Arriving after the bigger hit Olympus Has Fallen, this White House under attack flick makes that half-decent flick look like high art in comparison. White House Down is an absolutely ridiculous action flick that doesn’t seem to care how stupid it is.
Jamie Foxx plays the commander-in-Chief here and there isn’t one moment of the film that you believe that he could be the leader of the free world. He simply plays Jamie Foxx in a nicer suit. Channing Tatum plays Cale, a divorced cop who comes to the White House for a job interview with the Secret Service. He’s interviewed by his ex, Special Agent Finnerty (Maggie Gyllenhaal), and she thinks he’s just not up to snuff for the job. I wonder how their relationship will turn out by the end of the film. Eye roll.
The film spends the first act setting all these blatantly obvious plot points that almost scream “remember this for later!”. Although I never would have guessed that Cale missing his daughter’s talent show where she twirled flags would become a factor too. Well played.
Once the attack gets underway, it makes taking over the White House look like the easiest thing ever. Apparently all you need our a few guns to take out a handful of agents, and you’re in! Once Cale and the President team up to try to evade the bad guys in the White House, director Roland Emmerich and writer James Vanderbilt think they are making a Lethal Weapon movie. Cale and the President make so many jokes and clever remarks that it seems a little odd in the dire situation they are in.
It is fun at some points, especially a sequence where they are driving around the White House lawn in an armoured limo. It’s an entertainingly over-the-top action moment. The film really falls apart in its climax. It gives up even trying to apply any logic to things and just does whatever it wants. Cale’s ex wife shows up at the White House and is just able to walk right up the front lawn? Sure, why not. Once Cale’s daughter starts waving a big American flag on the lawn, you just can’t believe someone thought this was a good idea.
The film didn’t do very well at the box office, and rightfully so. Audiences deserve better than this thrown together action flick.