"Mr. President, those better be comfortable shoes."
Mike Banning fancies himself a family man. He has a lovely home, and a beautiful wife, but his real love is murdering people. Shooting, stabbing, and snapping necks comes as easy as brewing his morning coffee. He has a daughter on the way. To get her room ready, he decorates the walls with six cameras, and the bed with a kevlar mattress. Mike Banning doesn't do anything half-assed.
We were introduced to Banning in 2013's OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN. Three years ago the White House was infiltrated by North Korea; now, it's Barkawi, a Pakistani arms dealer who is wreaking havoc on the world. "He's responsible for more deaths than the plague," so President Asher (Aaron Eckhart) drone strikes a family wedding that Barkawi attends. He survives, of course. The story needs an antagonist, and Banning is thirsty for more blood.
Banning continues his duty for Asher as his personal Secret Service protection unit. You can tell the two men are close because they jog together, and share jokes about the Kardashians. Banning is torn because a more domestic life beckons, so he types up a letter of resignation. We get word that the Prime Minister of Great Britain has died of complications from a prior surgery. Asher and the rest of the heads of state travel to London to pay their respects. Banning promises his wife that this will be his last job. He's going to go out with a bang.
You can probably guess what happens next. With the leaders of the world all in the once place, Barkawi exacts his revenge. "Vengeance must always be profound and absolute," he tells his son. He systematically takes out the commanders of Canada, Italy, France, Japan, Germany, and countless innocents. Bullets and bombs rain down upon the streets of the English capital. Asher survives through the heroics of Banning. The two spend the next hour fleeing from terrorists as to avoid completing Barkawi's plot of retribution.
There's an insane amount of violence in LONDON HAS FALLEN. The inexhaustible death is only interrupted by Banning and Asher sharing quips and inappropriate jokes, like the President finally coming out of the closet after he bursts out of an actual one and kills a man. The film uses the visual device of listing all the characters and their occupations as they appear on screen. I suppose this is to keep track of everyone, but they're all immaterial. Morgan Freeman, Jack Earle Haley, Melissa Leo, and Robert Forster all play members of the cabinet, but they may as well be faces in the crowd. They serve no purpose but to stare at the horrors that Barkawi has created, or cheer when Banning offs someone else.
Eventually, Asher gets kidnapped and Banning must save him against all odds. A soldier tells him that the building occupying the president has over a hundred insurgents guarding him. Banning merely smirks, says something misogynistic, and slinks inside to unleash his fury. A running clocks accompanies the film. If nothing else, it illustrates how efficient Banning is at killing.
LONDON is goofy as hell. It's equally brainless. The ramifications of the deaths of five major country authorities are thrown to the wayside. There is no time for feelings when blood needs to be spilled. It's a throwback to movies where the males are ultra alpha. Thankfully, there is at least one strong female presence: Jax, an MI6 agent. She's tough as nails, but she has limited screen time. Banning tells the president not to fuck with her. Sometime during LONDON, the Director of the Secret Service says that she never thought Banning would outlive her. "Me neither," he replies. But that's a lie. Mike Banning is bulletproof, he's Captain America. He's made from bourbon and poor choices. And he's thirsty as fuck.