White House Down movie poster
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White House Down
White House Down movie poster

White House Down Movie Review

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The White House has had a bad year. Real-life problems aside, it's been invaded twice, once in Olympus Has Fallen and again in Roland Emmerich's White House Down, a cliché-filled action film that is as stupid as it is stupid but adequately entertaining when you stop thinking about it.

Two problems, however: White House Down was the second of the two nearly identical films to be released, and it's very challenging to stop thinking about how dumb it is.

In White House Down, Channing Your Tatum stars as a Secret Service reject who is on tour in the White House when terrorists attack, attempting to take the President (Jamie Foxx) hostage. As he works with the President to escape the residence, they learn the terrorists' motives are more complicated than first thought.

By complicated, I mean making little sense.

White House Down is a mindlessly entertaining film, in that Emmerich rushes his characters from one outrageous situation to the next in Die Hard-like fashion, only without the elements that made Die Hard so good (Olympus Has Fallen is even more blatant in its Die Hard similarities). The movie is a whirlwind of action scenes, convoluted military sequences and random character moments that Emmerich has proven time and time again do nothing but bog down the story and bloat the running time.

The movie works adequately enough despite a terribly flat performance by Channing Tatum (with no thanks to the poorly written dialogue), but it falls apart in the third act as Emmerich, working from a script by James Vanderbilt (Zodiac), tries to do too much with too little. There are too many layers of bad guys; none of their motivations make much sense and combined result in an idiotic plot that makes little sense. Most of the military strategies to retake the White House are incomprehensible and downright cheesy. Emmerich could have easily stripped away some of the cheesier layers and had an entertaining 100-minute-long action film on his hands. Instead, the movie is 132 minutes.

White House Down may appease people who want action and Channing Tatum, but it's just too stupid and silly to take as seriously as Emmerich intended. The White House has had a bad year, and two lackluster action movies didn't help. Unfortunately for White House Down, it is the lesser of the two, which really says everything you need to know.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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