‘London Has Fallen,’ do not pick it up

1/5 stars

In these trying times, as we bicker over who should be the next leader of the free world, we should all take a moment to consider which of the remaining candidates would be able to mess some dudes up if necessary.

I think Donald Trump is all talk, and even though Marco Rubio is relatively young and fit, he’s the least threatening person on Earth. Ted Cruz’s experience as the Zodiac Killer gives him some points here, but I still don’t think he could fight off roving gangs of dirt bike terrorists if need be.

Bernie Sanders was much more rhetorically intense in his younger years, but he was also a pacifist, so that’s a no-go. I don’t really know what to make of Hillary Clinton’s chances in an action movie scenario, but I wouldn’t underestimate her.

The presidential fan-fiction in the previous three paragraphs is several orders of magnitudes more carefully considered and fun than “London Has Fallen.” The highly-anticipated-by-nobody sequel to 2013’s “Olympus Has Fallen” is jaw-droppingly stupid, and not in a recommendable way.

Gerard Butler is back as Mike Banning, a bourbon-soaked secret service agent who barks out embarrassing one-liners in Butler’s idea of an American accent. As in the previous film, he’s a close friend and personal bodyguard to Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart), a president with an astonishingly powerful name.

As you may have guessed, the action has shifted to London this time around, as a state funeral attended by every prominent western world leader is a trap for some particularly enterprising terrorists. The United Kingdom has a fairly robust surveillance infrastructure, but apparently they couldn’t detect that every single guard and police officer at this funeral was actually a terrorist.

The heads of state of countries like France and Japan are all introduced as appropriate cultural stereotypes only to be assassinated moments later in a coordinated attack. Because American exceptionalism extends to action movie heroics, our president and his bodyguard survive the initial flurry and spend the rest of the film trying to escape London.

I haven’t looked into the backgrounds of the writing staff of “London Has Fallen,” but I’m pretty sure it was co-written by a 12-year-old “Call of Duty” fan who just discovered cursing and a hacky conservative comedian. At one point, Butler tells one of the film’s generically Middle Eastern villains to “go back to F*ckheadistan.”

Let’s also talk about a British security meeting near the beginning of the film, where some lecherous old guys around the table jokingly ask if the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders or the Kardashians will be at the funeral. The UK has vast cultural reach around the globe, but sure, I’ll believe they just sit around making stale references to American pop culture.

I don’t know why that joke bothered me so much. Seriously, it takes five seconds to Google “female British celebrities.” The joke is conceptually bad, but if it has to be in there, put in some effort.

When the actors aren’t reading aloud from a historically wretched script, they’re shooting bad guys and it just all sucks. We’re theoretically supposed to root against the villain, even though he just wants revenge for his family being collateral damage in a drone strike in Pakistan.

The film ends with him being killed in a drone strike in a public place, and it’s presented like a typical action movie punch line. I wish I could do the “Men in Black” memory wipe thing on myself after seeing “London Has Fallen.”