I admit, I prejudged White House Down. It seemed like just another mediocre action flick, with a less than healthy amount of American patriotism sprinkled in. I was wrong. White House Down is impressive.
Channing Tatum plays a wannabe Secret Service agent who is about to get one hell of a job interview. Whilst in the White House with his daughter (a great role by 13 year old Joey King), it is attacked by “terrorists”. Channing Tatum must then protect the president, aka Jamie Foxx, as well as save his daughter from the multitude of explosions and gunfire that ensue.
Yeah, the story is lame-ish. And this isn’t helped by the plethora of plot-holes, strange motivations and downright ludicrous decisions some of the characters make. Case in point; the “terrorists”. They aren’t marked as such, actually specifically called out not to be terrorists. The story mentions they are picked by a high-up on the inside from the top 20 most real threats to POTUS (don’t worry, this is obvious 10 minutes into the movie, although not revealed until about 50 minutes in). I get POTUS gets threats from a lot of different people, for a lot of different reasons. But why are all of these people suddenly neo-Nazis? I get it, you want to be non-racist to have the movie be internationally marketable. And no one will argue that neo-Nazis are a globally hated group of individuals, but it really doesn’t fit the plot. Why would neo-Nazis attack the White House simply for financial gain? Seems decidedly strange.
Regardless, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is the action, as this is an action-flick. Well, there is plenty of it, and most is very well executed. The firefights are extremely well done, and the hand-to-hand combat is, although not at a Paul Greengrass-level, certainly very respectable.
It is the humour in the movie that really took me by surprise though. There are some pretty good funny bits in there, most of which unpredictable, and all of which well executed. The trailer alludes to this a bit, but there is much more there. Don’t worry, it is still an action-movie, not a comedy, but I like the combination and ratio of fighting to funny.
The movie also tries to pull at your heartstrings, and succeeds to a degree. The film is essentially about a man trying to save his 11-year old daughter, and who wouldn’t feel for that? The ending moments, strangely reminiscent of “The Rock” are pretty powerful.
Acting was strong. Nothing earth-shattering, but the script didn’t really allow for this either. I’m a fan of Kevin Rankin and was surprised to see him in such a big-production movie. Sad to see he once again plays a neo-nazi henchman, being type-cast in such a role on multiple occasions before (in the last season of Breaking Bad for instance).
Overall I was wholly entertained by White House Down, much more so than I anticipated. The movie has its issues (the GFX-artists have obviously never seen a helicopter fly in real life) but is a great ride nonetheless. I can recommend it!