White House Down

Jamie Foxx and Channing Tatum are the America saving duo in the second action thriller set in the White House this year.

A day trip to the White House with his politics mad but distant daughter Emily (Joey King) goes horribly awry for ex soldier and surveillance man John Cale (Channing Tatum), when the iconic building is attacked by everyone from white supremists to hacktivists. Things go from bad to worse and it seems there is no way out for President Sawyer (Jamie Foxx) until he teams up with Cale, and the pair fight for the White House, America, and the presidency.

It’s a fun film that doesn’t require too much concentration. It’s got laughs, good-looking action sequences, and it’s easy to get sucked in to the world of the film. It’s also pretty cool to see the White House being destroyed so convincingly, moments of destruction which reminded me of the Slitheen flying into Big Ben in Doctor Who. There are some great throwaway lines of dialogue (“The Vice President’s just been sick on the floor of air force one”), and a very wide selection of bad guys who all feel they’ve been let down by the president (my favourite is the hacktivist). You wouldn’t want any of these guys in your house, let alone all of them.

President Sawyer is basically a love letter to 2008 Obama – he flies past the Lincoln memorial and tells his security how Lincoln was the first president to consider giving women the vote. He swaps his smart shoes for Air Jordans mid chase and his wife looks awfully like another president’s wife you might know…

At just over two hours it feels too long though, and running endlessly around the White House begins to wear a bit thin. The shoot outs aren’t very satisfying; it’s a bit too easy to mow down the White House guards, and a bit too difficult to kill any of the bad guys. If the White House was under attack like this would it really be so simple? It’s hard enough to get through airport security, let alone take over the president’s house. And although Emily Cale’s obsession with politics is explained, it feels a bit too necessary to the plot. Her character isn’t quite strong enough for her not to just be seen as a dramatic and plot device.

It’s a film for Americans. In places it’s so patriotic it’s almost nauseating, but Foxx and Tatum are enjoyable and the action’s fun. Worth an Orange Wednesday watch with some pals.


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