'London Has Fallen': A rip-roaring sequel to 2013 White House-under-siege hit

Aaron Eckhart, left, and Gerard Butler in Grammercy Pictures', 'London Has Fallen.'

"We've been compromised."

You don't say.

In London Has Fallen, the rip-roaring sequel to 2013's White House-under-siege hit Olympus Has Fallen, Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) looks around at the terrorists disguised as police, the terrorists disguised as Buckingham Palace guards, the terrorists aiming shoulder-launched rockets at the president of the United States, and decides there has been a security lapse.

No kidding. Five world leaders have just been assassinated. Bridges, buildings, and monuments have been blown to smithereens. And President Benjamin Asher (a somewhat Bush-ian Aaron Eckhart) is on the run, chased by squads of armed extremists.

Written by husband-and-wife team (and former Philadelphians) Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt (with some added screenplay assists) and directed by Babak Najafi, London Has Fallen is an impossibly enjoyable live-action cartoon that plays on our real-life anxieties about vengeful cadres of foreign radicals blowing up people - and places.

The British prime minister has died of an apparent heart attack, so a memorial service has been arranged, with dignitaries from around the world descending on London for the event.

"It's a logistical nightmare," worries Lynn Jacobs (Angela Bassett), the director of the Secret Service. She's Mike's boss, and she has also just agreed to be godmother to Mike and his wife's (Radha Mitchell) baby, expected to pop in a matter of weeks.

With dadhood looming, Mike has been busy composing his resignation letter, but before he can hit "send" on his laptop, a call comes in from the White House. The prime minister is dead, and Mike is needed to head the team to protect the prez. The duo are jogging partners. They bonded after the bloody showdown with the North Koreans who stormed 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Olympus Has Fallen.

In the wake of the elaborately planned attacks - the years-in-the-making orchestrations of an arms dealer by the name of Aamir Barkawi (Alon Aboutboul) - Mike and Mr. President are gunning an armor-plated Range Rover up and down London side streets. It's not long before Eckhart's commander in chief is firing back at the waves of pursuing bad guys, too. It's like Harrison Ford in Air Force One: the president as action hero. If there's a third Fallen movie, they can stop with the protector/protectee stuff and just show Mike and the president patrolling the District of Columbia in a limo, looking out for trouble.

And if there's a sequel to this sequel, they should also do something about the comically stymied supporting cast watching the horrific events unfold from the Situation Room. Vice President Trumbull (Morgan Freeman) is in command, as cool and calm as someone who keeps exclaiming "Oh my God!" can be. But Melissa Leo (the secretary of Defense), Jackie Earle Haley (the chief of staff), and Robert Forster (the top military man at the table) bring new meaning to the word ineffectual.

Sure, they're sitting there watching live drone shots of the London conflagration, and there's not much they really can do - but they're behaving more like sedated patients in a psych ward than presidential advisers.

As soon as he dusts himself off and returns to the Oval Office, President Asher needs to shuffle his Cabinet. New secretary of Defense? Mike Banning, who else? He knows how to bring it on.


London Has Fallen

Directed by Babak Najafi. With Morgan Freeman, Radha Mitchell, Gerard Butler, Robert Forster, Angela Bassett, Aaron Eckhart, Melissa Leo, Jackie Earle Haley, Alon Moni Aboutboul, Sean O'Bryan. Distributed by Focus Features.

Running time: 1 hours, 39 minutes.

Parent's guide: R (for strong violence and language throughout).