London Has Fallen (Blu-ray) (2016)

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Released 22-Jun-2016

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Featurette-Making Of
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Guns, Knives & Explosives
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Security Featurette
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Bigger Better Badder Featurette
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2016
Running Time 98:41
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Babak Najafi
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Gerard Butler
Aaron Eckhart
Morgan Freeman
Angela Bassett
Waleed Zuaiter
Radha Mitchell
Melissa Leo
Colin Salmon
Jackie Earle Haley
Alon Aboutboul
Shivani Ghai
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $29.95 Music Trevor Morris


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    Even though 2013’s Olympus Has Fallen did not exactly set the box office on fire, it performed respectably against its modest budget, and money is money in the filmmaking industry. Not to mention, Olympus prevailed as the more successful “Die Hard in the White House” production, grossing more than Roland Emmerich’s White House Down. Ditching director Antoine Fuqua in favour of lesser-known filmmaker Babak Najafi, but retaining much of the original cast, 2016’s London Has Fallen stands as a worthy follow-up that should effortlessly entertain those who enjoy these types of blockbusters. It’s a visceral, hard-edged action flick which preserves its predecessor’s R rating, allowing for salty one-liners and brutal violence. North Koreans were the villains in the first film due to political conflicts at the time, but with the world now under threat from ISIL, Islamic terrorist bad guys were the obvious, timely choice here.

    Two years after saving the life of President Asher (Aaron Eckhart), Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is expecting a baby, and considers resigning in order to live peacefully with his wife Leah (Radha Mitchell). When the British Prime Minister suddenly dies, world leaders beginning converging on London for the funeral, with Banning assigned to watch over Asher during the trip. However, an Islamic terrorist cell overseen by Kamran Barkawi (Waleed Zuaiter) take the opportunity to strike, launching a terror attack in the middle of London with the ultimate goal in mind of broadcasting the beheading of President Asher on the internet. But Banning has other plans, seeking to safely escort Asher out of the city and overthrow Kamran’s forces while endeavouring to contact Vice President Trumbull (Morgan Freeman), who’s watching over the situation in Washington with his excitable staff (including Jackie Earle Haley and Robert Forster).

    London Has Fallen has stirred up controversy online, with some calling the movie insensitive in the wake of horrific terrorist activities in recent years (specifically the 2016 Paris shootings), while others have dismissed the actioner as pure American propaganda. Yeah, it’s silly, and its gung-ho attitude won’t sit right with everybody, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t work. London brings back Olympus scribes Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt, while the script is also credited to Christian Gudegast and Chad St. John, though it’s difficult to ascertain exactly why it took four people to write a feature as simple as this.

    Once the threat is established and the initial strike has taken place, London transforms into a chase movie, following Banning and Asher as they traverse the perilous London streets, trying to survive as they encounter scores of nameless bad guys. Whereas Olympus was all about Banning rescuing the President from a hostage situation, this follow-up is more of a buddy movie, with Asher remaining at his protector’s side for the majority of the runtime. It’s a lean actioner at around 95 minutes in length, and it really moves, breathlessly transitioning from one conflict to the next, pausing for just enough chatter to keep the story comprehensible. Dialogue is standard-order and often tin-eared, though Banning does disperse a number of amusing John McClane-esque one-liners. If you can overlook the rampant ridiculousness of the enterprise, there’s plenty to enjoy here.

    Taken as a simple, fictitious action flick, London Has Fallen works extremely well, playing out with the same zeal and spirit as a 1980s Cannon Films production. Rather than superhero antics or over-the-top mayhem, the movie favours good old-fashioned shootouts, car chases and fisticuffs, and it sports stronger production values than a typical straight-to-video outing (the actors actually shoot real blanks, and practical blood squibs are used, which is miraculous). Happily, the chaos is captured with lucid camerawork, allowing us to watch and enjoy it. Yeah, the cinematography is shaky to an extent, but the camerawork is never distracting, and it adds to the feeling of excitement. There’s even an adrenaline-pumping shootout in a dark alley which unfolds in a bravura single shot for some welcome variety. The only real downside to London is the shoddy CGI, which often looks incredibly phoney and instantly takes you out of the movie. Mercifully, however, the fake digital mayhem is not constant, limited to only a few moments during the initial assault, so it doesn’t constantly sour the experience.

    Butler is an appealing, macho leading man, espousing the same type of attitude that was so prevalent in ’80s action heroes. It would be easy to imagine Butler doing more action movies in this vein, joining the still-tiny list of modern actors capable of playing these sorts of roles. Just like John McClane in the Die Hard series, Banning approaches each conflict with a nonchalant attitude, and he always finds time for quips (he tells Asher that he was made out of “bourbon and poor choices”). Several other veteran thespians also appear here; Eckhart is an amiable President, and it’s always nice to see Morgan Freeman. Other names include Angela Bassett, Melissa Leo and Jackie Earle Haley, all of whom seem to be having a good time.

