5.5/10 The first two movies in this “Has Fallen” franchise were pretty terrible. I wasn’t reviewing films officially when the first came out but I gave the last one, “London Has Fallen” a 3/10. After being burned twice, I had low expectations for this third movie but I can surprisingly say that despite being pretty mediocre, it is a lot better than the last two movies and a positive step forward in the right direction for this franchise. This film reduces the scope that the first two movies had and makes it a much more personal story as Gerard Butler’s leading character struggles with the physical and mental ailments that come with a long career of working for the Secret Service and getting beaten half to death every time we see him. We also get a strong focus on his family life, which worked in this movie. The film makers took a more mature approach to this movie instead of just trying to up the action, scope and violence. The action that is there is fun to watch even though it is nothing super inventive and becomes a little over the top by the movie’s end. It was nice that they brought Morgan Freeman back as the President but his screen time in this movie is severely limited. As much as the emotional journey and family dynamics of the movie work, the “innocent man on the run trying to prove his innocence” part of the plot has been done tons of time in films and to better results in many cases (i.e.- “The Fugitive”). There are also some predictable moments and seemingly intelligent characters make some really stupid decisions (the main villain sticking around to fight instead of fleeing the country once he is discovered is baffling), which bring down the overall quality of the movie. The score is decent but forgettable and the cinematography and direction are both subpar. Nick Nolte (raspy voice included) is a welcome addition to make up for the mostly absent Morgan Freeman, although Tim Blake Nelson is wasted with a forgettable character. I really enjoyed that this movie had the guts to kill off some of the main characters, which is rare for safer action movies like this. Despite some coincidences, ex machinas, underdeveloped supporting characters and some bland aspects, the personal struggles and family issues for our lead character and some entertaining action in addition to a great opening, may not necessarily make this angel take flight, but it definitely has not fallen below the first two movies. Check it out as a rental with your expectations in check.
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