Mike Banning’s father lives off the grid

He may be a fictional character, but Mike Banning has a huge following. In the latest movie in the Fallen franchise, Angel has Fallen, hero Mike Banning is reunited with his dad, played by Nick Nolte living in a remote forest in Virginia.

When a well-coordinated drone attack decimates the POTUS’s heavily-armed security detail, Banning’s razor-sharp reflexes once again save the leader of the free world from … well, let’s just say that in the latest instalment in the Fallen franchise, the bad guys are a little closer to home.

Allan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman), who was Speaker of the House in the original film and VP in the sequel, has been promoted to President in Angel Has Fallen.

But its Nick Nolte who steals the film as the woods-living, gun-toting hermit named Clay Banning.

As the surname suggests, he is our hero’s long-estranged father. On this level, Nolte also brings some much-needed emotional depth to the movie.

But it’s the comic side that is worth waiting for. It’s a treat every time Nolte is on the screen. I doubt it will happen but he deserves another Oscar nomination for this role. He’s had three so far — for Prince of Tides, Affliction and Warrior — without a win.

A man of deep integrity, Trumbull is a West Wing kind of president; the sort you wish you had. But after being pulled unconscious from the freezing lake into which he and Banning dive to evade the drone attack, he remains in a coma.

On the basis of damning evidence that links Banning to what appears to be a Russian Government-funded assassination attempt, Trumbull’s hawkish Vice President (Tim Blake Nelson) gears up for WWIII.

Banning’s colleagues also swallow the frame-up story hook, line and sinker. Let’s hope nothing happens to this seasoned operative — presidents may come and go, but without Banning at their side, democracy doesn’t stand a chance.

With the US law enforcement authorities in hot pursuit, Banning sets off across the country to simultaneously clear his name and arrest Armageddon.

The action is fast, furious and without unnecessary frills. The firepower is impressive and the multiple explosions would light even Michael Bay’s fuse.

There’s also an attention-grabbing sequence, in remote forest in Virginia, in which Banning is reunited with the father who abandoned him — a crusty old war vet with a yellowed moustache who lives off the grid and is played by Nick Nolte.

ANgel has fallen ** 1/2 Rating: MA15 + Running time: 121 minutes Director: Ric Roman Waugh Starring: Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Jada Pinkett Smith – Democracy doesn’t stand a chance without Mike Banning

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