London Has Fallen

Director: Babak Najafi (2016)

Take cover as this big, dumb action sequel drops into cinema with the subtle grace of a lead balloon.

Gerard Butler is in age denial mode as Secret Service agent Mike Banning, the kick ass star of Olympus Has Fallen (2013). He knows no fear, mercy or decent banter.

It’s a noisy barrage of gun battles and explosions with torture to break the tedium. Cars collide, helicopters crash and the touristy bit of the capital are trashed.

Impressive physical stunts are undermined by some poor CGI, ridiculous dialogue and unintentionally funny moments.

Following the sudden death of British PM, Banning must leave his pregnant wife behind and postpone his resignation plan to accompany the US President to the state funeral in London.

As global leaders gather to pay their last respects and with the streets of London protected by fighter jets, horses, dogs, armed police and snipers, an army of terrorists launch an attack on the steps of St Paul’s cathedral.

With London transport on lockdown and the emergency services incapacitated through terrorist infiltration, it’s up to Banning to drag the President to safety.

Aaron Eckhart sighs, frowns and worries about being tortured on Youtube. This demonstrates his scant faith in Banning’s abilities to save him.

Back in the US, Morgan Freeman’s Vice President chuckles his way through the crisis and talks about his fishing.

Boro girl Charlotte Riley keeps her native accent as an MI6 agent. Her forthright intensity   is in contrast to the joshing efforts of  to shame.

Moments of social realism break out during lulls in the mayhem. The British cabinet is portrayed as posh, smug and stupid and the Italian PM is seen having a tryst with a woman half his age.

No one should expect political discourse from this determinedly violent and witless entertainment which assumes flag waving and drone strikes are the price of a free West.

Banning’s impassioned invocation of a 1,000 year rule is delivered without thought to historical precedent.

The leaden script pays lip service to the qualities of the British, despite London being taken down in a matter of minutes and Banning elbowing aside an SAS squad to do their job for them.

It also makes laughably sure the audience is painfully up to speed with the thin story.

Air raid sirens warn the population to stay at home. You can’t say you haven’t been warned.