Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman back together for ‘Angel Has Fallen’

He had been down a few times, but nothing could ever take him out.  That’s Gerard Butler as Secret Service Agent Mike Banning in the global box office hits “Olympus Has Fallen” (2013) and “London Has Fallen” (2016).  

This year, this agent who is referred to as “the President’s top guardian angel”  is going to get beat up yet again, the question is, how will Butler’s Banning rise from this fall?  

Angel Has Fallen is the third entry to the “Fallen” franchise. Mike Banning is selected by U.S. President Allan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman) to be the director of the Secret Service.  But before he could assume his new appointment, Banning finds himself in a crucial position to protect the president as they are attacked by explosive drones.  

The next thing he knows, he is already in the hospital, handcuffed and being charged with the attempted murder of President Trumbull. FBI Agent Thompson (Jada Pinkett-Smith) is convinced of Banning’s culpability because he is the only one in his team who survives the tragedy.  

Hellbent on proving his innocence and bringing the real culprit to justice, Banning escapes capture.  As the FBI and his own agency are hot on his trail, Banning tracks down his father (Nick Nolte) to get his help.  

Just like in all his previous battles, he must keep his family from harm, keep the president alive, and save the country from imminent danger.  The big difference is, he is also fighting for his life.  

Directed by Ric Roman Waugh (Snitch, Shot Caller), “Angel Has Fallen” offers non-stop action while taking the audience to what Butler describes as a “much deeper, darker journey”  of Mike Banning.  Reports have it that two other scripts had been scrapped in favor of this story, which is said to have been inspired by The Fugitive, The Bourne Identity, and Taken.  

Butler said in an interview back in 2017, *I couldn’t even see a way to make a third (Fallen film), you know we’d joke about it ‘What, Tokyo? Hong Kong? What is it going to be!?’ …Until this idea came along and until Ric came along – now I’ve gone from not knowing what to do with it, to thinking this is going to be the best one.”

In the same interview, Butler shared that Waugh told him that he wanted to make a movie with him “that’ll be remembered for three generations”.  In response to that, Butler said, “Well what about Has Fallen 3?”, and Waugh said, “That’s not what I was thinking!”  Butler said to the reluctant director, ‘Read this script, it’s kind of like The Fugitive, take it and let’s put your spin on it’.  

Fast forward to May 2019, Waugh posted the trailer of “Angel Has Fallen” on Twitter and wrote, “For years @GerardButler and I have been wanting to collaborate. Damn glad it was this one. It was definitely worth the wait!”  

“Angel Has Fallen” is now showing in Philippine cinemas nationwide. From Viva International Pictures and MVP Entertainment.

‘Going in Style’ joins legends Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Alan Arkin for the first time

A fun and fast-paced comedy with both heart and bite, New Line Cinema’s Going in Style showcases the remarkable star power of film legends Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Alan Arkin, together on screen for the first time.

In the film, there’s only so much a guy can take, before he has to do something about it. Sometimes in a way no one ever sees coming. Take Willie (Freeman), Joe (Caine), and Al (Arkin). These big-hearted, upstanding Brooklynites with a friendship forged on the assembly line at Semtech Steel never saw themselves as the kind of men who would dare to rob a bank. Of course, they never thought their bank would rob them.

Now they’re mad as hell. Screwed over by the pension and mortgage systems and convinced they have nothing left to lose, these late-blooming, would-be criminal masterminds throw in together for a one-time plunge into a risky, unfamiliar—and oddly invigorating—world of split-second timing, disguises and getaway cars. Syncing their alibis, they prep to pull the perfect heist and take back what’s theirs if it’s the last thing they do. No more, no less.

They’re pushing their luck. They’re pushing the limit. They’re also pushing 80…but that doesn’t matter, because standing up for yourself never gets old.

Played largely for laughs, Going in Style also strikes a note of genuine outrage over the machinations of big business, which might ring true for a wide audience—many of whom, like Joe, Willie and Al, have felt the pinch of disappearing benefits and bait-and-switch loans, and fallen into the breach between what they were promised and what they got.

“You can imagine,” says Arkin, “if someone worked their whole life and counted on the company they worked for to honor that commitment, and it doesn’t, that even someone who’d never had a criminal thought in their lives would become enraged. I can completely understand why these three guys go ballistic and do what they do.”

In that respect, notes producer Donald De Line, “The system often doesn’t work, whether it’s pensions or insurance or the banks. My father was with a company for years and retired with a pension that was suddenly reduced by half when that company was taken over. These things happen all the time.”

For all its bounce and banter, when it comes to real issues the story doesn’t pull its punches. “We have some very funny stuff happening,” says director Zach Braff, “but the reality of their situation and its stakes are played straight and honestly, and I don’t think you can help being moved by the prospect of these three men suddenly struggling for a way to survive.”

The audacious plan they concoct may be the ultimate wish fulfillment for audiences, offering none of the risks, and a lot of vicarious rewards. Says De Line, “It’s immensely satisfying because you’re rooting for them to succeed, and you can see the energy and vitality it gives them. It’s the most exciting thing they’ve done in years….maybe ever.”

