Last July I reviewed ‘Olympus Has Fallen,’ which was released in 2013, in anticipation of the sequel that has just been released. Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt who penned ‘Olympus,’ wrote this sequel with a new director, Babak Najafi. His previous directing credits are mostly short films. Together, they seemed to fail to deliver a tense action-drama from three years ago. Don’t get me wrong. The film did have some tense moments and it did deliver explosions, gunfire, and car chases, but did not seem to be any different than previously seen in most any other film in the genre.
The film sets up the players and introduces the antagonist Aamir Barkawi (Alon Aboutboul), an arms dealer who is a very bad man. Well, what arms dealer is a good man? Tragedy strikes Barkawi and his family and he then blames the United States, primarily President Benjamin Asher, portrayed once again by Aaron Eckhart. After the tragedy, it flashes forward two years later where we see Asher jogging with Secret Service Agent Mike Banning. Gerard Butler reprises his role as ex-special forces turned Secret Service Agent. There’s the usual banter between the two and they have picked up nicely from the events of ‘Olympus.’ Banning and his wife Leah (Radha Mitchell) are expecting a child. We also learn that Banning is considering his resignation.
An international incident (the death of London’s Prime Minister) then propels the story forward, which prompts the gathering of world leaders and the U. S. President to London for the funeral. The President and his staff have days to plan the trip to London, unknown to them the Prime Minister’s death was just a ploy to gather the world leaders. The day arrives and the leaders gather in London making. Moments later, the attacks begin. As the story unfolds, plot points are revealed and the audience learns of the plot as information is revealed to the U. S. and London officials. Morgan Freeman returns and now is Vice President, Secret Service Director Lynn Jacobs (Angela Bassett) returns, Robert Forster reprises his role as Gen. Edward Clegg, and returning Defense Secretary Ruth McMillan (Melissa Leo) rounds out the key players for the United States. However, they all seem to take a back seat to the action as Banning and Asher are at the forefront this time around. Charlotte Riley is introduced as MI-6 Operative Jacqueline Marshall, who helps Banning and works with the rest of MI-6 and others to uncover the threats from Barkawi.
Butler portrays his character with the same intensity as before. But it didn’t work as well this time around because, as stated, the driving action was similar to other films in the genre. Eckhart’s President Asher did get a little more action in this film as he was running and firing guns as opposed to just being tied up and pushed around, and was believable but just not anything special. The rest of the supporting cast, from the United States personnel or the London operatives were decent in their respective roles. Aboutboul was not real convincing as the antagonist Barkawi. The fault there, I think, was that it didn’t feel like the character was written with enough dimension. Even his son, Kamran Barkawi (Waleed Zuaiter) appeared as a carbon copy of most other terrorists in action films such as this one.
From the onset, one can see the opening attack was a well-coordinated attack. As with ‘Olympus,’ there might have been a couple of things that might make you scratch your head. For example, knowing where the world leaders would be at the exact moment of the planned attack might have been questionable. But again, like its predecessor, it follows the idea that this was a well-planned attack. But if it took Barkawi two years to plan this attack, he must not be as good as an antagonist. This film, while it had its moments, seemed to have missed the mark on creating a worthy sequel.