Pop culture critics haven’t been this incensed about a project since Jack Bauer tortured terrorists on FOX’s “24.”
What’s the target of their collective ire now? “London Has Fallen,” the new sequel to 2013’s modest hit “Olympus Has Fallen.”
Sure, the film features flat dialogue thrust upon an impressive cast. Morgan Freeman. Aaron Eckhart. Angela Bassett. Gerard Butler. “London” won’t make their career highlight reels.
And critics are torching “London” for the obvious reasons. It’s guilty -pleasure cinema, at best, and doesn’t deserve a full-throttled defense. Said critics aren’t stopping with the eye-rolling dialogue or hokey situations.
They’re throwing down the “Islamophobia” card. Why?
The film features Butler’s heroic Secret Service agent fighting back against terrorists out to slay as many world leaders as possible. And, in a wee bit of spoiler alert revelations, the film suggests the Western world is perfectly entitled to take the fight to the enemy. Without apologies.
And the enemy in this film is generally Arabic in origin — even if the movie painstakingly avoids tying Islam to the killers. You won’t see any terrorists kneeling on prayer rugs here. That wasn’t enough to protect the project from most modern film critics.
MTV.com slams both “Fallen” and its predecessor, claiming it’s the worst kind of entertainment.
As War on Terror agitprop, it hurts us as much as it hurts our enemies.
Numerous critics name-checked Donald Trump with their slams, as if the notion of a muscular response to terrorism was only possible with one theoretical leader.
The L.A. Times said the film is “designed to justify blinkered foreign policy attitudes and stoke jokey hatred.”
Variety dubs the movie “a dim, drab, xenophobic sequel,” and it’s just warming up. The review piles on from there … it’s “cruddily crafted, grimacingly performed and effortlessly racist.”
The vast majority of terrorists today hail from the Arab world. Yet showing that reality on the big screen isn’t just impolite. It’s racist, according to many critics.
Variety even warns that some foreign audiences might not appreciate seeing American heroes take out the terrorists.
…not to mention a presumptuousness that global auds will invest equally in its on-screen fight for American leaders and freedoms, at any cost to those of other nations.
If foreign ticket buyers won’t root for Western forces battling against those who indiscriminately kill, then more than “London” has fallen.
Christian Toto is a freelance writer and editor of HollywoodInToto.com.