A few months ago there was a movie about a paramilitary group attacking the White House. It was a terrible, cliche ridden film which took itself far too seriously to be good.
Naturally, since these things come in twos, White House Down features a paramilitary group attacking the white house. Is it better than it’s predecessor? Yes, absolutely. Is it good? Weeelllllllllll…….
No, not really. It’s not really bad but it’s not really good. It’s a matter of balance really.
You see, Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx are great choices for roles like these. They have the chops to pull off action scenes whether they’re fights, chases or gun battles and they both have natural comic timing and a brilliant chemistry together that really makes the movie.
It’s a good thing too that the bulk of the movie is focused on them and the bad guys in the White House too because the majority of the rest of the film is full of the heavy handed bullshit that made Olympus Has Fallen so crap.
Don’t get me wrong, Richard Jenkins and Maggie Gyllenhaal are great actors but everyone outside the White House is taking themselves way too seriously that it really muddles up the tone of them film when it cuts away from one liners and ridiculous fighting that’s going on.
In addition to Foxx and Tatum, James Woods is in the White House as the head of secret service turned ring leader of the bad guys –this isn’t a spoiler because it’s painfully obvious what’s going to happen as of the first time he’s on camera– and Jason Clarke as the lead ex-special forces heavy and they are both also great. Clarke plays the vaguely sociopathic well (think of his character in Zero Dark Thirty, but if he were a bad guy) and it’s always nice to see James Woods chew the scenery with big impassioned speeches and the desperation to retain control of the situation from the younger, angrier Clarke.
Also in the White House is Joey King playing the daughter of Channing Tatum. She’s not bad but her part certainly is. She’s 11 in the movie and she’s so patriotic that she’d likely bleed on the flag to keep the stripes red. The interaction between her and Tatum is sweet, but again whenever Tatum (or Foxx) isn’t there her plot is cliched and terrible.
Ultimately the action is decent but uneven, some of the sequences are great but some are very choppily put together. The story isn’t terrible, but the whole thing falls apart in the last 20 minutes when the whole film starts taking itself too seriously and starts beating us over the head with the heavy handed America-Fuck-Yeah!-military industrial-complex-is-bad-did-I-mention-America-Fuck-Yeah! message, and then delivers an ending that is just riddled with cliches.
So all in all White House down is about 2/3 silly enjoyable action romp and 1/3 heavy handed cliche ridden bullshit with a terribly delivered cliched ending. Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx are both great and it’s fun to watch them do their thing, however the rest of the film happening around them is kind of awful. Fun, but awful.
Rating = 7/10