A right old two and eight…
We suspect London’s history of terrorist outrages barely registered in the minds of the brains behind this Olympus Has Fallen sequel as they cast their eyes around the globe for another scenic victim of indiscriminate carnage. Tastelessness, however, is the least of LHF’s failings as it strives to squeeze more box-office coin out of its 2013 predecessor’s surprise success.
Neither, it transpires, is the wholesale, almost wilful preposterousness that attends director Babak Najafi’s go-again, which sees Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) – the widowed president who survived a North Korea-backed attack on the White House in Antoine Fuqua’s 2013 original – and his equally indestructible, soon-to-be-a-father bodyguard Mike Banning (a sweary Gerard Butler) take Air Force One to Blighty for a prime ministerial funeral.
Too late do they realise that the PM has been clandestinely offed by a vengeful Pakistani arms dealer with precisely this in mind: to bring the free world’s leaders together in one spot so they can be picked off in one fell swoop by the militants he has miraculously inserted into England’s porous security services.
Though there’s something grimly appalling at watching barely masked clones of Merkel, Sarkozy and Berlusconi getting shot, drowned and detonated in a blizzard of ill-rendered CGI, it rapidly becomes apparent that this hilariously OTT bloodbath is as entertaining as LHF is going to get. You soon start to wish the movie’s four scripters had paid half as much attention to keeping Asher alive as they do to massacring his G7 compadres, so bland and formulaic are the subsequent shenanigans.
Eckhart, needless to say, thwarts his particular assassination attempt, propelling him and Butler on a bromantic quest through a dimly lit, bizarrely under-populated metropolis to elude their persecutor’s army of goons while Morgan Freeman’s Veep looks impotently on from Washington. And it is here that LHF’s greatest weakness hoves into view. Crass we can take; silly we can handle. But boring? You’re having a laugh, mate.