Roland Emmerich, the king of disaster films makes yet another falling building, explosion filled action/comedy extravaganza with White House Down. Seriously, this has nearly every 80’s, 90’s action film cliché thrown into one giant cheese filled romp. But for me what worked so well for this is the fact that it embraces the ridiculous nature of its wildly unrealistic premise. Channing Tatum is the hero, the only one that can save the day. The entire U.S. military can’t do a damn thing to stop these bad guys but Tatum can! Jamie Foxx is the President who at times tries way too hard to emulate Obama although one could argue that his role was in some ways at least modeled after the real POTUS, so trying to differentiate himself would be extremely difficult.
It’s really a hit or miss for me when it comes to Emmerich; on one hand he makes a disaster of a film (pun completely intended) like 2012 which was terrible but he makes a movie like WHD with a similar kind of humor about it and it works for some reason. I suppose it’s the fact that the end of the world may not be the right time for stupid jokes, not to mention the commercials for 2012 tried to peg it as more serious than it turned out to be. Maybe that’s why this worked so well; they learned from their mistakes and made it quite obvious that this was going to have its fair share of comedy. I knew better going in with this one that it was going to be silly and just a popcorn flick to enjoy while the heat cooks the inside of your car. Enjoy that second degree burn from your seat belt! 😉 It was 122 degrees Fahrenheit when I got into my truck after the movie; isn’t air conditioning awesome!?
When John Cale has an interview at the White House for a job with the Secret Service he sees an opportunity to get closer with his angry little daughter Emily. She just happens to be obsessed with the whole Washington D.C. lifestyle that politicians get to lead. So when her dad surprises her with tickets to visit that house that is in fact white she becomes filled with glee. (That is, happiness, not that stupid show on FOX that should get cancelled.) After a not so smooth interview, father and daughter take the tour around the house. As they look around the attack begins. Explosions, gunshots and screams explode all in a moment of pandemonium and chaos. With measures taken to ensure that no rescue attempt is made the military and any other outside assistance is essentially rendered useless. Only one man can save the day, John Cale to the rescue!!
As ridiculous as this film is one thing I have to give it is the realism in how it portrays the media. With no rhyme or reason the news outlets just start spouting out crap-nonsense which I think we can all agree is extremely accurate. “Oh hey, I have this idea this is in no way based on fact or even theory or logic, I think I’ll report it to the world! Yeah, what could go wrong?!” I am bitter about this. Other than this small accuracy the rule book for realism is thrown out the metaphorical window into the metaphorical fan where a certain bodily substance has just struck.
I don’t think a review for this movie can be written without comparing it to Olympus Has Fallen, another film with an almost identical premise. Details are changed but for the most part they’re both the same movie. However I feel that White House Down is a much better film for one simple reason; the stupidity and hokey nature is fully embraced and it works because of this. OHF tries way too hard to be serious in a completely ridiculous situation that is more implausible than finding the closet to Narnia. White House Down is a fun, silly, action packed popcorn flick that should be viewed with friends and with a lack of seriousness. Do not see this if you want a serious action film, seek elsewhere for that. The level of cheese in White House Down makes Fast & Furious 6 look like an Oscar contender for best picture. Many, many will hate this but I actually had a great time watching it because it’s not meant to be taken anyway but lightly and if you go in with this mentality then you should enjoy it too. And if you’re into dudes, Channing Tatum is all handsome and stuff… I mean if you like that kind of thing. No judgments here.
Rated PG-13 for: prolonged sequences of action and violence including intense gunfire and explosions, some language and a brief sexual image
Run Time: 131 minutes
After Credits Scene: None
Starring: Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, James Woods, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Richard Jenkins, Jason Clarke
Directed By: Roland Emmerich
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 2.5/ Acting: 3/ Directing: 3.5/ Visuals: 4.5
OVERALL: 3.5 Nerdskulls
Check out the trailer below: