WHITE HOUSE DOWN (2013) : REVIEW

June 26, 2013

"I can’t think of a more important job than protecting the President."
Releasing a movie with the same-old formula just 3 months after the failure of the other (ehm Antoine Fuqua's Olympus Has Fallen), especially with Roland Emmerich's name behind it : a destruction seal? How brave. And I certainly appreciate the bravery, though I still couldn't help setting the lowest expectation I could give, because it's Roland Emmerich after all. Need I remind you that I wasn't watching this mainly because of Channing Tatum (I'm so sick of the stereotype of girls-enjoying-movie-because-of-the-handsome-actor-in-it). But, I do need to remind you to shut your brain down for good, because the next (too long and purposeless) 137 minutes will hurt.



John Cale (Channing Tatum) is an ex-military who works as one of US capitol police officers for The Speaker of The House Raphelson (Richard Jenkins), but he secretly wants more. His dream job will always be one of US Secret Service, the special forces who act as The President's securities. In the midst of his problematic relationship with his daughter (yes, a divorcee he is) Emily (Joey King), he then decided to take an interview at the White House in order to score his dream job and to prove his government-trivia-maniac daughter that he is a father to be looking up to. Bringing his daughter along him, he then joined in a White House tour after failing the interview, only to face a big threat coming ahead (speaking of the wrong-place-wrong-time formula). The White House is under attack by a group of caucasian terrorists, targetting the newly-elected president, James Sawyer (Jamie Foxx) after his controversial peace agreeement with the Middle East. Short story short, Emily went missing and it's up to John to bring her back. But, the problem doesn't end there; Cale finds himself in a peculiar and dangerous position : protecting the president.

Has Roland Emmerich being prohibited to spread green screens everywhere near the set? Because I can say that WHD doesn't really feel like one of Emmerich's movies. Yes, there're still a lot of riots and destructions and explosives, but it's harmless. In fact, this movie is what you called "action movie formula"; it's illogical and meaningless but it serves its purpose. It's downright cheesy and dumb with plot holes everywhere you turn, but it's entertaining. The script is as stupid as it can be; it's like watching a Scooby Doo on "How to save a political issue" and "Why is the White House under attack" edition, narrated by a wise 11-year-old, jumping from place to place, maintaining the pace as well making it as goofy as possible. The twists & turns are humble and light-hearted (and dumb), revealing a man behind man, so much of a disguise. As WHD getting more preposterous and silly, the humor it throws getting more misplaced (like that do-not-mess-with-the-antiques tour guide) but still able to deliver laugh. Just imagine this movie as a cat & dog game; endless chasing & running which seems impeccably meaningless and illogical (I mean, I don't think the White House security is that stupid, not knowing a bomb is being smuggled inside a laundry tray). It's just another movie with white people, revengeful hacker and former military squads playing with their toys, throwing noises and firepowers everywhere. It's dumb but it's fun.

Jamie Foxx as a president? Well, that's a strange one. He is good at throwing punchlines and "Don't touch the Jordans", but I just can't place him as a man whom most of Americans elected. He is funny with the strange-ish demeanor and knows how to play with rocket launcher, but he ain't no Obama (ups). As for Channing Tatum, he serves his purpose under those sleeveless shirt and bad-ass guns. He can do no martial-art, but he surely knows how to deliver laugh in the most chaotic moments (those limo chasing just stupid but LOL). Tatum-Foxx relationship has no chemistry but they are fit to work together, and that's enough. And certainly, don't mind Tatum's main intention, whether to save his daughter or the president, because it's disturbing and I hate it. Turn off your brain, I've warned you. As for Maggie Gyllenhaal, Joey King, Richard Jenkins, Jason Clarke, James Woods, and Nicholas Wright, they deliver an OK performance for a sidetracks, doing enough of their portions, though not as charming as everyone expected them to be. Enough is enough.

White House Down is just another stupid action movie with bitter-sweet laughs that will certainly entertain you. No need to think when you watch it; watch it as it is. I can't recommend anything, decide for your own good. Cheers.




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