OVERALL GRADE: C+
AUDIENCE: No one under 12
BIG or SMALL SCREEN: Big
RATED: PG-13 for prolonged sequences of action and violence including intense gunfire and explosions, some language and a brief sexual image.
"So, you want to make history?" "No, I don't want to make history, I want to make a difference."
Roland Emmerich's latest effort is definitely not a history maker, (being the third film in which he blows up the white house) yet it does make a difference when it comes to the current trend of political thrillers. 'White House Down' is filled with more action than the Playboy mansion; men hotter than the current sexiest man alive; and a plot that is practically the same as every other. Still-grab your popcorn and sit back for one of the biggest adventures of the summer.
Channing Tatum is John Cale, a former U.S. soldier who is desperately attempting to form a relationship with his daughter, white house-obsessed Emily (the loveable Joey King). Cale manages to secure an interview for a position with the Secret Service, but the process goes awry once he realizes that an old college acquaintance, Carol Finnerty (a typical Maggie Gyllenhaal) is the deciding force. Finnerty knows of Cale's resistance to commitment, therefore he leaves the office empty-handed. However, all is not lost, as Cale and his daughter decide to go on an inevitable tour of the white house, where the terrorist attacks take over the rest of the screen time.
The cast is well versed, with actors old and new involved in every aspect of saving the president. Tatum is just as entertaining and gorgeous as always, although he manages to keep his shirt on throughout the film. Jamie Foxx, while hilarious, is nowhere near believable as President James Sawyer, instead returning as a better dressed Django, truly unchained. Despite this, Tatum and Foxx are a good combination. Completing the trio is King, who is great when it comes to catching the bad guys. She continuously surprises the audience, always keeping them on their toes.
Obviously, 'White House Down' has to be compared to the other political thriller of the year, 'Olympus Has Fallen', as the 2 films were only released 3 months apart. While Antoine Fuqua's attempt garnered more fans at the box office, Emmerich deserves just as much kudos when it comes to the action. This film never fades, and slowly chips away at the truth-enough that the answer everyone is looking for is not revealed until the very end. Overall, it is Tatum that is the deciding factor, as he is a more relatable leading man than Gerard Butler. Most should find Emmerich's film more fun.
Afflicted with bad reviews and heavy competition, 'White House Down' has become labeled as yet another 'box office blunder' of the summer. To that, I say: don't judge a book by its cover. Especially if that cover includes Channing Tatum.
'White House Down' Trailer:
Want another review? Check out the phenomenal Peter Travers of Rolling Stone