Posted on 7/10/13 12:38 AM
"Can you please stop hitting me in the head with that RPG" Capitol Policeman instantaneously turned unofficial Presidential bodyguard Cale (Channing Tatum) shouts towards President Sawyer (Jamie Foxx) during a vehicular action sequence across the courtyard of the White House. That individual sequence fairly summarizes White House Down in a nutshell but there's something else that caught my attention. White House Down is rated PG-13 for prolonged sequences of action and violence including intense gunfire and explosions. I don't know if I've ever seen a more detailed content description but I know for damn sure that doesn't just sum up White House Down but rather Director Roland Emmerich's career. Emmerich rose to success with the celebrated disasterpiece Independence Day. Since then he's gone on to make colossal stinkers such as Godzilla and 2012. White House Down is Roland Emmerich saying "fuck it, let's catastrophically annihilate the White House again" in hopes of returning to greatness. Yeah, it didn't work.
There are some admirable aspects of White House Down most notably a determined and hardened Channing Tatum traversing hell and back to rescue his 11 year old daughter while simultaneously protecting the President. The banter between Channing and Jamie works as does the vulnerability of Channing's daughter. Joey King deserves a great amount of recognition for that too portraying an adorable yet terrified child. Her back and forth between one of the primary villains played by Jason Clarke is also suspenseful and generally great stuff. Jason Clarke however wasn't just intimidating, but actually the only intimidating henchman in the film. Acting as a whole is unexpectedly a strong suit for the film.
Everything around the core plot though is unfortunately where things fall apart. The plot tries to come off relevant by tackling issues related to the Middle East. Its solutions are ridiculous and the films villains may as well be cartoon characters. If White House Down had just stayed within scope about a Capital Policeman trying to rescue his daughter without implausible theatrics behind the scenes, it could have possibly been worthy of being compared to the original Die Hard. Instead the asinine plot causes the film to embark on a 140 minute running time that consists of a cacophony of bullets and explosions. Very few films can literally claim themselves as nonstop action but this one by far can. White House Down's flair for razzle dazzle and physics defying action becomes exhausting regardless of how enjoying it is watching one likeable character valiantly and adamantly blazingly traverse action sequences to secure his daughters safety. I don't care how awesome the confrontation between Channing and Jason was, by that point I was throwing in the towel. Those flaws drag the enjoyable aspects through the mud which is unfortunate because the film has likeability and dumb fun nailed to a summer blockbuster tee. The contrived fluff tying everything together sadly oversaturated and murdered the film.