Authorities take Secret Service agent Mike Banning into custody for the failed assassination attempt of U.S. President Allan Trumbull. After escaping from his captors, Banning must evade the FBI and his own agency to find the real threat to the president. Desperate to uncover the truth, he soon turns to unlikely allies to help clear his name and save the country from imminent danger.
After 4 years, Gerard Butler and Morgan Freeman return for another film in the series – once again providing us with a variety of exciting shoot-outs, a thrilling storyline and an interesting series of characters. This time though, the film stems from a different perspective, by taking the infamous Mike Banning and twisting the story to portray him as the enemy. What this film brings though, is a really surprising and action-packed storyline – but does it deliver or does the film crash and burn? Here are my thoughts.
Firstly, I’ll start off with what I liked about the film. What I love about this film and the series is how they begin, by taking the time to really get to grips with the characters and their surroundings and relationships it helps to establish them as not only an action character but also as a normal person too. By throwing us straight into an army training exercise, not only did the quick and fast-paced scenes ensure that the film got our attention right from the beginning but the immersive battle scenes and chases gave us subtle hints and messages that Mike wouldn’t be a character to mess about with.
The film doesn’t take the time to tell us everything about his past and his life which is important because it ensures that throughout the film we only focus on the important elements of his character and what is important to the story of the film, keeping our focus on the exciting parts to his character. I love how well thought out the characters act and feel here though, throughout the film the dialogue always feels really immersive and engaging which helps to show how the characters really feel and to personify their emotions, for example Mike and Wade’s early conversations really help to make their friendship feel realistic and genuine, and this is backed up by the stories that they tell us – further cementing their genuine feeling and also giving us fun little pieces of information about the characters.
Mike isn’t the only character who feels really exciting and engaging here too, the whole character set feels really immersive and realistic in their own ways. For example, seeing how protective the president’s bodyguards are in the hospital scenes makes the feel realistic and genuine, whereas other characters such as the enemies are made to feel exciting in their own way which is expertly communicated to us. Seeing them in a really mysterious way helped to build up our interest in the enemies, quick shots where we see what they are doing but have no idea who they really are, ensure that we latch on to them, this leads us to feel engaged and asking ourselves, “Who are they?” “What are they doing?” “Why?” Which then means that they feel much more exciting.
I thought that the way in which the film immersed us in the story by using action and meaning behind the story really was the best part of the film, seeing how the characters really genuinely made us feel as if they believed Mike was guilty was really great because it solidified them as characters and made us question it ourselves, even though we had seen the events.
As the film progresses though, a variety of cool and exciting elements help to keep the storyline and the film exciting – seeing new characters coming in and out really help to keep the film feeling fresh. I especially liked Mike’s Dad, not only did his fort and explosives bring a lot of action to the film, but also an element of humour that we didn’t know we wanted, but it was effective and proved to be useful in making him feel unique and likeable.
A key issue that many films like this face is that the characters don’t make realistic choices, that isn’t the case here. I thought that the choices made by Mike not only felt realistic but also clever, seeing the variety of clues he left on his journey and how they were executed really made Mike feel clever and actually as if he was secret service which I loved!
What makes this film stand out from the others is that the narrative is more plausible than other action films and you do see Butler dealing with the results of his profession.