“Angel Has Fallen” Blows Up Action Movie Stereotypes

I’m not a fan of action movies.

Why? you ask. I feel they lack depth. Of course, I don’t always go to the movie looking for intellectual stimulation. But, I at least expect to walk out from the theater with something else on my mind instead of “boom, boom, pow.”

Action movies tend to be a whole lot of “boom, boom, pow” and not a lot of storyline and character development – two traits of what makes for a good movie.

I am sure there are plenty of exceptions to this. I even found one.

I recently saw a preview of Gerard Butler’s new flick “Angel Has Fallen,” and it certainly dispelled some of my preconceived notions of action films.

Along with killer fight scenes and take-your-breath-away explosions, this movie had depth.

Me and my sister (right)

I took my sister, Darshana, to see the preview with me because she loves action movies (or at least tolerates them for her husband’s sake) and like every woman in the World, she’s a fan of Gerard Butler.

She isn’t a journalist or critic. She works in finance. But, she always has great insight into the movies and events we attend. So, of course, I thought it would be fun to mix things up and ask her to pen a couple of thoughts about the movie.

She said, “Angel Has Fallen” was a refreshing surprise that “broke away from the stereotypical action movie mold in more ways than one.”

Might we say it blew up action movie stereotypes?

My sister said there were three reasons why this movie stood out from the pack. The first was the cinematography, which she called spectacular.

“Each frame is exquisitely edited, I felt as if I was side by side with Gerard Butler (we wish!) as he ran through the woods and could almost feel the breeze on my face,” she said. “I found myself gasping along with the crowd as each scene unfolded.”

The second reason she felt the movie stood out was that it had a layered storyline.

I guess this would be a good time to tell you the storyline.

“Angel Has Fallen” is the sequel to “Olympus Has Fallen” and “London Has Fallen”  – we had seen neither before – and follows secret service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) who apparently risks his life beyond suspicion in all of these movies.

In Olympus, he takes down an army of terrorists holding the president hostage in the White House.

In London, he escorts the commander in chief through the British capital during an attack that kills several world leaders.

In his last rescue, Banning is a little older, a little more broke down, and his body and mind show it. He is in a lot of pain, hooked on pain pills, and seems to space out often – yet no one really notices and the president (Morgan Freeman) offers to promote him to the director while on a fishing excursion.

Then, drones come flying out of the sky, it’s explosions and dead bodies everywhere, and this assassination attempt on the president is out of control crazy and loud on so many different levels of reality.

I know this is sounding like a very cliche “action film,” please wait.

At the end of this opening”esque” scene, the entire security detail is ripped to shreds, and the only survivors are Banning and the president. The F.B.I. thinks Banning masterminded the assassination attempt because he was dumb enough to leave a trail of breadcrumbs that included hair at the scene of the drone launcher and a $10 million payout.

So, Banning is arrested, whoever set him up kidnaps him from custody, super fighter Banning breaks free and goes on the run to defend his honor and figure out who set him up and is trying to kill the president.

This is where the storyline takes shape.

While looking for a place to hide out, Banning decides to drop in at his father’s (the fantastic Nick Nolte) who is a mountain man hermit.

Papa Banning was the whipped cream and cherry of this movie. He is the third reason the movie was great.

His character, who walked out on Banning and his mother because he was battling internal demons after fighting in the Viet Nam War, was beautiful.

Not only was Nolte brilliant in his character’s sadness, but he was stellar in the funnier parts, as well.

My sister put it like this, “Nolte’s comedic timing at the most inopportune times had the entire theater roaring with laughter.”

“His character was richly formed and thought out, adding depth and a breath of fresh air to the action. The layered plot allowed these characters to tell their stories in a meaningful way throughout the movie, which is a rarity.”

Nolte might be why I loved this movie.

Besides the fact that he reminded me of my dad, he was just delightful.

Honestly, I would have watched the movie had it just been about him and his son. I really didn’t need the whole “save the president” drama.

The five minutes he and his son spend wreaking havoc on the bad guys in the woods was the best part of the movie, and their goodbye left a little tear rolling down my cheek.

But, this movie did enough to encourage me to spend my weekend watching the other flicks in the series – fingers crossed they too are good.

You, on the other hand, can spend your weekend at the movie theater watching “Angel Has Fallen.”

Bianca R. Montes

Bianca Montes is an award-winning journalist and former Managing Editor of Park Cities People. She currently serves as a Senior Editor with D Magazine's D CEO publication. You can reach her by email at Bianca.Montes@Dmagazine or follow her on Instagram @Bianca_TBD. For the latest news, click here to sign up for our newsletter.

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