White House Down is an action-packed, high adrenaline time at the theatre. Filled with more explosions probably than people who visited the White House this year, Roland Emmerich once again attempts to lever the White House as he did in “Independence Day.”
The plot starts out somewhat engaging. John Cale (Channing Tatum), a U.S. Capitol Police officer, is trying to up his game, both in his career and his personal life with his divorced wife and his 11-year-old daughter, Emily (Joey King).
Now John wants to be a secret service agent. He takes Emily along with him for his interview. However, a go around with Secret Service supervisor (Maggie Gyllenhaal), isn’t too successful. She reads off reports from previous jobs and one after another renders John not up to par in the accountable arena. “You have a lack of respect for authority,” she tells John.
John leaves disappointed but can’t let on to Emily he didn’t get the job. Instead they join a group getting ready for a tour. While President James Sawyer (Jamie Foxx) returns to the White House, a full-scale armed invasion of domestic terrorists is spilling into every crevice in the White House with the intent to kill the President and level the Whitehouse.
Before the action gets too intense, the President pauses by the tour group to dazzle them with some basic White House history. Every question he asks, Emily answers. Seems she’s obsessed with White House history.
Nicolas Wright, King, Tatum
And this is where the interesting plot ends. The rest of the movie is watching every protocol of the White House security fail – which obviously points to someone on the inside. Suspects include the Speaker of the House (Richard Jenkins), Walker (James Woods, really solid in this role), the retiring chief of presidential security, and General Caufield (Lance Reddick).
Oddly enough everyone who is supposed to protect the President goes down, so John jumps to the chance to protect him. Stenz (Jason Clarke) heads the thugs who create havoc with everything from blowing up part of the White House and Presidential Planes to setting up missiles to attack countries around the world.
This might have been fun had it not all been done before, especially in “Independence Day.”) Even the good job by Emily to help thwart the thugs, can’t overcome the tedious blow-ups and situations that were totally improbable. But one can’t say Tatum didn’t earn his money on this one with all the stunts he had to do.
Photo Credit: Reiner Bajo / Columbia Pictures