Premise: C-Tates just wants to be a secret service guy, but the government has put him on Speaker of the House security detail… BORING… But while visiting the White House with his daughter, local terrorists start causing trouble in the capital. Shit starts to go *down* in the White House, if you will. [giant cane comes out of kitchen, grabs me by the neck, pulls me away from computer, audience at the Apollo mysteriously boos me in the distance]
-It’s basically as good, or better, than any of the Die Hard sequels. Not the first one, but any of the sequels. Just some high quality “guy fighting terrorists in a specific location” type action movie. The main character’s name is John Cole, for fuck’s sake. I wonder how hard they had to resist naming him John McCole? Or John Clane. At least he gets a bloody nose and a bunch of cuts in this movie, so it’s already more realistic than any Fast and Furious film.
-Channing Tatum does the action star thing pretty good in this one. He’s become an increasingly likable guy over the last few years. He’s come a long way since he was that meatheaded bro from the Step Up movies. 21 Jump Street, some of the funny things he’s done recently on Jimmy Kimmel, and also his cameo in This is the End (hahaha), have just made me enjoy his screen presence more and more. He’s not a good actor by any means, he still mumbles his lines hardcore, but he’s definitely likable.
-To further that point, Tatum has a serious talk with a squirrel in the beginning of the movie. He even threatens it with gun violence.
-Jamie Foxx does an alright Obama impression. And there’s no skirting around it, he’s a “fictional” president, but he’s totally supposed to be Obama. I guess that gives this movie a distinct political slant to it… ahhh but who cares? The president yells “Get your hands off my Jordans!” in this movie, which has not only become my favorite quote to yell while drunk for summer of 2013, but is also this generation’s “Get off my plane!”. The torch has been passed! [torch explodes] [six terrorists take over the president’s yacht] [president holds gun up to lead terrorist’s face at the end of the movie][“You can’t kill me, Mr. President! You can’t do anything without giving me a fair trial! That’s what your country is all about!”] [President waits for boat to cross past big sign that says ‘Entering International Waters’] [“Get out of my country…”] [BANG] [give me a job writing screenplays, Hollywood]
-It’s just a fun movie. Don’t overthink it.
-Maybe a little too much cliché character development in the beginning of the movie. If you’ve ever seen an action movie in your life before, then you’ll know who these characters are before the movie even starts. I didn’t think we needed 30 minutes of delving into their lives to figure it out. The senate building should have blown up within the first 10 minutes. The only thing the first 30 minutes did was take away from the overall craziness.
-Some of the bad guys’ motivations were a little odd. Some were obvious, but others (yeah, there’s like five different bad guys), not so much. Like the ex-military guys who hate America so much for what it did to them (they even shoot a portrait of George Washington in the head as an act of rebellious vandalism) seem to only be motivated by money? …I guess? Wait, don’t overthink it, Scott. Don’t overthink it… They’re generic bad guys, and they deserve to get shot at by the President with a machine gun. Probably would have been better if Roland Emmerich stuck with his strengths, and just made an evil vice president again and left it at that.
-The news organizations completely screw over a Cole’s daughter in this movie, by giving away her identity to the terrorists right in the middle of the attack while she’s being held hostage. I wanted to be like “That was stupid, I can’t believe they did that…”, but then I came to the realization that FOX News would probably do the same thing in real life for the ratings. Nevermind, good subtle commentary, Mr. Emmerich. Yes, I just said “subtle” and “Emmerich” in the same sentence, so?
-Maybe an R rating would have benefited? But White House Down still seemed pretty violent despite being PG-13. I guess it would have only helped for improving the line to “Get your hands off my motherfucking Jordans!”
Final Thoughts: We can debate all day over the validity of “dumb” movies and their place in society. I’m under the impression that the world needs dumb movies. I can only watch Frost/Nixon so many times before I need to see a guy throw a hand grenade into a pool house. This dumb movie in particular tended to not take itself too seriously, and opted to go the fun route. It’s got all the explosions and one-liners to make for a good summer movie, but without going completely moronic OR going intensely overserious, which is even worse in my opinion. It’s essentially a Michael Bay movie, but without the oddly placed homophobia or making every side character a comic relief stereotype. So, if for some reason you take my reviews as some sort of method of deciding what to see over the weekend (hey, what do I know, really?), just remember that I’m saying that this is a dumb movie with everything you could potentially hate about dumb movies. But if you just want to enjoy the ride (some people aren’t willing to do that, and that’s fair), then you might have some fun watching White House Down. [REVIEW EXPLODES] [Scott walks out from the smoke with a dirty tank top and a cut on his forehead] [hugs girlfriend] [delivers microchips back to General Davidson] [Scott says “I told you I was overqualified for this shit…”] [General laughs, then says “You’re a CHIP off the old block, Roberts… Your dad would be proud…”] [both men give confident smirks at each other just shy of homoerotic] [Aerosmith music starts playing] [American flag with hole in it waves patriotically in the foreground] [credits role]
7.5 out of 10