White House Down will be the third time this year that we have seen the White House come under fire. First, we saw the White House get shot up in Olympus Has Fallen. Then Cobra took over the presidential mansion in G.I. Joe: Retaliation. This time around, the originators of the greatest White House destruction ever on film will blow up the landmark with the world’s sexiest man inside. That’s right, Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich of Independence Day fame are back to destroy Washington again with Channing Tatum there to save the day in White House Down.
White House Down has Tatum’s Capitol Policeman John Cale trying to impress his daughter with a tour of the White House and gets an interview with the secret service. The interview goes poorly and the tour goes to Hell when a group of terrorists target the President’s pad and its owner. Lucky for Cale, President Sawyer (Jaime Foxx) falls right into his lap in the chaos and Cale gets another interview for the job. It’s up to Tatum to save the President and White House Down from a thin script with his charm and good looks.
There’s no doubt that the creative duo of Emmerich and Devlin can create a spectacular scene of destruction. Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow and 2012 all have larger than life scenes of carnage. The problem is with most of the pair’s movies, the script isn’t given a fraction of the effort that the special effects laden scenes of White House Down are given. White House Down’s plot is dumbed-down even for Emmerich and Devlin standards. The writers ignored a potential interesting part of Cale’s past with his military service. The antagonists intentions that are never fully hashed out on-screen. We don’t know anything about the President except he wants peace in the Middle East. Ticket buyers have also seen the White House come under fire already this year, so the “WOW” factor that Devlin and Emmerich strive has lost some of its punch the third time around. There’s plenty of action in White House Down, but a great deal of the bullet ridden action scenes seem like Déjà vu to me.
The main problem with White House Down is Devlin and Emmerich’s idea to insert laughs into the script. These two guys make Michael Bay look like Richard Pryor in the comedy department. The cast, mainly Tatum and Foxx, are forced to spout out dumb one-liners while attempting to make a rocket launcher funny. Don’t forget the obvious “I didn’t vote for you joke” either. You can tell there was chemistry with Tatum and Foxx, but there’s only so much the two talented actors can do with one of the worst attempts to insert laughs into an action film since Godzilla. You would have thought Devlin and Emmerich would have learned from their past comedic mistakes. My advice, stick to the mindless action and leave the laughs to the guys from This Is The End. White House Down will give The Host a run for its money as the worst film of the year in my opinion. Overall, I give White House Down 1 out of 4 potatoes.
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