White House Down

Sep 05, 2013

John Cale (Channing Tatum) is an ambitious police officer who dreams of working with the secret service as part of the elite presidential protection team.

When he secures a job interview with Secret Service Agent Finnerty (Maggie Gyllenhaal), he sees the perfect opportunity to reconnect with his estranged, politically savvy daughter Emily (Joey King) and takes her with him on his visit to the White House. Afterwards, he agrees to take Emily on a guided tour of the historic building – a decision he may come to regret.

When a group of highly trained paramilitary rebels storm the White House, Cale (the apparent last man standing), finds himself locked in an explosive battle to protect the President (Jamie Foxx) and save his daughter. Outnumbered and outgunned, he will need all his strength to capture the terrorists before time and ammunition runs out.

If this plot sounds familiar, it could be because you have seen or read about Olympus Has Fallen, a film was released earlier this year. There are striking similarities between the two –  in both plot and characters – but White House Down also contains enough original elements to keep things interesting.

Tatum delivers a strong performance as John Cale, an “everyday” man caught up in an extremely taut situation, and he handles the intense physical demands of his role with ease – although it is a little hard to believe he could outrun every single bullet fired in his direction.

Foxx delivers an often comedic performance as President Sawyer, and the partnership between he and Tatum sets the scene for some funny and corny one-liners which add an unexpected comedic element to what is essentially a fast-paced action movie. James Woods also delivers a stellar performance as veteran secret service agent Walker, while young Joey King is impressive as the gutsy and quick-thinking pre-teen Emily.

Director Roland Emmerich’s decision to explore the political and personal motivations of his heroes and villains allows the characters’ personalities to evolve throughout the film, with this emphasis on the politics behind the attack adding a layer of intrigue to the story. Visually stunning special effects and tightly choreographed fight scenes bring the action to life in explosive detail, and there are enough car chases, impressive weaponry and aerial showdowns to keep even die-hard action fans happy.

Given its similarity to Olympus Has Fallen, film-goers could be forgiven for being sceptical about White House Down, but its mixture of action and comedy is an unexpected treat.

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