“White House Down” – Review by Jake Peffer

White House Down - trailer video

White House Down stars Channing Tatum as John Cale, a Capitol Policeman who has just been denied the job of Secret Service agent for President James Sawyer (Jamie Foxx). Cale takes his daughter Emily (Joey King) on a tour of the White House because she is a huge fan of politics. While on the tour, the White House is overtaken by a paramilitary group out to capture the President as well as completely take over the White House. With him being the only person capable of taking down this group, Cale has to do whatever he can to save his daughter, the President and the White House.

This film is directed by Roland Emmerich who is best known for blowing up the White House in films like Independence Day and 2012. Once again he’s attacking the White House as the title states and surprisingly it’s actually somewhat entertaining. White House Down is one of two films that came out in 2013 about the White House being overtaken, the other being Olympus Has Fallen, and this ended up being the better of the two. Roland Emmerich takes a different approach than Antoine Fuqua where Olympus Has Fallen felt like it was trying to be a little too serious White House Down knows it’s a big, dumb action movie and doesn’t try to be anything else.

Right from the get go you can easily tell how the entire film is going to play out but there’s enough going on and it’s entertaining enough to keep you interested. Most of the action sequences are pretty good and the specials effects are good except for in a few scenes here and there. Nobody in the cast gives a particularly good performance but everyone does a decent enough job to keep things moving. Joey King was a nice surprise, however because she is really good here considering she’s fairly young, she’s actually better than a lot of the veteran actors. Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx are kind of going through the motions but their chemistry together works very well which is a highlight of the film. Everyone else from Maggie Gyllenhaal to Jason Clarke to James Woods are all fine in their roles but most aren’t given much to do.

Even though the film is entertaining in some ways it certainly has quite a bit of negatives. The film is just a little too long; 15-20 minutes could have been cut because after a while it just feels like the same things keep happening. To go along with some bad CG from time to time, there are quite a bit of shots where you can clearly tell it’s a green screen shot. Just to have a monument in the background at all times outside of the White House feels like a lot to go through if you can’t make it look somewhat better. It also feels like it takes too long for the takeover to begin at the White House. It’s understandable to develop some of the characters but it just felt like it was taking too long.

Verdict: In the end, White House Down has some fun action scenes and great chemistry between Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx. It is a little too long and feels like it panders around from time to time but nonetheless the film is entertaining enough to recommend.

Grade: B-

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