Posted by: ckckred | July 1, 2013

White House Down

America's only hope is in Channing Tatum's hands

America’s only hope is in Channing Tatum’s hands

After destroying the White House twice in Independence Day and 2012, director Roland Emmerich has now devoted an entire movie to the destruction of the building.  This time, the threat to the president’s home isn’t aliens or the USS John F. Kennedy, but a team of terrorists.

In a post-9/11 era, you’d assume destroying national landmarks would be off-limits but in the world of Hollywood blockbusters anything goes.  In the first half an hour of White House Down, the Capital building goes ablaze and priceless artifacts in the White House get destroyed (in one scene, a terrorist throws a knife at a painting of George Washington).  Plenty of things go boom in White House Down, a big, loud, noisy, picture that while rampant with stupidity is actually pretty enjoyable.

White House Down is what I call a Die Hard-picture, which is a film that takes Die Hard’s premise of the wrong guy at the wrong place at the wrong time and applies it somewhere else.  For example, Speed is Die Hard on a bus. White House Down is Die Hard in the White House.  In place of John McClane is the similarly named John Cale, played by Channing Tatum.  Tatum starts off his day by taking his daughter (Joey King) to the White House when he applies to the secret service.  But soon, a terrorist group comprised of rednecks, racists, and bureaucrats (the perfect combination of evil) soon take over our nation’s capital and threaten the security of the United States.  It’s now all up to McCale to save his daughter and the leader of the free world, played by Jamie Foxx.

White House Down doesn’t evolve much more than a standard action movie.  In fact, it’s the second White House themed movie of the year (with the other being Olympus Has Fallen).  White House Down most closely resembles Die Hard With A Vengeance, with Jamie Foxx taking Samuel L. Jackson’s role.  But while originality isn’t White House Down’s strong suit, it’s one of the more enjoyable action movies of the year.  In fact, it’s far superior to the latest installment of the Die Hard franchise, A Good Day To Die Hard.

Am I calling White House Down a good movie?  Well, it’s pretty badly written and horribly cornball (there are scenes so schmaltzy that the film has more syrup than a bad day at an iHop), but White House Down embraces its own stupidity.  Emmerich’s best movie, Independence Day, did the same as well and while it is filled to the brim with brainless action and obvious plot holes it’s fun to watch.  Compare that to Emmerich’s 2012 or Godzilla, which were intolerable since they took themselves too seriously.  While this doesn’t make White House Down a quality film (it’s barely even mediocre), it’s nice watching an action picture that doesn’t try to be overly dark this season like Man of Steel.  I can’t recommend White House Down (if you have time, watch Before Midnight or rent Mud instead), but if you’re looking for some dumb entertainment, this is your best bet.


  1. i must admit to rather enjoying Roland Emmerich’s films (not all of them, mind you) – when he embraces the stupidity of his outlandish plots, they’re a lot of fun (and generally pretty awesome in terms of spectacle!). Olympus Has Fallen was fairly unrelenting and, although I’m yet to be convinced of Gerard Butler as any kind of leading man, it was enjoyable enough. I’m still confident that, of the two, Emmerich’s movie is going to be more stupid and more entertaining because of it. Your review has helped to keep this hope alive, so thanks! 😎

    • Thanks for commenting. I think you’d enjoy this if you liked Emmerich’s other movies.

  2. I have to go see this, as the wife wants to see Channing. Payback for the horror I make her watch apparantlyl! At least you make it sound like I wont hate it 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment. It’s pretty generic and dumb, but I have to admit I enjoyed myself.

  3. As much as I like Jamie Foxx, I’m starting to get sick of ‘dumb entertainment’. Same old same old action films that bring nothing new to the genre.

    • This doesn’t do anything new, but I have to admit I had fun, though I can’t even call it mediocre. Jamie Foxx though seemed really bored in the movie. Thanks for commenting.

  4. “there are scenes so schmaltzy that the film has more syrup than a bad day at an iHop” LOL!

    It was ok. I didn’t love it all that much, but I didn’t hate it, either. I’ll grant you that it was better than A Good Day to Die Hard though, that movie was AWFUL. 😯

    • Yeah, it wasn’t great but fun to watch, despite its cheesy plot. A Good Day To Die Hard was pretty abysmal, it makes this look like Citizen Kane in comparison.

  5. Sounds like a good time. Still have not watched this, but hope to be able soon!

    • Thanks for commenting. It’s mediocre, but it’s fun to watch.

  6. Awesome, nice review, and really glad you enjoyed it so much! 😀

  7. Great review. Really dumb one, but also a fun one to watch as well. Can’t go too wrong with that I dont think.

    • Thanks! Yeah, it’s pretty dumb, but I have to admit I enjoyed the film.

  8. I liked this film way more than I thought I would. Lots of people have said it – but this should have been Die Hard 4.

    • Thanks! I enjoyed it as well. I wouldn’t call it good, but I had a lot of fun. This was far better than the recent Die Hard movie.

  9. “America’s only hope is in Channing Tatum’s hands.” That’s a scary thought. 🙂 Nice review.

  10. I must admit, when this flopped, I wasn’t surprised. Even given your rave review, I think I’m gonna have to pass on this. It just looks awful.

    • I didn’t like it, but I had fun. I can’t recommend it at all, but it’s enjoyable, if hollow, entertainment. Thanks for commenting.

  11. Roland Emmerich’ is one of the worst directors to ever live. What’s worse is most general film fans seem to enjoy his films.

    Nice review; definitely agree about the Die Hard comments.

    • Thanks! Yeah, I agree about Emmerich. He’s made some pretty awful movies. While I semi-enjoyed this, it’s pretty bad.

  12. I might give this a rent, but I’ve already seen an exploding white house in Olympus Has Fallen this year, ahah. I’m not a big fan of Channing, but a lot of people seem to love him. I’m a bit surprised this flopped, not that I’m saddened by it by any means.

    • Thanks for commenting. There’s no need to see this, there’s much better movies around. I’m surprised this flopped as well, but I guess it means audiences want more original films.

  13. Seems very odd that there’s been both this and Olympus has fallen this year. Is America having some kind of national security crisis or something?! Think I’ll be giving this a miss. Nice review mate.

    • Thanks! There’s no need in seeing this.

  14. Is this better than the very average Olympus Has Fallen?

    • I actually have not seen Olympus Has Fallen so I can’t comment. It’s quite dumb, but I enjoyed it as lowbrow entertainment. Thanks for commenting.

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