Even the corniest action blockbusters must possess a smidgen of logic, or credible characters, in order for you to be invested in its thrills. White House Down is the second movie this year – after the Gerard Butler starrer Olympus Has Fallen – in which a band of terrorists invades the most secure address in Washington to capture the US President. In both films, it’s left to an unlikely hero to save the day. But where Olympus succeeded in creating some nice tension occasionally, and delivered visceral action scenes, White House Down fails to offer even the kind of dumb entertainment you’ve come to expect from Independence Day director Roland Emmerich.
Just minutes after establishing the rigorous security measures at the White House, we watch as a bunch of suspicious looking blue-collar types stroll into the building barely hiding a cartload of weapons. When the shit hits the fan, it’s a good thing low-rung cop John Cale (Channing Tatum) happens to be in the premises with his precocious daughter. Before you can say Die Hard, Cale’s ditched his shirt for a sleeveless white vest, and he’s helping the President (Jamie Foxx) stay out of the reach of the bad guys.
Cursed with everything from a ridiculous plot and clunky performances to underwhelming action scenes, there’s virtually nothing to recommend here. The chemistry between Tatum and Foxx inspires an occasional chuckle, but fine actors like James Woods, Richard Jenkins and Maggie Gyllenhaal are entirely wasted in this drivel.
The film is too long by at least 20 minutes, the screenplay predictable every step of the way, and the politics so naïve you’ll want to laugh. I’m going with one and a half out of five for White House Down. It’s a waste of time and money…both on the part of those who made it, and those who watch it.