White House Down (2013)
John Cale (Channing Tatum) works Capitol security for Speaker of the House (Richard Jenkins) but he has aspirations to work in the President’s security detail. Calling in a favor a friend gets him an interview plus a pass into the White House for his daughter, who is a political junkie of sorts. Cale and his daughter Emily (Joey King) are touring the White House when there is an explosion in the Capitol and the White House is taken over by a heavily armed group of men. Men with a plan. As chaos ensues John is separated from Emily. In his attempt to find her he steps right into the middle of everything and its up to him to keep President Sawyer (Jamie Foxx) safe and ultimately save the country. Also starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke, James Woods, Nicolas Wright, Jimmi Simpson, Michael Murphy, Rachelle Lefevre, Lance Reddick, Matt Craven, Jake Weber, Peter Jacobson, Garcelle Beauvais, Jackie Geary, Vincent Leclerc.
White House Down is a smash and grab action flick that starts out slow, picks up speed but ultimately never lives up to expectations set by its predecessor Olympus Has Fallen. Pretty much everything about White House Down is standard Hollywood fare. It is generic and expected. Don’t mistake me, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it won’t earn a movie high marks in my book. I did enjoy watching White House Down and I certainly wasn’t bored. There is enough shoot and run, big explosions and funny if slightly stupid dialogue to keep your interest for the length of the film. As I said it starts out slow, so give it time to get to the action and minor plot twists. The biggest problem with this movie is that it really couldn’t decide what it wanted to be. Action? Drama? Comedy? Thriller? Too many identities and none of them really shine enough to truly make this film great. Starring Jamie Foxx I kind of expected a bit of humor and it pretty much all comes from him. So that is a nice addition to what would have otherwise been a flat job by all other major stars here. Yes, that includes the handsome Mr. Tatum who performance is lack luster at best. The downside is that I expected more from Foxx’s character. Most films depict the President as either a bad ass or at least a strong figure but President Sawyer (Foxx’s character) actually comes across as fairly wimpy for the majority of the film. Doesn’t inspire you to believe that’s for sure. Best acting job was presented by Joey King as Emily Cale. Her role as side hero to everything was interesting and King does a decent job playing a scared yet strong little girl. All in all this is pretty standard fare as far as movies go but it will at least entertain with a few laughs and some big explosions, so if you have nothing else better to do it can’t hurt to give it a go.
7/10 Stars – Supplies the expected action from the makers of Independence Day and 2012 but doesn’t give you much else worth getting excited over.
I will start out by saying that White House Down fits the bill of a typical Roland Emmerich (2012, The Day After Tomorrow, Godzilla) film. In my opinion you can break this movie down in 2 ways; by comparing it to the directors other over-the-top destruction films and comparing it to the other 2013 film about an attack on the White House… Olympus Has Fallen. If you know anything about Roland Emmerich, his films are flashy, destructive, funny and way over-the-top. Do not expect his movies to be realistic, but you can expect them to be tons of fun and plenty enjoyable! I would say that White House Down is comparable to Emmerich’s huge blockbuster Independence Day in terms of action, likeable characters and “historic moments.” As far as comparing White House Down to Olympus Has Fallen, I can say this… Olympus Has Fallen may be more realistic, suspenseful and shocking, but White House Down is more action-packed and has a better ending. The ending to this movie is the kind of moment that if it were real, it would be something you would find in history books as something comparable to Paul Revere and the lanterns. I just thought it was pretty cool even if it wasn’t real. It was nice to see James Woods back in the movies after a great career in the 80s and 90s. I wasn’t expecting him to be in the movie and it was a pleasant surprise… as was Joey King. I liked Olympus Has Fallen for different reasons than I liked White House Down so for that reason I like them both equally. Both movies will not disappoint but appeal to different crowds so it depends on what kind of action movie you like. If you are a fan of Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx or just any of Roland Emmerich’s other films, check this one out! It was a lot of fun!
8/10 Stars – Who cares if it isn’t believable or we saw something just like it 3 months ago… its damn fun and thrilling!
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