By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
“Angel has Fallen,”
stands tall as the third installment of the action-packed “Fallen” film series which includes “Olympus Has Fallen” (2013) and “London Has Fallen” (2016).
Gerard Butler stars once again as the fiercely loyal Secret Service agent Mike Banning and looks a bit worse for the wear this time around. No one can ever question Banning’s dedication to his job. He has an exemplary reputation for guarding President Allan Trumbull (an excellent Morgan Freeman, upcoming “The “Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard”).
But it may be time for him to slow down and spend more time with his lovely wife Leah (Piper Perabo, TV’s “Turn Up Charlie”) and his adorable baby girl. In the previous movies Radna Mitchell played Mrs. Banning.
So, when the president offers Banning the coveted job as director of the Secret Service, he’s honored, but not sure he’s up to the task. The poor guy hasn’t been sleeping well and takes pills around the clock for his bum shoulder and debilitating migraines.
He also has tinnitus. He tries to keep all this under wraps from Leah, but she has to know he’s a physical and emotional wreck, or as his doctor tells him, “a disaster waiting to happen.”
Still, just the thought of sitting at a desk pushing paper all day would probably kill Banning too. He’s just not cut out for that. Luckily, the president allows him time to mull over his offer.
When Banning is out with the president, during what is supposed to be a relaxing fishing trip, he’s quickly thrust right back into action. A group of drones reign down on the area and kill the 18 other agents on duty. They narrowly miss the commander in chief thanks to Banning’s quick thinking, but the president is rushed to the hospital and slips into a coma for a chunk of the movie.
The bigger question is why were all the other Secret Service agents killed and not Banning? Was he behind this well-orchestrated assassination attempt? And why would Banning suddenly go rouge?
There are a lot of questions. Yet the evidence--gathered by FBI Agent Helen Thompson ( an underused but still terrific Jada Pinkett Smith, “Girls Trip”) and Secret Service Director David Gentry (Lance Riddick, “John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum”)-- points to Banning being the prime suspect.
Banning swears he’s been framed. After being arrested, he escapes and is soon pursued by his own agency and the FBI. He’s determined to find out who set him up and why.
He can’t trust anyone now. Not his old military buddy Wade Jennings (Danny Huston, “Stan & Ollie” and TV’s “Yellowstone”) or even Vice President Kirby (Tim Blake Nelson, “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”).
However, Banning gets a major assist when he meets up with his long-lost father, Clay (a hilarious and scene-stealing Nick Nolte, “The Padre”).
Clay is a kooky, old goat and a government-hating, war veteran. He lives in a secluded, woodsy, West Virginia cabin. It’s wired with all sorts of explosive booby traps and state of the art surveillance. It all comes in quite handy too, when those gun-toting FBI agents try to storm the place. It’s as if Clay has been living for this very moment.
“Angel Has Fallen” director Ric Roman Waugh (“Snitch” and “Shot Caller”) knows his way around riveting action sequences having worked as a stuntman in the movies, “The Last of the Mohicans,” “Last Action Hero” and “Gone in 60 Seconds” among others.
He’s strung together some real doozies here. There’s a thrilling office building shootout and another has our man Mike causing all sorts of mayhem while driving a big rig as agents and other baddies close in on him.
Gerard Butler’s gritty, stoic, blue collar swagger is what makes these movies such an adrenaline rush. He’s convincing as the working guy who is just doing a job and wants to come home to his wife and kid.
Bringing Nolte on as his grouchy dad is a nice addition to the series and if you stick around for the end credits, you’ll be further rewarded with a hilarious bit with them.
“Angel Has Fallen” may be a late summer arrival, but it sure rises to the occasion as a fun-filled, popcorn pleasing movie.
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Watch This Trailer For "ANGEL HAS FALLEN"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of The Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), The Black Film Critics Circle (BFCC), The Alliance Of Women Film Journalists (AWFJ) and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.