An excerpt from my script review for London Has Fallen which will be available 8/25/14:
2.) Plot Stability
Building tension is key in any movie, and for action there’s no exception.
The script started out doing this really well, in that we knew something bad was coming around the corner.
Open on a wedding in Pakistan.
Wonderful ceremony. Beautiful setting.
Everyone’s getting along, despite one side being less conservative than the other, and that’s good. People seeing past their differences.
Old friends are united. Families are happy to see one another…what could go wrong?
Boom. Everyone’s knocked off their feet, some even literally.
Here’s where our bad guy is born, as we witness first hand his newfound motivation.
Flash forward two years or so, and that same bad guy just disguised himself as the anesthesiologist for the Prime Minister of England.
This deception will lead to a chain reaction of events that influence the rest of the story.
(Not to mention as he exits the hospital, he makes his way to a clandestine meeting with some shady guy and duffel full of Sterling Pounds that is exchanged for a small army or Syrian soldiers.)
On the other side of the pond, our old friend, Mike Banning, is now married with a baby girl on the way.
Oh, and it’s not a normal pregnancy because his wife is having premature contractions and internal bleeding.
Off to the hospital they go, and he’s now got shit to worry about in the back of his mind.
See? Things are happening. That’s good!
The “good” though is we’re jumping between Banning and the ex military brothers who are setting something up in London. (We’re not sure what, but it’s intricate and thought out.)
Everything was moving along splendidly, and I even made a note at how impressed I was with this around page 16…
And once the Prime Minister dies, shit just stalls.
We get stuck in this bureaucratic bullshit, showing us the various national security agencies that will be involved with the state funeral.
UK special agencies, Secret Service, etc.
It was like a behind the scenes look at the Secret Service, but I’m not sure why we had to see all of it here.
(Interesting topic for The History Channel, not an action movie.)
Very little had to do with moving the story forward, and seemed to yield one and/or two outcomes, showing Banning in charge or having him deliver a funny little quip.
Shit doesn’t explode until page 73 in a one hundred page UNFINISHED script. One the author knowingly admits isn’t the finished product.
(And after that explosion, the action plays out in a pretty generic way via shootouts and car chases.)
Take a moment here to realize the difference between yourself and a pro writer…First drafts will always be rough, sure, but unless you’re a produced writer, you shouldn’t be sending ANY first draft out to anyone.
Aside from that little bit o’ wisdom, if your script suffers from a slow middle section, as this one did, go back and consider each scene.
Is it building tension? Is it moving the plot forward?
If you have a clever line, or character building moment you’re in love with, can you work that into another scene that IS keeping the pace going?
Remember, as undiscovered writers we must treat each professional opportunity as possibly our first and last chance at making the right impression.
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