After The Day after Tomorrow, 2012 and Independence Day director Roland Emmerich has now decided it’s time to blow up the White House from within. No natural disasters or aliens needed, this time a handful of terrorists and a few corrupt politicians is all it takes. But of course there is a hero to hand to save the day.
John Cale (Channing Tatum) calls in a few favours and interviews for a job as secret service agent. Unlucky for him agent Finnerty (Maggie Gyllenhall) is not only sceptical of his abilities but knows him from his not so dashing past. Trying to not disappoint more women in his life Cale takes his angry teenage daughter Emily (Joey King) on a tour of the White House and of course politics obsessed Emily bumps into the Presidant (Jamie Foxx).
As luck would have it terrorist decided it’s the perfect day for a White House takeover and bring it down. But working class hero John won’t let this stop him from finding his daughter, who got lost in the ensuing chaos, and makes his way through gun-fire and falling debris only to find the Commander in Chief in need of a rescue. From then onwards John has a two-fold mission, find his daughter and save the President.
Like most “here-to save-the-day-movies” the character of John Cale is a close copy of Bruce Willis John McClane in Die Hard, only missing a few letters to his name and wearing the obligatory sweat stained tank top. But Tatum does a good job, not only does the shirt fit his physique beautifully, his charm and good delivery of one liners give White House Down a certain amount of flair and fun, not unlike the Die Hard series.
And it seems that America is in need of a new hero, making Tatums timing perfect, after all the ususual suspects are all getting a little too old : Bruce Willis is 55, Brad Pitt 49 and Will Smith 44. But while Tatum is the obvious star of White House Down, Foxx is a little too predictable and bland but does have some good lines. King on the other hand often steals the limelight and is one to watch in the future. And Gyhllenhall does what she always does, is pretty, a little quirky but really just the female on the sidelines.
So while White House Down doesn’t really do anything new and tells a story already told it is well written with maybe a few too many outrageous twists. The special effects are believable, but it is Tatum who upstages everything with his good looks, on screen charm and athletic bravado.
So if you like Die Hard and a bit of a on screen demolition White House Down is definitely one to watch.