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White House Down

White House Down: Foxx & Tatum in a White House Letdown

  • Channing TatumJamie Foxx...
  • Action & AdventureDrama
  • Roland Emmerich
reviewed by
Marija Loncarevic
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White House Down: Foxx & Tatum in a White House Letdown

Fans of Roland Emmerich’s work will be surprised to learn that the director’s latest motion picture has very little to do with environmental catastrophes, alien invaders or any other otherworldly and extraterrestrial occurrences. His previous work in films such as the Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow and 2009’s end-of-the world hit 2012, has earned him recognition as one of the most saught after directors in the Hollywood blockbuster realm.

So, where did it all go wrong?

Meet John Cale (Tatum); a divorced Security Officer working for Capitol Hill who spends his days providing protection for the Speaker of the House, Eli Raphelson (Jenkins).  Aspiring to become just a little bit more than your everyday bodyguard, John – an ex-soldier who served his country with three tours in Afghanistan – is hoping to secure a Secret Service position, with the intention to protect President James Sawyer (Foxx). 

However, in order to get there, he needs to impress hard-nosed Secret Service supervisor, Carol Finnerty (Gyllenhaal).  Surprising his politically-oriented eleven-year old daughter, Emily (King), with a day-pass to the White House, John takes her along for the big day. Unfortunately, his dreams are soon crushed when he learns that his previous record of poor follow-through – from his hell raising college days – is standing in the way of reaching his goal.  Crestfallen and dejected, John is about to leave when he gets dragged on a tour of the White House by his daughter, who is eager to explore the grounds.

Things, naturally, take a surprising turn when the White House falls under attack by a group of terrorists, led by Stenz (Clarke), psycho-man Killick (Rankin) and a computer-wiz, Skip Tyler (Simpson). Several people are killed and others taken hostage, including Emily. Now, not only does he have to do everything he can to get his daughter back, but he must save and protect the President, all the while shooting and eliminating baddies.  

Suffering from a bad case of ‘too little too late’, White House Down sports a very similar – if not exactly the same – idea to the recently released Olympus Has Fallen; and just like its unintentional forerunner, it is one disappointing sloppy mess.

Half an hour too long, the story by James Vanderbilt doesn’t seem to know where it wants to go and who it wants to be. Is it a buddy-comedy, à la Lethal Weapon? Or is it a serious political-drama? No one can tell for certain. On the plus side, the action sequences are relatively distracting and offer a few entertaining moments, even though most of them seem to be accompanied by a heavy dose of absurdity and silliness. 

All of the performances are bearable, with most of the credit going to Tatum and Foxx who manage to keep their heads just above water. Foxx keeps his character grounded and relatively likable, while Tatum’s tough-guy persona – although mostly cheesy – delivered the punches.  Jenkins, Gyllenhaal and Woods do little to harm their reputations, but aren’t given the screen time that their talents warrant.

Scrappy, senseless and unnecessary, there is very little that this latest shamble of an action-flick has to offer. Has Emmerich lost his touch?

Like This? Try

Olympus Has Fallen (2013), Independence Day (1996), Die Hard (1988)

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Attention Channing Tatum fans! Your man is soon to appear in a story of an Olympic Wrestling Champion, Mark Shultz , in Bennett Miller drama, Foxcatcher - starring along Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo and Siena Miller.    

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