White House Down review by George Hooper - Cinema Paradiso
Roland Emmerich is back with his signature loud and proud approach to action filmmaking as he turns his eyes back to destroying key US landmarks in new and unexplored ways. This time its Washington DC and the White House in particular.
The film follows DC bodyguard John Cale (Channing Tatum), an everyday guy who finds himself trapped in the White House when it is taken over by a group of armed terrorists who intend to create global conflict. With the help of President Sawyer (Jamie Foxx), Cale must try and stop the terrorists and keep his daughter Emily (Joey King) safe.
Filled with the usual American vitriol that consumes most of Emmerich’s other features, White House Down tones it down slightly and instead focuses on the insanity of the situation. Not only is the action grandiose but the film's story playfully accepts the films unbelievable premise. While fellow White House siege flick Olympus Has Fallen takes it’s story much too seriously, Emmerich accentuates the outright silly elements of the film.
Unexpectedly the film is filled with comedic moments with Foxx making his president a perfect piece of satire, right down to his Jordan sneakers. Tatum keeps up with the fast paced repartee as he leaves bullet holes and scorch marks all over the buildings famed halls. The film’s villain, Stenz (Jason Clarke) is equal parts comedian and sociopath, a character made for Emmerich who gleefully sets Clarke loose.
There are still the usual detractors like a final plot twist that feels wasted in the films final minutes, an overabundance of side characters chewing scenery and a lifeless opening but the film keeps things rolling along at lightning speed with very little regard for consequences and somehow Emmerich makes this disregard almost wonderful as Cale guns people down, destroys huge portions of this beloved landmark and quips with his new presidential pal. It may be beyond belief but its a fun piece of fiction