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Review: White House Down

July 7, 2013

whdWhite House Down

  • Starring: Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street), Jamie Foxx (Collateral), Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Dark Knight) and more.
  • Directed by: Ronald Emmerich (Independence Day)
  • Synopsis: “In Columbia Pictures’ White House Down, Capitol Policeman John Cale (Channing Tatum) has just been denied his dream job with the Secret Service of protecting President James Sawyer (Jamie Foxx). Not wanting to let down his little girl with the news, he takes her on a tour of the White House, when the complex is overtaken by a heavily armed paramilitary group. Now, with the nation’s government falling into chaos and time running out, it’s up to Cale to save the president, his daughter, and the country.”
  • Rated: Rated PG-13 for language, violence and intense explosion/action sequences.
  • Must-Watch Trailer:
  • Review:

Before you start reading this review, please realize one thing: I’ve never been a big fan of Channing Tatum (a “Chan-Fan”). That being said, I gave this one a chance and must admit that, while White House Down contains plenty of flaws, Mr. Tatum is not one to be listed among them. Hit the jump to read my thoughts on White House Down.whitehouse


“Die Hard in DC 2” (a.k.a. White House Down) is the second of White House-destroying films to hit theaters this year. And, if this one had released before Olympus Has Fallen (review) I may have liked it more, but, alas, my suspension of belief allotment was fulfilled with the first one, causing my level of tolerance to lower while my level of frustration increased as the film progressed.White-House-Down-09

Ronald Emmerich must be a big fan of the television series 24 as this film plays out much like a season of the Jack Bauer centered series. That is a compliment. However, what 24 contains in a deep sense of realism and its threats, White House Down tends to throw to the wind as improbabilities and impossibilities flood the screen for sake of psuedo-excitment and drama.white

One of the things that frustrated me most about this movie was the sheer amount of improbability that takes place once the attack begins. Just as in Olympus Has Fallen, the response time of the US military, the sequence of events and most of the acting caused me to roll my eyes on more than one occasion. Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx lead a great cast with the support of other actors that includes Jason Clarke, Richard Jenkins, James Woods, Joey King, Maggie Gyllenhaal and more. It is just unfortunate that none of the acting is of merit (especially Jamie Foxx’s), with the exception of Channing Tatum and Joey King (who plays Agent Cale’s daughter, Emily).whdown

This long action film is full of action, explosions, decent CGI effects and laughs amid a rip-off plot and expected series of events. The hopeful sense of reality via the stakes at risk in the film serve as not much more than a masked jab at current political issues such as troops in the middle east, nuclear disarmament, constitutional loopholes that weaken the United States and more.

Here’s what works in the film:

  • The setting
  • Channing Tatum
  • The cliché “kid smarter than adults” (ironically)
  • The excitment


Here’s what doesn’t work in the film:

  • The plot
  • The plausibility/predictability of the story
  • Jamie Foxx
  • The villains
  • The comedy (takes away from the element of danger and minimizes it)
  • The improbability of all the events that took place

White House Down - trailer video

The “What If” factor is lost along with the reality of possibilities in this film. There came a point in time when I was half tempted to leave simply because of how frustrating the film was in its plot and its progression. If a film lays out the plot and predictability from the beginning, then what keeps you tuned in to the film? Closure? Perhaps. White House Down gives you the plot from the very beginning and force feeds it through so many unbelievable courses of events and expected happenings. Copying the first Die Hard almost entirely we all know how films like this end. whd

There are times that do work for White House Down. Unfortunately for the film (yet fortunate for the audience) they are times that it emulates other thrillers that were more original when they released. Films such as The Rock and Die Hard will come to mind while watching Channing Tatum fight his way through droves of bad guys in the White House.

