Over the last decade or so, Gerard Butler has firmly established himself as the king of the mid-budget action movie. Not quite the man the major studios turn to for leading $100 million blockbusters and nowhere near the VOD purgatory that swallowed up Bruce Willis and Nicolas Cage, either, the 50 year-old occupies the comfortable middle ground as the person to call if you need a reliably gruff and charismatic leading man to anchor a standard shoot em’ up.
The jewel in Butler’s crown has undoubtedly been the Fallen series, which has given him the most popular role of his career since Zack Snyder’s 300. The grizzled Scotsman plays no-nonsense Secret Service agent Mike Banning, a man prone to incredible outbursts of violence that have seen him punch, shoot, stab, strangle and detonate his way through three entertaining adventures so far.
Olympus, London and Angel Has Fallen are not designed to engage the brain, but they deliver the sort of old school throwbacks that action cinema has been sorely missing during the onslaught of identikit superhero movies. A bunch of talented actors show up and deliver their dialogue with remarkably straight faces, while Butler does what he does best and bulldozes his way through an army of henchmen.
The three entries so far have raked in over $520 million at the box office and become firm fan favorites, and now we’ve learned that Mike Banning is officially returning for Night Has Fallen. Angel director Ric Roman Waugh and writer Robert Mark Kamen will both be back for the fourth movie as well, although no further details are available as of yet.
Morgan Freeman and Nick Nolte will also presumably reprise their roles, though, alongside the leading man, and with the project finally confirmed, we should be getting some plot information about Night Has Fallen in the not too distant future. Watch this space for more.