Reel Shorts | Angel Has Fallen

by Monica Hayes

Ric Roman Waugh directs Angel Has Fallen in the third installment in the Fallen franchise. Unfortunately, it disappoints and fails to live up to its predecessors.

After years of kicking ass and taking his equal share Secret Service agent, Mike Banning (Gerard Butler), is now facing a new threat – his aging body. Mike refuses to give up the job he loves even though he is plagued by constant migraines and insomnia. Trying to stay on his A-game, he contacts an old Army buddy and ex-private mercenary for hire, Wade Jennings (Danny Huston) who just happens to own a training facility. It’s more like an abandoned city that he turned into a top-notch facility where private security companies can hone their skills. Jennings tells Mike that he knows he is up for the new director of Secret Service and that he would love to get back in the private security business again and would love Mike’s help. When Mike tells him he’s not interested in the job, but will put in a good word, Jennings seems a little put off. 

Meanwhile, in Washington, DC, President Trumbull (Morgan Freeman) is fielding questions from the Whitehouse press corps.  When he is asked about the possibility of introducing private security companies to help with the overstretched military, he abruptly ends the press conference. Back in the oval office, he furiously stated that only the ones in that room knew about this subject, one of them leaked it to the press and asked who it was. Of course, no one stood up.

Later, on a much-needed fishing trip, Trumbull, Banning and the rest of the protection detail are attacked by drones. Everyone on the protection team is killed except for Banning and President Trumbull who are airlifted to the hospital.  As it turns out, Trumbull is in a coma and when Mike wakes up, he finds out he has been framed and is now the prime suspect in the attempted assassination of the president and murder of his colleagues. While being transported by the FBI, the caravan is hit by a black-ops team and Mike escapes.  Now hunted by the FBI and his own agency, Mike must race to clear his name.

Angel is far from an original movie.  It is a hodgepodge of movies like Double Jeopardy, US Marshalls and Die Hard rolled into one big mess. The one movie that it really reflects is The Fugitive – just the updated regurgitated version.  The screenwriters had no creative juices flowing while writing this movie. It’s like one big copy and paste. Everything about Angel screams Fugitive – the story, the characters, and the action. Pay attention and you will guess who did what, who betrayed whom and why. Oh and to give it that 2019 feel, they threw in some current political hot topics. Wow!

The acting was just ok. Butler performs Mike Banning just as good as he has in the previous installments. He is the blunt object sworn to protect the president at all costs. Freeman is back again as President Trumbull and true to form, he does a good job, but I have one burning question. What was up with his teeth? Did the prop folks give him a full set of dentures for the roll or are those his? They were very distracting. Jada Pinkett Smith plays the hard-nosed Agent Thompson of the FBI who is tasked with hunting down Banning and returning him to custody. At times, it seemed as if she were trying too hard to convince the audience that Thompson was not here for the games. Although she brings her own twist to the character, all you see is Tommy Lee Jones. The standout role goes to Nick Nolte who plays Clay Banning, Mike’s estranged father. Nolte’s scraggly appearance, raspy voice, and crazed conspiracy theory thinking brought some much-needed comedy and snapped the audience out of their deer in headlights stupor. 

Overall, even with Nolte’s comedic character, all the gunplay, the action sequences and things blowing up left and right, Angel Has Fallen is an unimaginative snooze fest that falls flat on its face. 

Grade C-