Thursday, July 4, 2013

WHITE HOUSE DOWN: An Entertaining "Die Hard" in the White House

July 4, 2013

At first, I did not want to watch "White House Down" anymore, since we just had one "Die Hard at the White House" movie earlier this year called "Olympus Has Fallen" (MY REVIEW). However, my curiosity to compare these two similarly-themed films got the better of me, so on this Fourth of July (coincidentally), I went and checked it out. And what do you know, I was actually more entertained by this one.

"White House Down" is about a day when a group of disgruntled ex- servicemen with big grudges against the government attacks the White House, aiming to capture the peace-loving President James Sawyer (Jamie Foxx) alive in order to launch nuclear attacks to various targets all over the world. 

Of course, it just so happened that Afghanistan veteran John Cale (Channing Tatum) was in the White House that very day with his precocious political video blogger daughter Emily (Joey King), joining a White House tour. He was the one variable the bad guys did not count on when planning their violent takeover.

Initially I thought that the choice of Jamie Foxx as the President of the USA was all wrong, given his background in low-brow comedy. While watching though, Foxx and his great comedic timing is the ingredient that makes this film work so well. Channing Tatum continues his streak of high profile roles, and he does a good Bruce Willis impression in this one. The chemistry between these two guys kept the action going and the audience rooting for them, despite some pretty preposterous situations they got themselves into.

As for the veteran supporting cast, Maggie Gyllenhaal does well as a dedicated Secret Service Agent, as do James Woods as the Head of the Secret Service and Richard Jenkins as the Speaker of the House. Nicolas Wright, the guy who played the White House tour guide Donnie, is very funny.  But young Joey King makes a positive impression as Emily Cale, John's gutsy pre- teen daughter. She has a vibrant and expressive face that hopefully graces more films in the future.

Director Roland Emmerich ("Independence Day," "The Day After Tomorrow," "2012") does what he does best, delivering an explosive and exciting film that audiences will enjoy watching. The exposition at the beginning took its time, at times even looking like a White House tour video. But when the action started, it never let up. 

Certain plot details might be illogical, shallow or even cheesy, but this does not purport itself to be a serious film. It has an undeniable sense of humor that "Olympus Has Fallen" does not, making this the more entertaining film of the two. You will definitely have more of a good time watching "White House Down." 7/10.

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