“Angel Has Fallen” is the kind of movie that doesn’t stir breathless anticipation, but rather, this reaction: “Fine. Why not? Nothing else is going on.”
It’s surprising that “Olympus Has Fallen” has two sequels, much less one. When the original movie was released, it was in sort of a battle with “White House Down” to be that year’s best thriller about terrorists overrunning America’s top address. The reason “Olympus” worked wasn’t just Gerard Butler as a Secret Service veteran, but his teamwork with Aaron Eckhart as the president he had to protect.
“London Has Fallen” largely repeated the same plot overseas, and now in “Angel Has Fallen,” it’s the Butler character who’s the suspected terrorist. He’s alleged to have launched a drone attack on the chief executive – now played by Morgan Freeman, who’s gotten government job promotions from movie to movie in this franchise. (Well, sure. He’s Morgan Freeman. And if you dare to send drones after him, you get what you get.)
You just know Butler is going to go after the real perps, so “Angel Has Fallen” largely is an exercise in watching him escape custody, then go on the lam while evading every branch of the law. Butler actually makes an appealing hero once again, but if he’s going to make a sequel, I’d rather see him do one to “P.S. I Love You.” (Yes, that would mean more flashbacks, but let’s not get too technical here.)
The plot of “Angel Has Fallen” saves his alter ego from taking a desk job leading the Secret Service, since before he can give his answer about that job, the attack happens and he’s trying to get away from the very agents he would be commanding. It’s a good bet that’s not the training exercise he was looking for, nor is the accusation of Russian collusion he faces from those all too eager to pin the threat against the President on someone.
Other than the fact that you know what will happen in it long before it does, there is nothing inherently wrong with “Angel Has Fallen.” It has all the requisite action and then some, and there’s a solid supporting cast that includes Nick Nolte (supplying some amusement as Butler’s resourceful father), Jada Pinkett Smith, Piper Perabo, Tim Blake Nelson and Danny Huston.
It’s just that the result is so totally by-the-numbers, you sort of hope this is the last time Butler will have “Fallen,” so that you don’t have to ask the only likely question about another sequel: “Why?”