Angel Has Fallen is utterly predictable and nonsensical, but loaded with explosive action scenes. The third installment in the Fallen franchise overcomes a weak plot with late summer heroics. Gerard Butler shoots, stabs, and pummels his way out of an obvious betrayal. The heavyweight supporting cast of Morgan Freeman and Nick Nolte provides gravitas and humor when needed. Angel Has Fallen won't win any screenplay awards, but certainly delivers the action goods.
Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) has begun to show signs of wear and tear. He's popping pills for chronic pain, suffering from insomnia, and near crippling migraines. He hides his condition from his loving wife (Piper Perabo) and daughter. President Trumbull (Morgan Freeman) wants his trusted bodyguard to be the next director of the agency. Banning's best friend (Danny Huston) is proud of his promotion, and asks him to put in a good word for his contracting business.
The government is thrown into chaos by a sophisticated assassination attempt on the president. Mike Banning wakes up from the attack shackled to his gurney. The president is in a coma. He's been framed for the crime. As dark forces conspire against him, Banning must escape to clear his name. It's a difficult task. The former hero is public enemy number one with a determined FBI agent (Jada Pinkett Smith) hunting him. Banning is forced to seek help from an unusual recluse (Nick Nolte) with a deeply personal connection.
Angel Has Fallen has a veteran cast and is ably directed by Ric Roman Waugh (Felon, Snitch). The faults lie in the foolish script. How can a character who's risked his life and saved the president twice before, become the fall guy so easily? None of the other government characters give Banning a second thought when he claims to be set up. The premise is B-movie absurd. The inanity continues with bad guys who can easily target the president, but can't seem to pull it together to kill Banning. Angel Has Fallen would have been vastly superior if more thought was spent developing the script.
The action scenes are well crafted with a serviceable amount of humor. Gerard Butler plows his way through baddies, but isn't an invulnerable machine. Banning takes his lumps and needs a little help clearing his name. The scenes with Nick Nolte will elicit a few chuckles. He adds an incendiary touch to differentiate the carnage. Morgan Freeman spends most of the film in a coma, but adds a stalwart presence in limited screen time. The primary leads elevate Angel Has Fallen's weak narrative. Piper Perabo replaces Radha Mitchell as Banning's wife, but is relegated to the weeping damsel in distress.
Angel Has Fallen works as a brutal actioner, but leaves a lot to be desired. The previous "Fallen" films weren't as vanilla in their storylines. A few plot tweaks here could have made a difference. I'm giving a soft recommendation on pure entertainment value. Angel Has Fallen is produced by G-Base and Millennium Media with distribution by Lionsgate.