Angel Has Fallen: A mildly engaging actioner

‘Angel Has Fallen’ starring Gerard Butler, Nick Nolte, Morgan Freeman Directed by Ric Roman Waugh is a predictable whodunit, despite a good star cast, the thriller fails to keep audiences engaged

Photo courtesy: Social media
Photo courtesy: Social media

Subhash K Jha

The ‘Fallen’ series features two fallen stars  in its third  instalment.  Morgan Freeman who once drove Miss Daisy, has been driving the supporters of MeToo up the wall. He manages to sneak back into this nominally interesting actioner, and then spends all his time inert on a hospital bed. Is this the ‘coma’ before the full stop?

Freeman plays  the President of  the United States. He is as black as Obama and replaces the White President from the first two films of the ‘Fallen’ franchise. But this  film is not about him. It’s about Mike Banning , the US Prez’s  security chief played by Gerard Butler who has been out of luck since his fleeting fling with Priyanka Chopra a decade ago.I am not saying the two occurrences (the fling and the failure) are related.  Just  saying…

Butler is impressively tormented, tight-jawed and furious in a role that’s meant to  shine his frayed valour on a violent landscape where guns and  brave men roam helterksleter hoping the camera captures their derrindo in proportionate measures. The director does have an eye for streamlined stunt sequences.

I have to admit the action sequences here, specially the one where the President is ambushed  in the ocean by drones, are first-rate. So please ignore all those green-screen jokes that have appeared even before the film’s release. However, not all the  well-planned action is executed with similar rectitude.

In one  lengthy road chase, Butler drives fast in an unwieldy fan in pitch darkness  as he is pursued by sundry enemies, some  of them belonging to the American government. Here the lack of light and profusion of chaotic drama completely ruins the intended  vigour of the road violence.

The main problem here is that the suspense regarding who the bad guys are, can be smelt out from miles away. The identity of the two main villains is revealed without any sense of flourish or triumph. I think the screenwriters knew they were negotiating on thin ice.

Just  skidding!

While some of the performances are borderline preposterous(Jada Pinkett Smith, who’s Mrs Will Smith in real life, is ridiculously unconvincing as the FBI chief) Butler succeeds in making Banning a creature on the prowl to his last breath. His scenes with his wife (Piper Perabo) and littly baby are heart-meltingly tangible.. And Butler’s  lengthy reconciliation with his hermetic wizened  but undefeated dad (Nick Nolte) suffers from excessive playing-time. Sure, we understand Dad lives in isolation in  the forest. Now could we get along with the plot, please?

Given the ‘Fallen’ series’ penchant for overdrive, Angel Has Fallen does well for itself,  treading the safe  ground and  still whipping  up quite a lot of heat and dust in a tale as predictable as a whodunit where you know Butler not dunnit.

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