Does White House Down suffer from the recent release of Olympus Has Fallen? The thing is, other than the titular abode coming under attack -- the two films could not be more different.
Channing Tatum is a capitol police officer and war vet, who dreams of serving and protecting the president of the United States. See, he is a father to a tween girl who lives with her mother and has replaced her father as hero with... POTUS?!
Well then, what better way to win back her admiration than to get a job as the guy charged with protecting the leader of the free world? When Tatum heads to the White House for his Secret Service interview, he brings his daughter and the Cold War between father and daughter begins to thaw.
We learn early in White House Down that President Sawyer (Jamie Foxx) has just returned from a Middle East peace mission that is not sitting well with the hawks in the government -- a move that is as blatant as plot foreshadowing can get. We can see our villain and his motives coming a mile away.
But would you expect anything less from a Roland Emmerich movie? From Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow to 2012, coyly setting up the plot and the conflict is not what Emmerich is about. He's a get to the action type of storyteller and his audience expects nothing less. And they will not be disappointed with White House Down.
As the story criss-crosses from the congress building to Tatum's interview inside the White House, we know trouble is moments away, but what is so fun in a film like this is the protagonist does not see it coming. After a less than stellar interview with Maggie Gyllenhaal's Secret Service agent, Tatum takes his daughter on a tour of America's house. An explosion at the capitol sets off a chain of events that will conclude with the White House in utter peril, and guess who is going to save the day?
If the White House Down trailer gives one the impression that this is a Die Hard-type film -- that is not exactly far off. But, what sets this experience apart is the chemistry between Foxx and Tatum. Whereas Bruce Willis’ John McClane fights his way through Nakatomi Plaza solo, audiences get Tatum with a sidekick -- who happens to be the president of the United States.
What also makes White House Down differ from past Emmerich adventures (and Olympus Has Fallen for that matter) is that the film feels more like a buddy cop action thriller. Tatum and Foxx work well together and it is a joy to watch. The film dares you not to enjoy the movie. The two leads are clearly having a ball, and so should you.
The film is longer than it needs to be and one could question its use of the constitution and its rules for succession. But, you don't go to the movies to see a White House Down expecting a history lesson or even something that even closely resembles a story grounded in reality. Knowing that, our White House Down review can report that it is a thrill ride, albeit a little shallow. And the electricity between Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx… well let's just say that we want to see those two pair up again.
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