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Guns and government

OUT NOW! WHITE HOUSE DOWN: Simply a big-budget cheap thrill with lots of explosions.

There comes a point in an Emmerich movie at which the battle for credibility – waged here by Kirk Petruccelli’s meticulously constructed set, minutely choreographed action and impressive special effects against a patchy plot and irksome under-pressure dialogue – will win the day for the megaton director. or not. White House Down is a tough call. As Obama-esque President Sawyer (Foxx) waits for international reaction to his peace plan (withdraw all us troops from the middle east (!)), a paramilitary group takes control of the White House and demands ransom. Stuck inside are Sawyer, various high-rankers, White House security headed by Walker (Woods), and a tour group that includes decorated ex-service man and capital cop John Cale (Tatum), just turned down for a spot in the Secret Service. And Cale’s preciously savvy daughter, who’s been let down once too often by dad. So tank-topped John (Cale, not McClane, in case you’d forgotten) has quite the agenda, crashing through the chandeliers and the shrubbery and working up a bromance with Potus even as the paramilitaries reveal themselves as a band of grudge-bearing puppets pulled together by an inside guy with access to nuclear codes. OK, it’s a fun ride – but ignore the p(l)otholes and politically naïve posturing to really enjoy. 

White House Down. Directed by Roland Emmerich (USA 2013) with Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, James Woods. Starts September 5.

Originally published in Issue #119, September 2013.