German director Roland Emmerich’s (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow) latest action flick, not surprisingly, features his usual assortment of dazzling special effects, snappy one liners and an outlandish plot that features a major conflict. The formula for Emmerich has been a successful one, with most of his film’s reaching blockbuster status at the box office.
This time, instead of aliens or global warming as the villains, it’s a group of highly trained American radicals that take over the White House and pose a major threat to national security. The terrorist group is well-coordinated, brutal and are all great marksmen, except when they are trying to take out Channing Tatum or Jamie Foxx.
Cale (Tatum) is on a tour of the White House with his 11 year old daughter when the U.S. Capitol is bombed and the President’s residence is locked down and overrun with gun wielding rebels. Separated from his daughter at the time of the lockdown, Cale manages to escape the grasp of the bad guys in order to look for her, but he soon finds himself dodging bullets and firing back a few of his own. President Sawyer (Foxx) is initially protected by Secret Service in the Oval Office, but soon learns that he can’t trust all of his agents.
Maggie Gyllenhaal, Richard Jenkins, and especially James Woods deliver solid performances in supporing roles, with Woods standing out in a devious role that will be familar to fans of his previous work.
White House Down won’t be winning any of the major honours at awards ceremonies over the next couple of months, but it does deliver in several areas that makes it well worth a watch. The special effects and action sequences are top notch, as to be expected with an Emmerich movie, and the on-screen chemistry between Foxx and Tatum is also enjoyable. Despite the movie’s runtime exceeding two hours, it doesn’t feel that long and keeps viewers well-entertained throughout. It’s almost refreshing to see a group of Americans as the antagonists, and while there is a degree of flag-waving patriotism, at least it isn’t the same tired plot of foreigners terrorizing the United States.
Like last week’s film, R.I.P.D., don’t expect White House Down to be thought provoking or groundbreaking, but do expect to see plenty of action and special effects. White House Down is a good, albeit unspectacular, Friday night popcorn flick. For that reason, I’ll give it 8 out of 10.
White House Down is now available to rent or buy on Blu-Ray and DVD at Kicking Horse Movies