It’s déjà vu at the multiplex once again with the release of ‘White House Down’, only a few months after the other White House terrorist movie, ‘Olympus Has Fallen’. It's hardly the first time we’ve seen this happen... ‘Armageddon’ vs ‘Deep Impact’, ‘Volcano’ vs ‘Dante’s Peak’ and ‘A Bugs Life’ vs ‘Antz’. Unfortunately this is the nature of the beast, and it all boils down to “who did it better” rather than looking at two individual films. Allow me to save you some time: it’s ‘White House Down’. While ‘Olympus Has Fallen’ was a worthy adversary, ‘White House Down’ has that X factor that similar films of its genre (like ‘Die Hard’) also possessed, while others fell to their knees.
When Secret Service hopeful John Cale (Channing Tatum) takes his White House-obsessed daughter Emily (Joey King) on a tour of the infamous building, the pair find themselves in the middle of a paramilitary invasion, all under the leadership of an insider. Separated from each other during the takeover, John finds himself the soul protector of President Sawyer (Jamie Foxx) while his daughter finds her own unique way to try and help save the day.
From the get-go, seeing Roland Emmerich’s name on the poster (the guy who directed ‘Independence Day’ and ‘The Day After Tomorrow’), you know you’re in for a ride. Combine that with swoon-worthy Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx, both of whom have proven their action and comedic chops time and time again, and you’ve got one hell of a winning combination. Tatum and Foxx provide a surprisingly captivating on-screen partnership that makes for good laughs and great action.
Tatum and Foxx provide a surprisingly captivating on-screen partnership that makes for good laughs and great action.
With a $150 million budget (more than double that of it predecessor), you can definitely see where the money has been spent. An impressive amount of sets have been made, recreating a large portion of the White House, including areas never before seen on film. This makes for a great array of varying locations for action to take place - from hand-to-hand combat in the kitchen of the Presidential residence to a high-speed chase on the WH lawn while thousands of military personnel, media and bystanders watch in horror.
While ‘White House Down’ doesn’t deliver as many laughs as you’d expect from a movie of this type, the beauty is that you never want to laugh at it, merely cheer along when it gets borderline cheesy, all in good nature. Having said that, look out for scene stealer Nicolas Wright as Donnie the tour guide.
This is 100% popcorn entertainment. It’s exactly what you expect it to be and much more than you want it to be. Yes, it’s formulaic and predictable, but in the best possible way.