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White House Down - Movie Review

1 star

If Roland Emmerich’s latest destruction-heavy flick, White House Down, was an intentional comedy he’d have been onto something rich.  This obvious Die Hard rip-off isn’t though and the resulting on-screen stupidity – reminiscent of early 1990s cornball actioneers at their low point - is an embarrassment for everyone involved…including the audience.  Trust that if you go (and you have the slightest amount of common sense), you’ll walk out of the theater with the popcorn bucket over your head, hiding your face from everybody.

Written by James Vanderbilt (who must be all of 12 years old), White House Down is the first movie I’ve seen that becomes a parody of itself in – oh – about three minutes of screen time, score and everything.  Everything falls flat.  Nothing sticks.  Even the jokes dropped by the cast kick their own punchlines in the ass.  This is what happens when Channing Tatum produces his own serious-minded action movie and gets Jamie Foxx to be a jive-talkin’, reebok-wearin’ president surrounded by a right-wing conspiracy that makes Archie comics look like the encyclopedia Britannica.

So what if we’ve seen this movie before with Olympus Has Fallen?  That film was a top-tier stinker that quickly tanked.  In fact, it was so forgettable that the EXACT SAME CONCEPT was agreeable by my own standards.  They got it wrong.  Maybe Tatum and Foxx can get it right.  I was open to the idea of Tatum as a single-dad (to a young daughter played by Joey King) DC policeman assigned to watch over Richard Jenkins as the Speaker of the House turned Commander-In-Chief sole protector when terrorists take on The White House.  Unfortunately, the whole thing turns into a messy slop of misguided fake patriotism and paramilitary goo in a matter of minutes.

Authenticity and entertainment go to the gallows pole and they never come back.  Not even the presence of James Woods and Maggie Gyllenhaal can steer this bozo-filled action no-brainer back on track.  It practically derails right from the start with Foxx’s request of his helicopter squad to “Do that thing”; a super low (and illegal) buzzing of the Lincoln monument.  Script-wise, it’s a sucker’s chance – among many – for Vanderbilt to drop some monument-sized “clues” on the audience…

…and the upstream swimming by cast and crew has just begun.

Emmerich, who famously blew up The White House in 1996’s Independence Day, then again in The Day After Tomorrow, and then again in 2012, does it once more with White House Down…except this time he is not too modest to reference that nugget of information within the movie.  I guess he hates the building.  Or the institution.  Or knows that Americans like to see important landmarks go “boom” so that they can later cheer on the death and destruction of some bad, bad domestic terrorists.  Regardless, the sad fact is that he still sacrifices enjoyment to over the top destruction that is so cartoonishly stupid that it defies purpose.

Just when I was coming around to Channing Tatum, White House Down comes out and proves that my original theory about his “talent” was, in fact, correct.  White House Down’s dumbed-down sense of jokiness and patriotism is for the birds only.[/tab]

[tab title="Film Details"]

White House Down - Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: PG-13 for prolonged sequences of action and violence including intense gunfire and explosions, some language and a brief sexual image.
131 mins.
: James Vanderbilt
: James Vanderbilt
Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx; Maggie Gyllenhaal; Jason Clarke; Richard Jenkins
Genre: Action | Thriller
It Will Start Like Any Other Day.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Roger that. We're holding the President in the library."
Sony Pictures Releasing
Official Site:
Release Date: June 28, 2013
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available

Synopsis: Capitol Policeman John Cale (Channing Tatum) has just been denied his dream job with the Secret Service of protecting President James Sawyer (Jamie Foxx). However, while on tour of the White House, he encounters a takeover by a heavily armed paramilitary group. Now all hopes rest on him.[/tab]

[tab title="Blu-ray Review"]

No details available.[/tab]

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