Initially I feared it being far too comedic for my liking in the midst of such a serious and grave situation. Gladly I report that this was less comedic than the trailers painted it out to be but the comedy still seems loosely misplaced. The drama on the other hand plays just fine as Agent Cale and his daughter are the best and most important characters of the film.WHITE HOUSE DOWN

White House Down released 2 decades too late and perhaps Ronald Emmerich still wants to revel in his glory days but this one won’t stand the test of time like his other thrillers (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow). If watching Channing Tatum run around in a muscle shirt amid explosions and gun fights is for you, then go see this movie…otherwise, you can wait to rent it.

My Score: out of 5 stars for White House DownTWO stars

(Remember, to read this review of mine and over 250 more, check out THE ARCHIVE of movies I have reviewed anytime. Know before you go…or rent…or buy!)


Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!

T, The Focused Filmographer

up next: Movie News Monday and Review for Despicable Me 2

15 Comments leave one →
  1. July 7, 2013 4:58 pm

    Nice review. I enjoyed this a bit more than you did (I’d give it maybe a 3 out of 5), but agree with many of your points. It pretty much is a Die Hard rip-off and the movie is utterly predictable and bland, though it’s still better than A Good Day To Die Hard.


    • July 9, 2013 6:51 pm

      Appreciate the comment here, my friend. It is a Die Hard rip-off to be sure, and I liked where it was going and what it was doing with Tatum. I just didn’t like how it got there.


  2. July 7, 2013 10:16 pm

    Very, very silly movie that should not at all be taken seriously. Hence why it was actually fun to watch. Good review T.


    • July 9, 2013 6:52 pm

      a good point. it was silly, but perhaps it took itself too serious. ?? You had more fun watching than I. haha. and I’m glad that you did. Thanks so much for reading/commenting.


  3. Ted S. permalink
    July 8, 2013 2:31 am

    The reason why I really enjoyed this movie was because it didn’t take itself too seriously, seemed to me Emmerich was winking at the audience with all the silliness he’d shown in this film. But I totally understand if some people don’t like it, it’s a film that I will not defend if someone say is sucks. I didn’t hate Olympus Has Fallen but I didn’t really enjoy it either because it was so serious and tried too hard to be dark and edgy even though the premise was silly. Here I thought Emmerich understood that and went with a lighter tone.


    • July 9, 2013 6:53 pm

      Good points, Ted. See, I thought it, perhaps, took itself too seriously and try to mix it up with some comedy and the blend just didn’t work for me.

      I don’t know which one I ended up liking more now. OHF or WHD.


  4. July 8, 2013 5:46 am

    I just don’t think I can bring myself to watch this. I think there’s enough brainless stuff around at the moment that probably does it better than this. Maybe a rental, but probably not. Nice write up T.


    • July 9, 2013 7:00 pm

      that is true, man. There IS enough brainless stuff floating around, but this isn’t the worst of it. ha. Thanks for commenting


  5. July 8, 2013 5:59 am

    Good review! This thing really looked flat to me, so much so that I skipped it altogether. Foxx looked the worst in the trailers. Maybe I’ll give it a rent.


    • July 9, 2013 7:01 pm

      Foxx WAS the worst. Why did they pick him? meh. Let me know what you think when you rent it maybe


  6. July 8, 2013 12:36 pm

    I’ll probably end up seeing this on TV when it rolls around to the smaller screens. Looks like fun and something I’ll enjoy, but nothing I’m willing to pay for.


    • July 9, 2013 7:04 pm

      haha. “nothing I’m willing to pay for.” Love it Jaina! Wonderful to see you here. Thanks for reading/commenting.


  7. July 9, 2013 8:15 am

    2/5? Okay then. I’m still gonna catch this on Blu on release, because if it’s as stupidly good as Olympus Has Fallen, that’s okay with me. Woulda been interesting if they’d released both films at the same time, though…. 😉


    • July 9, 2013 7:05 pm

      I was thinking, it DEF woulda been interesting if both had released at the same time. I wonder if Gerard Butler woulda beat out Channing Tatum.



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