Director Roland Emmerich is known for big effects films with a theme of destruction. Independence Day (1996), Godzilla (1998), The Day After Tomorrow (2004), 2012 (released in 2009) had big and bad things happening to mankind. (Of the group, ID was by far the best – and copied the main theme of the original Star Wars film.) He also directed the Mel Gibson version of the Disney Swamp Fox TV show, with Leslie Nielsen in the title role. He called his big budget version The Patriot (2000). While it looked great and was supported by a wonderful John Williams score, the story was very derivative of the above-mentioned Disney series and too melodramatic. His bad guy was so evil I dubbed him “Darth Redcoat.”
RE now has the bad luck of opening his terrorist take-over of the White House just three months after the premiere of Olympus Has Fallen. OHF had the same theme with different characters carrying out the attack. In RE’s version of the story, a highly politicized group of fanatics executes the takeover, which includes destroying the White House and slaughtering everyone in it. Channing Tatum plays a Secret Service agent wannabe who ends up in the middle of the plot. Of course, he’s a highly trained martial artist war veteran who is also a weapons expert and killing machine. Jamie Foxx plays the President, who is everybody’s target and who only Tatum can protect.
Young, but feisty, Joey King (born in 1999) is CT’s daughter, and also hiding out inside the White House. Veteran actor James Woods is the senior Secret Service Agent caught up in the mess on the day he had planned to retire. There are lots of big set action scenes used to supply plenty of explosions and the automatic discharge of thousands of rounds of ammunition, leaving the White House a mess. The film also steals ideas from the original Die Hard (1988) and attempts to work on multiple levels at the same time. To some extent it succeeds, and has a pretty good sense of humor along the way. Roland could have presented his story better by leaving out the constant threats and violence perpetrated on the young girl’s wee personage.
Tatum does fine as the action hero and Foxx does his best to keep up while acting Presidential. The film goes way overboard in assigning blame for the attack, which is far too political and biased. Many of the attackers are on the team for money. The real bad guys have more evil planned, but they, of course, never counted on Tatum being there at the time.
Let’s hope other movies with the White House under attack don’t come out this year. Two is more than enough.
Rated 2.75 out of 4.0 reasons to ask “can’t we all just try to get along?” The answer in White House Down is, “NO.”