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Movie review – White House Down

| 30 August 2013 | Reply

Directed by Roland Emmerich
Starring Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Maggie Gyllenhaal, James Woods
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

White House Down movie

Beefcake of the moment Channing Tatum steps into the shoes (and wife beater singlet) of one of Bruce Willis’s most popular characters, John McLane, in what should really be titled Die Hard In The White House!

White House Down is full of all the shoot ‘em up, blow ‘em up, crash into ‘em non stop action and laconic smarty pants quips that was the highlight of the Die Hard movies, and Tatum proves he’s not just eye candy by filling his portrayal of John Cale with human frailty, hope and charm.

In a nutshell, Cale takes his 11 year old estranged daughter Emily (an excellent Joey King) on a White House tour, the bad guys take over the place with help from an insider, and Cale’s the only one who can save the day, the country, and indeed the world.

It’s implausible as hell, and full of clichéd army generals ordering Delta Force raids and air strikes, psychopath redneck bad guys killing innocents to assert their ‘enemy’ status (as if every enemy of America can only be a heartless murderer devoid of compassion) and Jamie Foxx’s President Sawyer seems to be there more for a vague physical resemblance to the real Commander In Chief than any need for acting chops. In fact, his wise cracking seems out of place at times, though the interplay between him and Tatum does provide some laughs and heart.

Emmerich throws every piece of hardware he can at the screen – all the guns in the world, grenades, tanks, rocket launchers, fighter planes, nuclear submarines and an armoured plated Presidential limo all get their moment to go BANG, and the body count must have been enormous by the end of the show.

Reading the above, you may think I didn’t like the movie – quite the opposite, it is an excellent example of the genre, and the comparisons to Die Hard are more glaring even than I have made out! It is a genre movie though, and it’s important to be aware of what you’re in for before entering the cinema.

On the flipside of that coin, there are valid, important questions raised about loyalty, revenge, fatherhood, the self preservation instincts of the defence conglomerate, the outcry against a workable peace plan for the Middle East and exactly how goddam easy it would be to stage a home invasion on the President’s pad!

The most important thing is that White House Down is truly entertaining, whether you’re into the explosions, the witty one liners, the superfast chase and fight sequences, the deeper philosophical debates or just want to tune out for a couple of hours and watch the pretty lights flicker – there’s something here for just about anyone and they do it so well it’s near impossible not to like it, even if only for what it is.



Category: Movie & Theatre Reviews

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