Starring: Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Richard Jenkins, James Woods, Joey King (Rated M – 131 min).
If it’s mindless action with any excuse to blow things up or cause carnage without valid reason, this is the movie for you. Patriotic from the start all the way to a flag waving little girl towards the finale, this movie disregards audience intelligence in favour of unbelievable excessive turmoil.
Washington DC Capitol Hill has been compromised by fearless terrorists and only one man, a lone wolf civilian can save the President trapped inside. If you think you may have seen this assault on screen already, that’s because you have. Practically identical, albeit superior, not by much, Olympus Has Fallen was released only a few months ago which I referred to as Die Hard in the White House due to its blatant unoriginality. White House Down commits further plagiarism with added fruity dialogue.
As heroic in name (Johnny Cale) as he is in stature, man of the moment, Channing Tatum knows his role is to take off his shirt to fight the bad guys while expressing sarcastic one-liners just like Bruce Willis. There is even a scene in an elevator shaft. Rejected from his dream job of Secret Service detail, Cale is coaxed into taking a tour of the grounds by his pre-teen daughter who loves politics (as all kids do) went along in support of her wayward dad. Dressed as sound equipment workers and cleaners, a bunch of mysterious men somehow enter through security with a full arsenal hidden within their mop and buckets.
Things get even more ridiculous when they capture President Sawyer (Jamie Foxx) forcing him to use his identification codes to tap into the war room, you know the one where the big red button is under a glass dome that can trigger a nuclear attack. Borderline comical scenes follow when the focus is meant to be on physical duress, rivalling the plot holes that are so huge a black hawk helicopter could land in them.
Still worried about his daughter being identified as collateral, Cale manages to swipe the leader of the free world away from his kidnappers of stars and stripes, the pair take the deluge head on. All too obvious double crosses of incompetent staff on the outside quiver at decision making on what to do next. Maggie Gyllenhaal almost shows emotion, while veteran James Woods seemingly growls more than he speaks, which is fine because he is James Woods. Australia’s own Jason Clarke (Great Gatsby) plays the terrorist leader with ease and fresh from success in The Conjuring, young Joey King is convincing as the estranged daughter in peril. In a blaze.
Summing up the insane action in this consistently stupid film is a car chase around the Presidential lawn during an irrational order of an air strike by the nervous military. Where is Arnold Schwarzenegger when you need him?
Shane A. Bassett