By Michael Dellapi, a Highlighter staff columnist
Considering this is the last Silver Linings piece before spring break, I decided to do something that I have never done before and that I should never do again. I’m going to review a movie to the best of my ability from only seeing the trailer. In this instance, I will be looking at “London Has Fallen,” primarily because I have seen the previous iteration “Olympus Has Fallen” and I am assuming that the production team has learned from their previous mistakes. For those unfamiliar with “Olympus Has Fallen,” it revolves around a “Die Hard”-esque narrative where a lone security guard must protect Washington D.C. from an internal invasion. North Korean infantry has invaded the White House, ultimately bringing the capitol to its knees. Through a series of gratuitous spectacles and absurd oneliners, the film exhibits the American population’s unshakable resolve and patriotism. At least, that was the intention. For the majority of the movie the audience is watching the nation’s capital get crippled by an unrealistic international threat in almost fetish-like fashion, to the delight of conspiracy theorists and xenophobes everywhere. An old dog doesn’t learn new tricks, and with this philosophy in mind I refuse to believe that “London Has Fallen” strays too far from its predecessors formula. However, at the same time, every film deserves the benefit of the doubt, so with that in mind: on with the review.
“London Has Fallen,” in true sequel fashion, feels simultaneously old and new. In many ways it has learned from and evolved from the original film to provide a modern yet tasteful interpretation of international affairs. In the opposing manner, buildings fall apart like they were made with silly putty and tissue paper. I found it notably strange, for example, how terrorist revolutionaries placed bombs underneath the London Eye, sending the amusement ride into a bizarre tirade down the streets of the city demolishing everything in its path. Equally unnerving was when the Buckingham Palace guards were revealed to be undercover operatives working for the enemy. The audience and myself included were shocked to see these normally complacent offices of the law remove their hats to reveal heavy firearms before charging into the government building itself. At times, these instances of violence and chaos seemed unbelievably over the top to the point of distastefulness. I was happy to find that as the film went on, the team behind “London Has Fallen” gradually found their mark.
After it is disclosed that the Queen’s crown does in fact contain nuclear launch codes that could change the very face of global warfare, the United States and British military must join forces to confront a much larger threat. I thought it was notably poignant how the film called upon the Revolutionary War conflict by showcasing American soldiers in formal historically accurate red suits. When Gerard Butler coyly announced “The Boston Tea Party just ended,” I’ll admit I let out a guffaw or two in the middle of the movie theater. Seeing the President of the United States fight side by side with the Queen of England, guns ablaze, was nothing short of a cinematic extravaganza. All in all, “London Has Fallen” was a surprisingly enlightening piece highlighting how our nation has room to grow in terms of approaching international conflicts. The way that it satirizes Hollywood’s tendency to cherry-pick threats of the month in order to trigger a superficial, almost Manchurian-candidate-style response from overly patriotic audiences is unbelievably profound. I look forward to seeing how the upcoming film “Sydney, Australia Has Fallen” shakes up the formula next.