Let’s start my review of White House Down with suggestions for more accurate titles: White House Thumbs Down, White House Dumb and Die Soft.
For the next part, I’d normally explain what the plot is about, but that’s easily skipped by saying: read my review of Olympus Has Fallen.
Up to speed? Right, now despite director Roland Emmerich‘s previous actioner, 2012, not being too jingoistic for a change, and thus giving us a breather, for this one, the jingoism kicks in early as the President’s choppers flying close to the water in front of the Lincoln memorial, to show it off, rather than keeping a safe distance above it in case of any mechanical in-flight problems which may cause an emergency landing.
(And, yes, I know he directed Anonymous inbetween that and this, but no-one cared about that film.)
Hero of the day is John cale (Channing Tatum) who wants a job as a Secret Service agent, but his ex, Carol (Maggie Gyllenhaal), is doing the hiring and firing, and she doesn’t want him anywhere near the place. In the presidential role, Jamie Foxx takes the lead as Commander-in-Chief. I don’t know whether Emmerich wants to appear up-to-date or just politically correct, but it matters not hear as he’s just as ineffective as any other President, bar the fact he occasionally gets to carry a gun. And a rocker launcher. Until he loses the latter. Oh, the hilarity(!)
Meanwhile, there’s a tour of the White House going on, led by Donnie who helpfully reminds us of the director’s biggest film by telling us which part of the building was destroyed in Independence Day. James Woods turns up as a Presidential bigwig with a shock of white hair to distract from his facelift, done a few years ago, which seems to have since fallen. His character, by the way, has just one week to go until retirement. Meanwhile, the rest of the cast is made up of cardboard cut-out baddies who are ear-marked out early, for the idiots amongst the audience. You can tell they’re the baddies because none of them shave regularly.
During this, Cale’s daughter/stepdaughter/whatever (who gives a fuck) gets separated from him and the tour they took part in, and ends up continuing her Youtube blog of the place by filming the terrorists. Of the cast, Tatum continues to prove that he can’t act his way out of a paper bag, Foxx shows none of the star quality he’s had in some previous films, while Nicolas Wright as tour leader Donnie is the supposed comic relief, but it just doesn’t work. Maggie Gyllenhaal and Richard Jenkins are also never required to do more than the bare minimum.
Go to page 2 for more thoughts on this film.
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.