Quick Hit: It’s exactly the movie that you’d expect – and that’s not a bad thing.
Stop me if you know what these movies have in common, besides their director. 2012, Independence Day, White House Down. If you answered that all three movies were good – please. But if you answered that all three movies feature at least one scene where the White House is destroyed, you’re correct. Today’s movie, White House Down, doubles down on the idea and sets up almost the entire movie in the White House.
Starring Jamie Foxx as the President, and Channing Tatum as a Secret Service wanna-be, the film doesn’t pretend to be anything besides blockbuster fodder. The bad guys, which include James Woods, really have no decisive agenda besides a rough plan to blow up the Middle East and/or get rich. But that’s not important. What’s important is the buddy cop dynamic between Foxx and Tatum, and the comedic moments it provides. Is it weak, easily attainable comedy? Yes, but they’ll still elicit some chuckles from you.
The one thing you can almost always say about a Roland Emmerich movie is that the destruction is often total, complete, and entertaining. We watched the scale model of the White House get obliterated in Independence Day, and now we get to watch the Capitol building be blown to smithereens. We also get to watch tons of famous White House items become bullet-riddled. It’s fun to watch, and there isn’t any Michael Bayishness here – there’s no slow motion zooms in on explosions. Instead, we get to watch things happen in a manner that they would occur in real life, and it gives the movie a bit of a zip.
Tatum and Foxx are pretty solid in their roles. I wasn’t disappointed in them, but I wasn’t exactly sold either. That’s because there’s very little meat to their characters, and end up looking like either John McClane (by the way, in a hilarious bit of screen writing, Tatum’s character is named John Cale. I mean come on, we’re not even trying now) or President Obama. And while I’m sure the political and movie allusions are intended – Emmerich isn’t exactly known for subtle political messages – they distract a bit from what little story is actually there.
Overall, if you want an entertaining two hours, you could definitely do worse, especially if you’re a person that enjoys guns and explosions. I had fun, and think you will too, and I’m giving it a “B-“.
For more on this film, check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"