Even by the dumbed-down standards of this bombastic franchise, “Angel Has Fallen” is particularly loud and stupid, an action movie that wants to have its Deep State and eat it, too.
Once again, our hero is Mike Banning (Gerard Butler), the U.S. Secret Service agent who saved the world from terrorists at the White House (“Olympus Has Fallen”) and the UK (“London Has Fallen”). Now he’s on the detail protecting President Allan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman — and I had forgotten he rose from Speaker of the House to Vice President in the first two films).
Mike is hiding, both from his wife Leah (Piper Perabo, replacing Radha Mitchell) and the President, that he’s lost some of his edge, and is taking painkillers to deal with migraines caused by concussions — presumably from getting pummeled so thoroughly in the past films. Even so, he’s not sure he wants, as everyone talks about, to replace the Secret Service director, David Gentry (Lance Reddick), who’s about to retire.
Most of this plot exposition comes out when Mike has his old Army buddy, Wade Jennings (Danny Huston), over for beers. Jennings now runs a private military firm, and asks Mike to put in a good word with his bosses — even though Jennings’ Blackwater-like operation is the kind of outfit Trumbull has vowed to root out of his Pentagon strategy.
Mike is with Trumbull, fishing on a lake in Pennsylvania, when a high-tech drone attack dive-bombs the entire Secret Service detail. Trumbull survives, though he’s in a coma, which means Vice President Kirby (Tim Blake Nelson) is temporarily in charge.
Mike also survives, and is suspected of masterminding the attack thanks to some carefully planted evidence. The FBI agent in charge of the investigation, Helen Thompson (Jada Pinkett Smith), ships Mike off to a penitentiary, but the same bad guys return to spring him, leading to repetitious chase scenes that are weak re-enactments of “The Fugitive.”
Director Ric Roman Waugh (“Snitch”), a former stuntman who shares screenplay credit with Robert Mark Kamen and Matt Cook, throws tons of ammunition and not much sense into the mix here. He also oversees a thriller with no thrills, as the main “twists” of who’s behind the attempt on Trumbull’s life are obvious and telegraphed well in advance.
Butler mopes through his action sequences, which are meaty but boring. The only person on screen who seems to be having any fun is Nick Nolte, who pops up as Mike’s estranged off-the-grid father and adds enough puckish energy to make his scenes watchable.
‘Angel Has Fallen’
Opens Friday, August 23, in theaters everywhere. Rated R for violence and language throughout. Running time: 120 minutes.