Monday, 16 September 2013

Film Review: White House Down

Washington D.C. isn't having a great year is it? First Olympus Has Fallen and now this; Roland Emmerich pits a hunky Channing Tatum and a presidential Jamie Foxx against some ultra-nationalist terrorists in White House Down

Here's my review...

Maggie Gyllenhaal as Agent Finnerty
When President Sawyer (Jamie Foxx) announces his plan to withdraw all US troops from the Middle-East, a bunch of ultra-right-wing Americans get kind of mift. They hatch a plan to hold the US to ransom by infiltrating the White House and launching nuclear warheads across the globe, triggering World War III in the process.

Except, they didn't count one man, John Cale (Channing Tatum) standing in their way. Driven by apple pie, stars and stripes and all things good and American, Cale teams up with President Sawyer to retake the White House.

Sound kind of ludicrous? That's because it is. White House Down revels it's own silly concept and doesn't attempt to keep a straight face. Car chases zoom across presidential tennis courts, around water fountains and careen into swimming pools; bullets fly, rip through chandeliers and shred sofas but no blood is spilt. At one point, Jaime Foxx leans out of the president's limo and fires a rocket launcher across the lawn of the White House in front of hundreds of onlooking television cameras. Just let that sentence sink in for a moment.

 Emmerich understands that films like this run in the same vein as 90's action flicks like Air Force One and his own Independence Day; they are there to entertain and deliver bang for your buck. Emmerich keeps his tongue firmly in cheek and serves up some of the biggest laughs all year- the script and back-and-forth banter between Foxx and Tatum is one the films strong suits.

The action is giddy and high-octane fun that, like I mentioned earlier, doesn't make the stomach squirm; no blood spurts splatter across walls here. This is a cheeky action film that anyone, even the daintiest of grandma's could woop and fist-pump to.

Channing Tatum is a passable action hero who, as we know from 21 Jump Street, has fantastic comedic ability. He also manages to balance the more tender, fatherly scenes well.

Meanwhile, Jamie Foxx looks like he is having an absolute whale of a time running around as the President; like Tatum, his comedic timing shines through here, his meek delivery of lines like "I lost the rocket launcher" and "Get your hands off my Jordans!" got the biggest laughs from the audience.

Padding out the cast is Maggie Gyllenhaal as a Secret Service agent working for Sawyer (she's good) and Joey King as Emily Cale, John's daughter. She's also good and reminded me of Chloe Moretz a little. The villains are a little ho-hum and all blend together after a while.

A poster for White House Down
Some of the plot points are a little contrived (it seems seriously easy for the bad guys to take over the White House in the first place) or cheesy (the 'ticking clock until bomb/air strike/insert exploding thing here is used a lot) but, at the end of the day, it's all good fun.

I also found that the run-time was a little excessive; at least 20 minutes could be shaved off here and there. You won't get bored, you'll just start to realise that things take a while to get going.

Also, the film works better as a psuedo-buddy-cop comedy than a cutting-edge drama with political undertones. Social commentary on the weapons industry, political intentions and the War on Terror will fly over most peoples heads and not engage them. Like I said, it works best as a roller-coaster action-thrill ride that delivers laughs and action.

White House Down is one of the least taxing films you'll see this year; ring up some mates, kick back and enjoy. Don't take it too seriously and just enjoy the ride. Oh, and it's better than Olympus Has Fallen. There, I said it.

I give White House Down: 7.5/10


  1. FINALLY someone else who agrees with me that this is better than Olympus Has Fallen, lol! XD

    1. Yep, it is! Much better in my opinion, with much wider appeal.

  2. Can’t say I kept my brain intact while I watched it, but I had a good time overall. Good review.

    1. Your brain intact? Sounds painful :O Thanks for the comment Dan!



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