Scaled Down Olympus

             White House Down


It seems like only months ago we had a movie where the White House was being taken over by a terrorist group and only one man could stop it.  Oh wait, that was only months ago.  Hi Robbie K is back with the latest action blockbuster to strike theaters, which one again features the federal government’s inability to keep their kingdom secure.  However, rather than seeing former Spartan Gerard Butler hunt down terrorist cell soldiers we instead get the object of women’s affection Channing Tatum as our hero at arms.  Does this movie have what it takes to stand among the stars, or is it a poorly timed follow up that offers nothing more than lady eye candy and some comedic spin?  Read on to find out.

I still haven’t figured out why the White House is the object of Hollywood’s affection, but the royal castle seems to be easier to infiltrate with each film.  Before I get into that though let’s start at the very beginning of Tatum’s character Cale trying to make amends for some of his short sightings as a father by taking his daughter Emily (Joey King) to the president’s home.  After failing an interview led by agent Finnerty (Maggie Gyllenhaal), Cale tries to put aside his failure by going on a tour in hopes of making ground with his daughter.  Cue the terrorists, who walk into supposedly one of the most secure places on Earth without so much as a second glance despite their shady looks.  These crooks open with a bang, literally, and wipe the floor with the trained security, striking with accuracy that most video game players can only dream they had.  Could it be that everyone in the white house is incredibly stupid, or it is just a super fake infiltration that the directors hope will be ignored as long as they get their fill of Channing?  I don’t know, but for this reviewer it’s a rather lame opening.  Despite the incredible skills and incredibly easy infiltration, throw in the pretty face of Tatum and it all goes to hell.  Either the terrorists are blinded by his looks, or Tatum has some type of force field that deflects bullets, but the dancing stripper seems immune to harm for most of the movie.  Despite this unrealistic twist, the action is still fun and exciting to watch as firefights rip up the prestigious walls, with a few “suspenseful” sneak moments to keep things intense.  Throw in a few chase scenes and some big guns and vehicles, and you get the ajority of what this movie has to offer. What might be a positive to some movie goers is that this action flick is less graphic/intense than what we saw in Olympus has fallen a.k.a. less graphic torture and less gore.

Most female audience members didn’t seem to be that into the action though, as they were too busy eyeing up Mr. Channing.  In a noble attempt to be like John McClane from Die Hard, Tatum didn’t do a half bad job playing the serious action role.  No longer throwing out cheesy puns and corny one liners, Tatum had some edge to his character that made him deadly and respectful.  However, he is not a sociopathic lone wolf that most heroes tend to adopt in today’s movies, as his daughter drives a majority of his adrenaline fueled frenzies.  Though the “evolution” of his character shows him forming other bonds that are supposed to keep the story thrilling. One of those just happens to be the saving grace of the movie for me President Sawyer (Jamie Foxx) as the comedic relief.  Within the “suspenseful” action, Foxx keeps to his character as he provides us some information and showing the stress of the presidential job.  Even more inspiring is this strength is not just in front of the camera, or within a safe house, but also in the heat of battle as he covers his rescuer.  As I mentioned though he is funny, delivering normal lines with just the right touch to make me laugh numerous times.  Some of the situational comedy is also fun as well, but most of these instances you’ve seen in the trailers, so there isn’t as much surprise  Regardless, Foxx and Tatum interact well and I could see myself enjoying their work again, though hopefully not a sequel to this film.

Of course it wouldn’t be one of my reviews without a little more info would it?  The story of this movie is very linear with Tatum going to point A, killing a bad guy or two, and then moving on, but there are a few surprises thrown in the mix for the audience.  It’s got some heartwarming moments, and some suspense, but keep your eyes open and your senses about you and you can keep yourself calm through most of the movie.  The camera work is impressive as well, keeping up with all the excitement without making me dizzy in the process.  I also did enjoy the setting and collection of various offices coming together to face the crisis and seeing the emergency process unfold as the mission keeps changing with each passing minute, which kept me involved in the movie.  What takes away from this epic process are two things:  1) Why is every character a hero fights for an idiot?  The hostages in this movie, one in particular has some attitude, heart, and stealth, but that goes to hell about halfway in the movie and transforms into pathetic whining and crying.  That’s just a minor thing though compared to the overdone liberal messaging this movie filled itself with.  Once again Hollywood has somehow attacked other countries, despite our own citizens being the culprits again.  I’ve said it before, but our storyboard staff keeps painting the target bigger and bigger on America.  They filled the movie with lots of dialog that blamed Arabic nations for our problems, and then filled the camera with pride filled shot of the American and presidential flags.  We get your proud, but don’t overdo it guys.

In my opinion White House Down was just poorly timed in its release when a better and more intense version came out only months ago.  It’s not as hard hitting action, it’s too much a copy of Die Hard, and while balanced just lacks a lot of essential plots to state this movie worthy of a theater visit.  However if you have an obsession with Channing Tatum or Jamie Foxx, or just need some “patriotic” fun to stir the citizen inside you, you’ll enjoy this film more than I did.  My score for this film is

Action/Drama/Thriller:  7.0

Movie Overall:  6.5


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