“I think audiences respond to people getting even,” offers screenwriter Theodore Melfi. “We had to approach it in a comedic way because what they’re doing is a crime, but what’s been done to them is also a crime. I have a big thing about justice and about people getting their due. For me, these guys are clearly in the right. They’ve worked 40 years and their pension is stripped from them. And what happens to Joe with his mortgage is a perfect example of the salesmanship of a bank officer to profit the bank, without regard to its customers.”

“I think this story captures the zeitgeist,” Braff suggests. “It definitely touches on the way corporations can screw the little guy. But first and foremost it’s a comedy about three men taking back their power: guys who’ve never committed a crime in their lives, who’ve never done anything this crazy and dangerous, but who find their backs against the wall and decide that if they’re going to do something about it, they’re going to go very, very big.”

Opening across the Philippines on April 6, 2017, Going in Style is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

MOVIE REVIEW: London Has Fallen (2016)

“LONDON HAS FALLEN” REVIEW
DIRECTED BY BABAK NAJAFI
STORY BY CREIGHTON ROTHENBERGER AND KATRIN BENEDIKT

“Prepare for Bloody Hell.” Not exactly original. Or witty. But the imagery and the line would already give you an idea what to expect, more so if you were able to watch the first film.

London has Fallen is the sequel to Olympus has Fallen, which was shown three years ago. In the first film, Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) a disgraced Secret Service agent, single-handedly (unbelievably and against all odds) saves the life of the President of the United States Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) after the latter gets taken hostage by a North Korean guerrilla led by wanted terrorist Kang Yeonsak (Rick Yune). If you think that was enough, they used the same formula on the sequel and made it bigger, badder, and a whole lot messier.

The story begins with news reports about terror attacks instigated by Pakistani arms dealer Aamir Barkawi (Alon Aboutboul) in key cities around the globe to increase the demand and fuel the sales of his weapons merchandise. Highlight on this are the SAF 44 reports and the gloomy mention of the Philippines as a terrorized country. While attending his daughter’s wedding, the intimate event gets bombed by a U.S. drone, with him as the target. His daughter and other innocent people die in the bombing, and thus foreshadowed the obvious outcome of what happened.

A few years after the incident, it’s shown that Mike has been reinstated to lead agent status with the U.S. Secret Service. He has a pregnant wife and a happy life. His near-perfect life gets interrupted once more when the British Prime Minister has died under dodgy circumstances with the funeral requiring the attendance of the world’s most powerful leaders. Mike and the Director of Secret Service Lynne Jacobs (Angela Bassett) are both wary of Benjamin’s decision to attend the funeral due to lack of proper preparation (since a gathering as big as this one is considered a logistical nightmare and every world leader has his or her own security personnel). However, Asher decides to push through with it anyhow due to the fact that the U.K. is the United States’ biggest ally.

london has fallen movie

As expected, explosions start left and right, with world leaders slowly (but surely, and in a very grandiose manner) dying one after the other. Nobody is prepared for what has been happening. Everything seems to be elaborate and well executed. The enemy are disguised as policemen, Queen’s guards, paramedics, and soldiers. No one could be trusted. In fact, if Banning didn’t deliberately move up Asher’s schedule, he would’ve gone kaput. Nada. Gone. (Good thing he got Banning back in service.)

Essentially, the film involves a lot of running around the streets of London, and also includes cringe-worthy footage of Westminster Abbey being blown up (regardless of it being CGI). If you love historical architecture, then you would know how it feels to see the destruction of these structures.

With the introduction of a member of the female gender who would play a supposedly strong, capable woman in MI6 Agent Jacquelin Marshall (Charlotte Riley), the story could have been pushed in a more compelling angle. Well, if she played a bigger role, then this would not be a problem at all. Were she not a trusted contact of Banning that helped with spiriting the president away, she wouldn’t really have much of a part in the film. She barely have a presence, mostly forgettable. Truly a shame in that. 

london has fallen

Gerard Butler as per usual played the role like he always does: gruff, tough, and bad-ass. He’s basically a walking ball of testosterone, and has the ability to make an action-flick quite enjoyable, if not intellectually stimulating. He dons the character of an American that’s trying hard to sound American. The accent is still very noticeable but can still be taken any day compared to a certain American cop with an Austrian accent… (Holy crap, Arnold Schwarzenegger. How you got away with it all, no one will never know.)

And as previously mentioned, the writers took a very formulaic approach to the story. Just like in Olympus Has Fallen, President Asher once again gets taken hostage (this time, though, due to a very personal reason. As Barkawi said in the film, “Vengeance must always be profound and absolute.”), Vice President Allan Trumbull (former Speaker of the House is promoted to VP after the apparent death of his predecessor), once again, for the love of God, became the acting president, and ONCE AGAIN talks directly to the main villain of the film and gets delivered with these EXACT same lines: “Their blood is on your hands.” Really? Really?! Two films in a row? The exact same lines?!

At the end of the day, London Has Fallen is not exactly a film that you will remember and cherish years from now, but if you’re in it for the action and the edge-of-your-seat suspense, then it’s definitely that.

London Has Fallen is now showing in cinemas nationwide from Multivision Pictures Enterntainment Philippines as distributed by Viva International Pictures.