Angel Has Fallen

angelfCan we talk about casting? I ask because, while I expected very little, really, from this film (London Has Fallen was almost a parody of the first film, it was so bad), I had at least hoped for a few hours mindless diversion from everything going on in the Real World- alas, right from the start it proceeded to derail itself at breakneck speed. As soon as Danny Huston turned up as Mike Banning’s old friend seeking a favour, it was clear that this so-called good guy was going to do the dirty on old Mike and prove to be a double-crossing bastard. I like Huston, he’s a very good actor, but he’s gotten so typecast now its working against the films he features in. Forget any twist, it ensures the viewers are about thirty minutes ahead of our hero.

A film like Angel Has Fallen has enough trouble with originality and predictability- expecting the screenwriters to create something novel and surprising is clearly far too much anyway, and I suppose it could be argued that the fans of these films actually enjoy being ahead of things anyway. Keep ’em simple, keep ’em predictable seems to be the order of the day with action flicks like this- Tales of the Expected, I suppose, fits pretty well. But its really done no favours with such routine and unimaginative casting. I suppose the casting directors are doing whats asked of them (find a good ‘bad guy’ actor, and sure, Huston’s one of the best, no doubt) but its damned infuriating to me.

Its not as if there is anything unique regards Angel Has Fallen in this, its getting pretty commonplace in both film and television. Its such a pity that they can’t be more imaginative and surprising with casting. Ever since Henry Fonda turned out to be such a shockingly surprising villain in Leone’s classic Once Upon a Time in the West in 1968 (I’m sure there will be earlier examples, its just one that immediately springs to mind) it was proven how powerful such daring casting can prove to be. I’ve remarked several times on this blog over the years that Tom Hanks would make a fantastic Bond villain someday, if only someone would write it with the mother of all twists.

Instead the casting of someone like Danny Huston just deepens the sense of formula and routine that permeates Angel Has Fallen. To be clear, Huston is very good and is perfectly capable as the villain, but we’ve seen him do it before and the film just continues to tick the boxes, so to speak. There is no surprise, we always feel ahead of the plot, and I hate that in film- I prefer to be hoodwinked, surprised by the creative teams sleight of hand, so to speak, but its clear that with films such as this that is no priority, or that the team behind it aren’t capable, or just don’t care. The cynic in me suspects that with this third film in this franchise, its all about making money by not upsetting the proverbial apple cart, regards what the target audience expects. Quite what Morgan Freeman is doing still slumming in these films is quite beyond me- its like everyone’s just in it for the money.

Angel Has Fallen is currently streaming on Amazon Prime


4 thoughts on “Angel Has Fallen

  1. Tom

    You make an interesting point about casting. I am with you re: enjoying Huston when he’s the bad guy but, and he’s just merely one example, it really is starting to work against him now. You see him pop up and you just know he’s either A) outright villainous from the get-go (Wonder Woman) or B) some kind of unpleasant man (Big Eyes; Stan & Ollie) who learn not to trust/like. Kevin Spacey was getting that way for me, but in a meta-twist he’s actually more of a prick in real life than he ever was in movies! Lol

    I gave up on this franchise after London. That movie was so head-smashingly bad I have no desire to be a completionist and watch Angel has Fallen. And in all likelihood, this ain’t the last one either. . .

    1. These films do seem really popular, and I honestly suspect its their simplicity and predictability that is part of their appeal. Maybe people get some comfort from it, I don’t know.

      Funny thing about Kevin Spacey, I used to really like him in movies, especially in something like Glengarry Glen Ross, because I thought he was, er, acting. But maybe it was just his real persona bleeding through, I don’t know. Makes me wonder how, ahem ‘decent’ some of those habitual bad guys we see in movies really are.

  2. Pingback: The 2020 List: April – the ghost of 82

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