Angel Has Fallen


            Yes, it's the third in the series, all starring Gerard Butler as the action hero named Mike Banning.  Here, he's the Secret Service agent to the President (played by Morgan Freeman), and the two of them are enjoying some quiet time fishing on a little boat in a small lake, with the rest of the Secret Service detail deployed along the shore.  The President says he enjoys getting away from Washington for a while.  But soon the bucolic scene explodes into chaos, as a couple of truckloads of drones are launched, which have the capability to target everyone---that is, except agent Banning.  He alone survives intact, though the President is in a coma.

            Now Banning is suspected of masterminding the plot, especially after the FBI discovers hidden money in an offshore account.  It turns out our hero has been hiding a secret, but it's not the money, it's the fact that he's been suffering migraine headaches due to previous concussion trauma (a weak wave to the predecessor films).  When Banning manages to escape custody with the help of well-trained operatives, the FBI thinks that confirms his treachery.  But at least Banning now knows who's behind this, and why.  It's an old Army buddy who now heads up a big military contractor enterprise.  But like all mercenaries, they tend to wilt when there's no war.  So they've decided to take matters into their own hands, and start one.  And they've found someone on the inside of the White House to partner with them.  (Not to give anything away, but who stands to gain the most from the sudden demise of a President?)  And of course the Russians are blamed.

            Yes, it's pretty much non-stop action.  We have car chases, truck chases, gunfights, explosions, even knife fights.  And when we take a breather to re-load, we entertain some unexpected family dynamics:  a once-absent father (Nick Nolte), who's got some experience living “off the grid,” which our beleaguered hero could use. 

            They try to insert a little macho humor, but basically, it's a shoot-'em-up.  The genteel viewers who don't wish to see violence shouldn't go.  But for the action hero afficianados, this one is predictably formulaic, but somehow satisfying.  Morgan Freeman for President.


Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, DFW Film Critics Association