Written by Markus Robinson, Edited by Nicole I. Ashland
Markus Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Rated PG-13 for prolonged sequences of action and violence including intense gunfire and explosions, some language and a brief sexual image.
Now playing at Century 20 Oakridge Mall in San Jose, California:
Before I begin: I have yet to see “Olympus Has Fallen”, not because I believe Gerard Butler is a horrid actor, but because…well, I just haven’t had the chance to. So, if you are looking for an analysis comparing “White House Down” to the similarly premised “Olympus Has Fallen”, then go read someone else’s review. Moving on.
With a ridiculous setup, some of the most cringe inducing one-liners and a sprinkling of visually stupid images, including a scene where a terrorist blows away everyone in the room, then goes out of his way to shoot a portrait of George Washington between the eyes before he leaves, or the finale which culminates in a final flag waving scene that made my eyes nearly roll out of my head, common sense dictates that a movie like “White House Down” should not have worked at all. But, as much as “White House Down” is an action movie by the numbers, the latter half is so continuously edge of your seat exciting, it will serve as a high octane reminder that even though director Roland Emmerich is responsible for “10,000 BC” and “The Day After Tomorrow” and “2012”…oh, and that ‘98 Godzilla movie, he is also responsible for “Independence Day” and therefore still knows his way around an action sequence or two. In fact, with everything that was working against this movie on a plot level, Emmerich proves that he still has it, by manufacturing one of the better action flicks of the year.
Synopsis: Jamie Foxx (Ray) plays the Jordan wearing, Nicorette chewing, gun toting version of the president that black people wish Obama could be and Channing Tatum (Magic Mike) basically plays himself playing a man who wants to work for the secret service. Distraught after being denied the position because he has “raw talent, but never finishes anything”, Tatum’s character, John Cale (a close cousin of John McClane) decides to take his daughter (who for the purposes of this story maintains a fractured relationship with her father) on a white house tour, when a bomb goes off and yadda yadda yadda, terrorist, yadda yadda yadda, cue the generic pulsating action movie score and Tatum must save President Foxx and the day, in order to find favor in his daughters eyes and maybe get that job on the secret service detail all in one fell swoop. If the premise sounds asinine, that’s only because it is. BUT that doesn’t matter since all of the characters are one dimensional and none of the motives of said terrorists make a whole lot of sense. In fact, the entire set up (which lasts about 30 minutes) is so poorly constructed, from the terrible daddy-daughter banter, to a predictable storyline regarding the head of the secret service (played by James Woods) and it being his last week on the job. But again, once the shooting starts, Emmerich proves why he is one of the best action directors in the game, creating something out of literally nothing.
Final Thought: Blowing up buildings, having Tatum burst through plate glass windows and sliding a well crafted black/white buddy comedy into the mix, “White House Down” works in much the same way as this year’s slightly underrated action flick “Fast & Furious 6” did; on chemistry, self awareness and tremendously well choreographed action sequences alone. So, if you can ignore the storyline completely, than this will be the action movie a lot of audiences wished “Man of Steel” would have been. Simply put, “White House Down” is how a mindless, big budget, but highly entertaining Hollywood summer action film should look; period.
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