    It’s hard to defend London Has Fallen beyond the level of guilty pleasure, since it is absurd and chock full of action movie clichés. In short, it’s tailor-made for viewers who get a kick out of this brand of old-fashioned ludicrousness, and it was not intended for the more serious or stuffy class of movie-watcher. It’s not exactly polished, but its rough-around-the-edges sensibilities do contribute to the charm to a certain extent. If you enjoyed Olympus Has Fallen, there’s a good chance you’ll have a fun time with this one.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Much like Olympus Has Fallen, London Has Fallen carries an overly soft appearance due to its digital cinematography, and doesn’t look as refined or as intricately-detailed as more generously-budgeted action blockbusters. And of course, the shonky CGI shots are noticeably soft. Nevertheless, this 1080p, AVC-encoded Blu-ray transfer is pretty good all things considered, and looks faithful to what I recall seeing in the cinema a few months ago.

    Detail and sharpness are mostly above-average, with some scenes better than others. An early scene at Banning’s home is pleasingly vibrant, while daytime sequences in London maintain terrific detail. It’s easy to make out all the little blood sprays during the shootouts, and details on faces and furniture remains consistently top-notch. Colours are more on the drab side, which is by design, and the transfer is true to the source in this respect. Strong clarity is maintained even in darker scenes, and the presentation has no issues with black crush.

    On the downside, source-related digital noise does crop up, especially in darker scenes (this was also present in the cinema). The blacks are not as inky as they should be, but again this traces back to the source. The encode itself is mostly smooth sailing, though I did notice minor banding towards the end, when SAS soldiers wander through the dark with lights on their rifles. In addition, there is some aliasing at the beginning of the movie. But none of this stuff is a deal-breaker. On the whole, London Has Fallen looks strong on Blu-ray.

    Only English subtitles are available, and I had no issues with the track’s formatting.


Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The Region A release of London Has Fallen from Universal provides DTS:X and DTS-HD MA 7.1 audio options, but Roadshow’s release only comes packaged with a DTS-HD MA 5.1 track, which may be a deal-breaker for some consumers who are equipped with more expensive sound systems. Nevertheless, the broad strokes of this 5.1 mix are extremely strong, and it gets the job done effectively.

    This is not a layered or subtle track, instead favouring loud gunshots and ‘splosions, and boy does the Blu-ray deliver in this department. When the action scenes arrive, the mix roars to life, providing deep bass and superb subwoofer activity, making plenty of impact. Gunfire comes from all sides, using surround channels to create an immersive hail of bullets, placing you in the centre of the action. It’s simply spectacular. Other scenes shine, too, with aggressive audio during an intense helicopter sequence, and plenty of rumbling for each fireball.

    Happily, dialogue for the most part comes through cleanly, though it’s mixed just a tad low compared to the gunfire. Still, this isn’t too much of a bother. Music is aggressive, as well, effortlessly amplifying excitement during the big set-pieces. The audio is really bombastic, but some moments do benefit from more subtle atmospherics, including a jogging scene at the beginning, and scenes set in the middle of London.

    The video may have a few issues, but London Has Fallen is bolstered by exceptional audio.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Not a great deal.

The Making of London Has Fallen (HD; 13:16)

    A short but nevertheless interesting behind-the-scenes look at this sequel. Cast and crew discuss the success of the original movie and their approach to a follow-up, with the change of setting being the key focus. Many London locations were meticulously recreated in Bulgaria, and this featurette also provides fascinating on-set footage of shooting on said sets.

Guns, Knives & Explosives (HD; 7:42)

    A closer look at filming many of the movie’s action set-pieces, paying special attention to the physicality of the shootouts and fights, and the tricky technical execution, especially with the single-shot gunfight. Interesting stuff, and a bit more substantive than the usual EPK-style material.

Security Featurette (HD; 2:45)

    And now we have the fluffier promotional stuff - this extra has been available to view on YouTube since the movie’s release. This is basically an extended trailer with a few interviews and some behind-the-scenes footage.

Bigger Better Badder Featurette (HD; 1:26)

    Another featurette that you can view on YouTube, this is just promotional fluff which provides very little actual insight into the production.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The American release from Universal contains superior audio options as discussed in the Audio section, but misses out on the two YouTube featurettes provided by Roadshow. However, since the extra featurettes on our release can be viewed on YouTube, I'm giving the win to the American disc.

Summary

    Others are welcome to disagree, but I enjoyed the hell out of London Has Fallen. It's just my type of movie.

    Roadshow's release is respectable, with solid video and aggressive audio. Extras are in short supply, but this disc still comes recommended, all things considered.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Callum Knox (I studied biology)
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Review Equipment
DVDPlayStation 4, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42LW6500. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationLG BH7520TW
SpeakersLG Tall Boy speakers, 5.1 set-up, 180W

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Aussie version is cut compared to the U.S version - Lee REPLY POSTED
London has fallen - Anonymous
London Has Fallen - Lee REPLY POSTED
London Has Fallen- Censored Australian Version - Anonymous