America Has Fallen (in no way officially related to Olympus Has Fallen) revolves around Ryan Taylor (played by Tom Getty, Rising Fear, Emulation), a former marine who is framed for a terrorist bombing in the middle of the city in which he lives. However, after being interrogated by federal agents, who don’t believe that he was framed, Taylor takes matters into his own hands to find out who is really pulling the strings behind the scenes. Yet, things get quickly out of hand, with Taylor finding himself out of his depth, but he presses on to save the country he loves.

The premise of America Has Fallen suggests an action-packed, cheesy movie that one can just sit back and enjoy, with the trailer and the poster reinforcing this idea. Instead, it’s an eccentric action film that had me on the edge of my proverbial seat the entire way through. Writer/director/star and renaissance man Tom Getty presents an intense story that will keep you invested until the very end. While there were some twists that I picked up on throughout the movie, most them were well planned and executed.

Another remarkable aspect of America Has Fallen is character design, both in concept and personality. For instance, the main character is presented as a man torn between his past and present, one who is suffering the consequences of his previous decisions and is dealing with the aftermath. Taylor’s plight throughout America Has Fallen is a complex one, but the film also takes the time to give him some personality and character traits instead of relying on his important characteristic being that he is the protagonist.

You can see the struggle Taylor has with his own internal dialogue and information that is shared about him between federal agents adds more complexity to Taylor himself. There are a couple of times throughout the film because of this that, as a viewer, you could question whether Taylor is in fact the hero of this story.

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The main villain of America Has Fallen, Mikel S. Razanov (Philip Lewis) also boasts many complexities, but before any information arises, the biggest clue is his appearance. The first time you see Razanov he is wearing a gas mask and speaking with a digitally altered voice like Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. However, while this can be offputting, the only time that Razanov takes off his mask is early in the film, but it is still extremely impactful. Without spoiling the scene, there is a specific reason that Razanov wears a mask, but early on it becomes important not only in explaining his character, but also Tyler’s.

Besides the characters in America Has Fallen, I cannot rave enough about the storytelling in this movie. It is complex, driving, and genuinely interesting in how it is paced. But while watching it, I also admired the amount of work and love that was put into this film. Not only was Tom Getty the writer, director, and star, scrolling through the credits he is also the editor, one of the camera operators, the sound editor, the music conductor, the head of the graphics, he designed props (I could go on, but the list is endless!) One feels while watching American Has Fallen that, despite the inevitable shortcomings of making an independent film, it was nurtured and cared for like an action blockbuster.

As America Has Fallen is an independent action movie, some of the performances by peripheral characters can be spotty, some of the CGI is iffy, and sometimes the music can be too intense for certain sequences. Also, while I enjoyed the several action jump cuts which drove the story, this could potentially be a little extra for viewers, so take that as you may. Regardless, America Has Fallen is a story of redemption, government overreach, and is an overall fantastic watch. I cannot recommend it enough if you like action movies, independent movies, or just want to watch something a bit different.

America Has Fallen is available now on VOD services.

WICKED RATING 6/10

Director(s): Tom Getty
Writer(s): Tom Getty
Stars: Tom Getty, Philip Lewis, Curtis Caldwell
Studio/ Production Co: High Octane Pictures
Release date: July 4, 2017
Language: English
Length: 96 min