this one, and it was a pretty good action movie. Die Hard in the White House.

“London Has Fallen” sees the return of the President and Banning as they visit London for a state funeral. They are caught up in another terrorist attack, people are killed, millions of bullets fired, there’s even some stabbing and such. Directed by Babak Najafi, it is well done action movie, with decent special effects and loads of gun-play.

But after watching it, I didn’t have the same feeling I did after the first movie. It was the same kind of good guys win, bad guys get their necks broken and missile up their asses, but it felt kinda hollow. It was as if the victory of the good guys wasn’t deserved.

Maybe it was the scenes at the beginning of the movie, and even a trailer for another movie, that made me not really cheer or even like that America had beaten the terrorists again.

At the beginning of the movie, we see a family get-together in a compound that is filled with banners, bright colours, singing, dancing and smiling faces. Among them is an older man who is soon revealed by drone or satellite to be a top-10 terrorist leader. Somewhere in America, people give orders and a missile blows the shit out of the compound, and pretty much everyone there.

Just moments before the movie started, I had seen a trailer for the movie “Eye in the Sky” about a similar situation. Drones spot a group of wanted terrorists and discover they are about to commit an attack. They go from surveillance to assassination, except there is a nine-year-old girl in the kill zone. What follows is a debate about the morals of modern warfare, using drones to kill and collateral damage.

Having seen that trailer, then witnessing the deaths of a whole group of innocents to kill one man, who isn’t even killed, thus allowing him to execute his plans for vengeance in London two years later, I wondered where the morality of the character in “London Has Fallen” were?

Is terrorism bad? Yes.

Is the deaths of a bunch of innocent people worth one terrorist leader? I don’t think so.

Yet in one movie, the death of one child is debated, where in the other, no debate is even mentioned, ever, about the deaths of a whole family of innocent people. That single act at the beginning of “London Has Fallen” soured the heroism for the rest of the movie. Even when the heroes are confronted with the actions that set everything in motion, they blow it off. They don’t seem to give a shit about why these men have set these terrible acts in motion. At one point, one of the terrorists calls America cowards for killing them from miles away via drones and missiles. *SPOILER ALERT* When the bad guy is killed, its by a missile from a drone from miles away, and the Vice President seems to be gloating about it.

Now I’m used to bad guys being cardboard thin and stereotypes, especially in movies from the 80’s! This could have easily been done in the 80’s, with Chuck Norris in place of Gerard Butler and Powers Boothe as the President. But this was made in the 21st century! What was ok for the 80’s doesn’t pass muster in 2016. How hard would it be for the President to acknowledge what America did was bad? Why couldn’t he and the main villain have a small back-and-forth about why they fight and their causes? Because that would have taken away from the action and American being all great and shit.

If you are thinking “Ooo, he sounds like a liberal bleeding heart terrorist lover!” Well, I’ll remind you that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, and here’s an example of that…

In the movie “Independence Day” from 1996, aliens attack Earth with superior weapons and force, obliterating cities and people, driving humans into the wild. The Americans use their inferior weapons to fight back, and fail. Then they use sneaky, under-handed tactics to attack the aliens and eventually win. So, to put it into context, the aliens are America, with their superior weaponry and technology. They wreck the homes of the people (insert whichever group of people America has invaded in recent decades here), who live among the wreckage (in the wild), before coming back with sneaky, under-handed tactics. In the movie, America is the freedom fighters, or as the aliens seem them, terrorists. In the real world, America is the alien invaders.

“London Has Fallen” had great action, and I like Gerard Butler (Gods of Egypt was cool!), but this movie sort of hints at the myopic mentality that many Americans have. That they are right and the rest of the world should learn they are right real fast, or else get bombed. Nothing that happens is in a vacuum. There is cause and effect. Even if your foe isn’t willing to acknowledge their errors, doesn’t mean you do the same. Understanding one’s mistakes makes us all better people, allows us to better understand ourselves, and also allows us to open our eyes to the consequences of our actions. Maybe then, we might understand our foes, and over time, settle our differences.

Hahaha, yeah, like that’s gonna happen! especially in a country that elects Donald Trump as President, and others continue to use the extremist version of their religion to justify killing of innocents.

But it’s an idea I got from that movie. So I guess something good came from it.



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