When the alpha-male Secret Service agent played by Gerard Butler twists the knife into the bad guy a little too enthusiastically, the nearby U.S. president (Aaron Eckhart) winces with disgust.
"Is that necessary?" he asks. To which bulldog Butler deadpans, "No."
In matters of international terrorism and movie-world one-man war machines, it's all about the response.
London Has Fallen, the straight-ahead, non-stop sequel to 2013's Olympus Has Fallen, involves Aamir Barkawi, an arms dealer whose family is torn apart by a U.S. drone strike.
"Vengeance must always be profound and absolute," the mastermind villain and too-stern sloganeer says.
A couple of years, later the suspicious death of the British prime minister sets a trap for the U.S. president, lured to London for the funeral.
The commander-in-chief is soon up against it, with only a bulletproof bodyguard at his side in a London bombed-up and locked-down.
Butler's dark gusto is unexplained, and his character lacks the charisma and one-liners of fellow macho world-savers Rambo, James Bond and John McClane.
The film is a popcorn-crowd pleaser, but a "yippee ki-yay" or two away from something more memorable.