January 7, 2020 Angels Fallen (Movie Review)
The angels are the enemy in Angels Fallen, a brand new blend of paranormal thrills and otherworldly action. Uncork’d Entertainment deliver the film to DVD and Digital on Tuesday, January 14, 2020.
The sinister angels have landed and they are amassing a demon army. This information spurs demon hunter Gabriel (Houston Rhines: Criminal Minds series, Brooklyn Nine-Nine series) into action, bringing him out of early retirement and persuading him to reunite with his former team. Joined by his estranged best friend Michael (Michael Teh: Sleepy Hollow series, Criminal Minds series), alchemist and seer Hannah (Nicola Posener: Mythica: The Necromancer 2015, The Bold and the Beautiful series), feisty entrepreneur Ty (William Legue: Bron/Broen 2011, The Fat and the Angry mini-series), and tracking specialist Lola (Li Jing: Pacific Rim 2013, Aquaman 2018), the quintet immediately jumps into action.
Traveling deep into unknown regions of Europe, the motley crew of hunters must confront the forces of evil if they hope to discover the hidden angels and prevent the end of days. But if they failed at containing the demons before, how are they supposed to fight the even more powerful angels? Some will fall as the group fight for the future of humanity, and failure is not an option!
Clocking in at 87 minutes, Angels Fallen was directed by Ali Zamani (EuroClub 2016, Opus of an Angel 2017) and written by Amanda Barton (The Amityville Terror 2016). The film also features the acting talents of Michael Madsen (Kill Bill: Vol. 1 2003, The Hateful Eight 2015); Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight 2008, Head Full of Honey 2018); Alexander Dean Williams (The Land 2016, Gray Ground mini-series); Caroline Amiguet (Lucy short 2012, Love All You Have Left 2017); Ivy Natalia (Vatos Locos video 2011, Bond of Justice: Kizuna 2019); Hailey Hermida (The Predator, Altered Carbon series); Tommy Nash (Abducted 2014, Bad Guys 2015); Scott Anthony Gould (The Amityville Terror 2016, Dolls 2019); and more.
Unfortunately for Angels Fallen, this is a film that treads water in its first act—and even manages to offer some well-done CGI work—and then simply implodes in its second and third acts. Underlying every poor choice made in the production of the film sits the issue of its screenplay, one that has only the basest concept (ragtag group of demon hunters battle sinister angels). Because of this, character development is generally poor, with only the slightest dusting of backstory here and there to prevent viewers from saying that all of the characters are flat.
This all creates a film that more often than not seesaws between decently executed choices, such as the wildfire like sparks that announce the destruction of a demon, and the inclusion of sheer ridiculousness like a demonic doll in a Hannibal Lecter mask (no joke!). Add to this sloppy moments where the character dialogue is barely audible, cheesy props (a rubber cobra makes an appearance!), and more, and one cannot help but feel that a myriad of poor decisions were made in the film’s production.
Sadly, these choices and the overall lack of attention to detail cheapen what might have been a median offering in the Paranormal/Fantasy Action field. In fact, the film begins with tastefully done CGI and effects that heighten the experience before they sadly snowball into overuse by the second act. This is largely due to the fact that the action is intended to propel the film from scene to scene, an attempt to excuse the flimsy screenplay. A dam cracks, the team are attacked by pizza-faced demons, mysterious swarms, and a killer doll, and ultimately this all ends with a denouement that you can smell a mile off.
Fortunately, the acting is largely well-done throughout. Keep in mind that the top-billed actors, Madsen and Roberts, have bit parts, but the remainder of the cast are almost all well-equipped to handle their roles. The one exception being Rhines, who is a bit stiff as lead Gabriel. At times he tries a little too hard to come across as aggressive, scrunching his face dramatically and trying to assert an imposing physical presence even in non-fight scenes. Often stone-faced and depicting little emotion, Rhines is not a bad actor by any stretch, but, whether intentional or not, his performance here is a bit one-dimensional.
Quite the opposite, Teh’s Michael is depicted with a suave finesse that makes him entirely believable as being otherworldly. Meanwhile, Legue seems to have fun with his role as the flirty Ty, and Jing delivers her sour-faced Lola with as much flare as the flat character will allow. Posener, therefore, is the second stand out on the team. Her Hannah is a talented alchemist and gifted scryer, a decently-crafted female lead that allows Posener to show off her acting chops.
Then there is the issue of the character Jem, portrayed by Ivy Natalia. A stunningly beautiful actress, Natalia does the very best with what she’s given (which is the evil sex kitten trope), though one cannot help but feel that her entire purpose in the film is to be topless for a few seconds. No judgement intended, but her character could have been so much more. And the same can be said for the vile Valentina, portrayed by Amiguet, who comes across more like a bitter ex-girlfriend than a bad-ass demoness.
All of this said, Angels Fallen is not unwatchable. Hackneyed and fraught with poor choices, the film still manages to have its moments—particularly in its first act. With a myriad of issues cheapening the overall product, but a largely impressive cast, Angels Fallen feels like a SyFy Original: banal, but with good intentions. For this, Cryptic Rock give Angels Fallen 3 of 5 stars.