Blu-ray Review: Angel Has Fallen

STUDIO: Lionsgate | DIRECTOR: Ric Roman Waugh | CAST: Gerard Butler, Jada Pinkett Smith, Morgan Freeman, Nick Nolte, Tim Blake Nelson, Piper Perabo
RELEASE DATE: Nov. 26, 2019 | PRICE: DVD $14.96, Blu-ray/DVD Combo $19.96, 4K Ultra HD $24.96
BONUSES: featurettes, commentary, more
SPECS: R | 121 min. | Action thriller | 2.39:1 widescreen | Dolby TrueHD 7.1/Dolby Atmos | English and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie  1/2 | Audio  | Video  | Overall  1/2

It’s tough to believe that Gerard Butler’s earliest screen splash occurred as the controversial choice to play the lead in the big screen version of musical The Phantom of the Opera. Since then, the strapping Scottish performer’s biggest following has come from providing a key voice in the hit animated How to Train Your Dragon efforts and as intrepid US government operative Mike Banning in the international action thrillers Olympus has Fallen and London Has Fallen.

In the latest series entry, Angel Has Fallen, Butler’s Banning is suffering from PTSD and migraine headaches when he’s recommended to become the Secret Service chief under the direction of the U.S. President (Morgan Freeman, The Poison Rose). A drone attack on Banning and the president during a fishing outing leaves the chief executive in a coma and Banning on his way to prison after evidence points to his guilt in planning the assault. An exciting escape, the discovery of the true culprit behind the air strike and a reunion with his estranged survivalist father (Nick Nolte, TV’s Graves) leads to a series of explosions, gun battles and other mayhem as Banning tries to clear his name.

Directed with efficiency and expert action chops by Ric Roman Waugh (who helmed the underrated thrillers Snitch and Felon), Angel Has Fallen could be called “the best Cannon Group movie Cannon never made.” It is popcorn picture for sure, reminiscent of the beloved extinct studio’s titles like The Delta Force and Missing in Action. Though Banning’s adventures this time out owe a lot more to The Fugitive, like many Cannon productions, Angel Has Fallen offers a slew of slightly cartoonish supporting characters, including Banning’s long-suffering wife (Piper Perabo, Looper); an old military pal (Danny Huston, Stan & Ollie) who now runs a Blackwater-type mercenary operation; a slithery Veep (Tim Blake Nelson, Colossal); and a no-nonsense FBI agent (Jada Pinkett Smith, Girls Trip).

Angel Has Fallen certainly delivers the goods, and then some. Butler is now a familiar character to action fans and he fits snugly—some critics have said “lazily”– into his world-weary agent role. The wild card is Nolte, here imposingly disheveled with a scraggly beard, adding some oomph once the proceedings get a little too familiar. There’s been talk that this may be Butler’s last stand as Mike Banning, but Nolte would be a welcome addition to the fold if the series continues.

Buy or Rent Angel Has Fallen

About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.